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January 31, 2006 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-31

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Tuesday
January 31, 2006
sports.michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily. com

PORTS

10

. . . . ................ . - ----------

Cagers
ranked for
first time
By Kevin Wrightr
Daily Sports Editor
It was nothing out of the ordinary.:
Sherrod Harrell was pulling into Crisler Are-
na's parking lot ready for another day of practice
when he received a phone call._
It was his brother to inform him that the Wol-
verines were ranked 21st in the Associated Pressr
poll and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches'
poll, both released yesterday.'
"It feels good," Harrell said. "It's something
that every team wants to do or hopes to get to
someday. It wasn't one of our goals coming into3
the season, and it's not one of our goals now. Butg
it's like a perk that you get along the way. It's'
one of the benefits of doing your job and getting
it done the right way."
Yesterday marked the first time since 1998
that Michigan enjoyed the perk of ranking in the^
top 25.Y
After a week in which they knocked off then-No.
11 Michigan State and then-No. 23 Wisconsin, they
Wolverines seemed guaranteed to jump from the
receiving votes category into the actual top 25.
The eight-year Wolverine absence from the
polls stood as the longest stretch Michigan went
unranked since it first received a national rank-
ing in the 1963-64 season. The previous high was
the five-year period between 1966 and 1971. V;
"People are going to start looking at us a little y
bit closer," junior Brent Petway said. "When they it
were talking about a lot of the teams in the Big ,.'
Ten, we were kind of being left out. Now they're 'K
going to talk about us a little more."
The players enjoy the extra attention that the
Wolverines (5-2 Big Ten, 15-3 overall) have *
drawn from the national ranking, but they under- - "
stand the real motivation for this season, espe- RODRIGO GAYA/Daiy
cially with trips to State College and Iowa City Senior Daniel Horton's great play has the Wolverines ranked in the top 25 for the first time in seven years. With
looming this week. solid games against two ranked opponents last week, Horton shared the Big Ten Player of the Week award.
"I think we feel like we should be ranked

SICE HOCKEY
lcers look to
stay hot at home
-
against Broncos

By James V. Dowd
Daily Sports Writer

With a simple glance at No. 6 Michi-
gan's home and road records this season,
it's apparent that home ice advantage
goes a long way for the Maize and Blue.
The Wolverines have gone 9-3-1 at Yost
Ice Arena while going
just 4-5-1 on the road.

don Kaleniecki remaining in the lineup
after a solid performance last weekend.
Despite battling nagging injuries, Kale-
niecki netted three total goals in the two
games against the Spartans. A year ago
he notched a hat trick in Michigan's last
meeting with Western Michigan.
"Obviously, Kaleniecki gives us
another experienced for-
ward," Berenson said.

Michigan (9-6-3
CCHA, 14-9-3 over-
all) has struggled in
recent games, winning
just one of its last five
contests. But the Wol-
verines hope home
ice advantage and
increased determina-

TONIGHT
Western Michigan at
No. 6 Michigan
7:35 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena

"He makes the players
around him better. If
you put him with Ebbett
and Kolarik, I think we
are better off than with a
freshman with less expe-
rience."
Junior David Rohlfs
will continue to play at

tion can help lead them
to victory in tonight's
contest against Western Michigan.
"(Michigan coach Red Berenson) has
stressed how we need to win our home
games," captain Andrew Ebbett said.
"You can go .500 or so on the road dur-
ing the course of the season, so we're
looking to get wins in all of these homes
games and worry about the road games
after that."
Western Michigan (6-11-3, 6-16-4)
sits at the bottom of the league stand-
ings, but appears to be on a roll, earning
three points in a weekend home series
against Northern Michigan last week-
end.
The biggest challenge for the Wolver-
ines will be defending Broncos forward
Brent Walton, who sits just one goal
behind Nebraska-Omaha's Bill Thom-
as in the CCHA goal-scoring race and
boasts the conference's best goals-per-
game average.
Walton also leads the league in power
play goals, something the Wolverines
hope to cut down on after struggling on
the penalty kill in recent games. Ebbett
said the team planned to discuss the
Western Michigan power play during a
team meeting last night.
Michigan hopes to repeat Saturday's
offensive barrage, when it scored five
goals on Michigan State's Jeff Lerg, who
had held them to just one goal combined
in the teams' two previous meetings.
Berenson said he believes his team
will benefit from alternate captain Bran-

forward. Rohlfs had been
a forward for most of his
life, but he switched to defense for a half-
dozen games last season and remained
there for most of this season. He was
slotted into a forward spot after Kale-
niecki and freshman Jason Bailey, who
is expected to see some minutes tonight,
both succumbed to injury. Berenson said
he was pleased with Rohlfs' results.
"I think he definitely adds some
size, experience and strength up front,"
Berenson said. "The way the games are
going to be from here on in - more
grinding, physical battles - a player
like Rohlfs is invaluable. We need him
on forward, and we'll look at him as
a forward (tonight) and see how our
(defensemen) do."
Tonight's game is just the second
weekday game the Wolverines have
played this year. Ebbett said he hopes
his teammates, especially the less-expe-
rienced freshmen, will hold up to the
grind. Michigan plays each of the next
two weekends and has a road game in
Kalamazoo next Tuesday.
"I hope they're not breaking down
yet," Ebbett said. "We still have eight
games in the next 16 days. I think they
are enjoying it because they played like
that last year in juniors. It's going to be
fun for us with more games and less
practices."

higher than what we are," junior Courtney Sims
said. "Our goal wasn't to be ranked at the begin-
ning of the year; it was to win the Big Ten Cham-
pionship, and that's what we need to do."
And the Wolverines don't have the luxury of
sitting on their national recognition, especially
with the competitiveness of this year's Big Ten.
Heading into the midway point of the Big Ten
season, Michigan is one of four teams sitting
atop the conference standings.
"Every game in the Big Ten is a must win,"
Petway said. "There's so many people right there
at the top, if you lose one game you could be in

a tie for sixth. In the Big Ten at this point, every
win is a big win."
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said he will
take more of a hands-off approach when dealing
with the increased national spotlight. With such
a mature team that is laden with senior experi-
ence, Amaker believes he won't have to make a
big deal about staying focused.
"Nothing has really changed except someone
says that you have this number in front of you,"
Amaker said. "We still have a ton of basketball
to play."
NOTES: Senior Daniel Horton shared Big Ten

Player of the Week honors with Iowa's Adam
Haluska. Horton helped the Wolverines knock
off two ranked teams last week and averaged 18
points and five assists.
"I think it's a deserving honor," Amaker said.
"I think he's played an incredible stretch of bas-
ketball for us. It's always nice when your guys
get rewarded for doing the things that you've
been preaching and teaching for a while."
The senior received the award for the fourth
time in his three plus years at Michigan, but this
was the first time he earned it since his fresh-
man year.

- Daily Sports Writers
Mark Giannotto and Dan Levy
contributed to this story.

Catrambone a hit in freshman season

By Colt Rosensweig
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan gymnastics coach Kurt Golder
would love to have more gymnasts like one
already on his squad - not exactly surprising:
What is surprising is that the athlete is a fresh-
man, Joe Catrambone.
Catrambone is not only talented - he placed
fourth in the all-around competition at the Windy
City Invitational in his first collegiate meet -
but Golder believes he is quickly becoming a
consummate teammate.
The Wolverines first connected with Catrambone
at one of the program's camps. Although Catram-
bone - a high school junior at the time - would
have been recruited regardless, the camp bumped
him up on Golder's list.
"(Michigan) had what I was looking for aca-
demically and athletically," Catrambone said. "I
like the coaching staff and the team - every-
thing about Michigan fit what I was looking
for."
Like any freshman, the New Jersey native had
to adjust to college life, competition and liv-
ing away from home for the first time. But the
support from his new team, and the seven other

newcomers to the squad, eased his transition
significantly.
In events like state championships and the U. S.
junior championships, competition is focused on
the individual. Instead of having 20 teammates
cheering at every event, it's the single gymnast
against everybody else.
"(At pre-college competitions) nobody's pull-
ing for you," Golder said. "They're trying to jinx
you."
The individual nature of the sport didn't seem
to affect Catrambone, who was Pennsylvania's
all-around state champion from 2003 to 2005
and also won first place on high bar at the U. S.
junior championships during his senior year of
high school. But the team atmosphere at Michi-
gan has been a welcome change.
"College gymnastics is a lot different than
previous years of junior Olympic nationals and
regular regional meets," Catrambone said. "The
guys are behind you 100%, pushing you to do
routines and get better in the gym."
But the person pushing Catrambone the hard-
est to improve is himself. This work ethic has
alreadyimpressed his coach.
"Joe is a very conscientious guy," Golder said.
"He's always going back and checking the board

to make sure that everything I have assigned
him, he did, before he goes to the next event.
He must check that thing 20 times a day. He just
doesn't want to leave without doing anything
he's supposed to."
Aside from actual gymnastic ability, Golder
looks closely at an athlete's character in deter-
mining whether to offer a scholarship. Golder
admits that part of putting together a great
team is luck, but he also pays more attention
to a gymnast's mental makeup than many other
coaches. With Catrambone, Golder believes he
hit the jackpot in both areas.
Golder sees Catrambone becoming an impor-
tant team leader in the future, not only because
of his diligent nature but also his personality.
The Wolverines can hope that young gymnasts
will be attracted to Michigan for the same
reasons as Catrambone, and his presence may
clinch their decisions.
"His disposition is very outgoing - he's a
very fun guy, a very happy guy," Golder said.
"(Future recruits) will see how he carries him-
self and want to be teammates with a guy like
that. He'll be a big part in all aspects of lead-
ership and setting an example, having a clean
lifestyle, all the way around."

EUGENE ROBERTSON/Daily
Freshman Joe Catrambone has wasted little time making an impact for the Wolverines.

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