The Michigan Daily - SportsN
Football, basketball and maybe even hockey arguably all have the same two big rivals - Michigan State or Ohio State. B
isn't known to most fans is that, for many of Michigan's teams, there are long-standing, bitter rivalries besides these 1
Track & Field
Since 1984, Arkansas cross country
and track and field teams have won 41
national championships. Michigan's rivalry
with the Razorbacks is limited to the middle
distance events. The Wolverines have won
eight middle-distance events at the NCAA
Indoor Championships in the past 11 years.
Michigan coach Ron Warhurst says the
rivalry started when Michigan's Kevin
Sullivan chased down Graham Hood in the
final stretch of the Distance Medley Relay
(DMR) at the 1995 NCAA Championships.
In 2004, the Michigan relay team beat the
second-place Razorbacks by five seconds
and set a new collegiate record in the DMR.
Last season, a controversial finish in the
DMR at the NCAA Championships added
fuel to the rivalry. The NCAA disqualified
the apparent winner, Arkansas's Said
Ahmed, for interfering with a charging
Nate Brannen on the home stretch and gave
Michigan its second consecutive title.
The Wolverines affirmed their dominance
in the middle-distance when Arkansas
finished behind them in each of the distance
relays last year at the Penn Relays.
d by the Ian Robinson, Lindsey Ungar and the Daily Sports Staff / Photos by Alex Dziadosz, Mike H
Women's Cross Country - "It kind of goes back and
forth. The team that we've been aware of the last two years
has been Illinois. They're a program on the rise.
"For years, it was us and Wisconsin. Then, there was a
year Michigan State was good. We got the best of them for
two years in a row and then the last two years it has been
Illinois." - Michigan coach Mike McGuire
Women's Soccer - Michigan's history of ruining
undefeated seasons has created two emerging rivalries.
TWo seasons ago, Michigan beat Notre Dame, 3-2, in its
final regular season game to spoil its unblemished record.
The Irish have the advantage in both matches since then.
This season, Penn State entered the Big Ten Tourna-
ment 19-0-0 and met Michigan in the first round. Senior
Theresa Heaton scored two goals in the second half and
converted a penalty kick to propel the Wolverines to a
shootout victory over Penn State, though the game appears
as a tie in the overall record.
Rowing - Aside from Michigan State and Ohio State,
Michigan's biggest rival in rowing is Virginia. The Wol-
verines always seem to run into the Cavaliers in regional
meets. On the recruiting end, Michigan has lost some
recruiting battles to Virginia over the years, according to
media relations intern Matt Trevor.
Women's Gymnastics - The women's gymnastics
team likes to beat Ohio State and Michigan State, but
for the 14-time Big Ten Champions, it's the competition
outside the conference that sparks its intensity.
"Across the board, I would have to say Alabama or
Georgia is our biggest rival," fifth-year senior Lauren
Mirkovich said. "They are two huge powerhouses with-
in the NCAA."
As the Wolverines look for their eighth-straight Big
Ten title, they will gear up most for the Penn State Nittany
Lions on their way to the conference championship.
Men's Gymnastics - "(Aside from Ohio State, our
biggest rival) is Oklahoma. ... We've been going home-
and-home with them, and we're about 50-50 in dual-meet
competition, although they've gotten the best of us at the
NCAA Championships the last couple years." - Michi-
gan coach Kurt Golder
Men's Tennis - Michigan has struggled against peren-
nial power Illinois for the past decade. Now, with two for-
mer Illini at the helm of Michigan's program, the rivalry
and desire to beat Illinois gets even bigger. At the onset
of the 2004 season, Michigan brought in then-Illinois
assistant Bruce Berque to take over as head coach. Berque
added former Illinois star Michael Kosta as his assistant,
and the two helped Michigan to its best finish in years. But
they still couldn't manage to topple the Big Ten's Goliath.
Illinois has won eight of the last nine Big Ten Tourna-
ments, but Michigan leads the overall series, 60-24-2.
Volleyball - "Right now, our biggest rival is Wiscon-
sin because the last time we played them was the first
time we ever beat them. I think that brings a pretty good
battle between the two of us. They know that, and we
know that, and I think it puts a lot of pressure on them."
- Junior Danielle Pflum
Baseball - Michigan and Minnesota rank first and sec-
ond all-time in Big Ten titles at 32 and 21, respectively.
From 1950-89, they combined for 27 conference titles.
The rivalry was especially heated in the '80s when the
teams won nine titles.
Nationally, the Wolverines and Gophers are the only
Big Ten programs to win more than one national cham-
Although Michigan and Minnesota were relatively
weak in the '90s, the rivalry maintained its luster. Since
Minnesota returned to prominence at the turn of the mil-
lennium and won four conference titles, the rivalry has
been even stronger.
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on two occa
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