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February 06, 2006 - Image 14

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6B -The Michigan Dail - SportsMonday - February 6, 2006

0 WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD
Erdman outpaces nation in 800

0 MEN'S TRACK AND FIELD
Woods, Whitehead
stand out for Blue

By Chris Herring
Daily Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND - This weekend, Katie Erd-
man's performance at Notre Dame was compa-
rable to Leonardo DiCaprio's role in "Catch Me
If You Can."
Well, sort of.
Like DiCaprio, Erdman got out. in front early,
forcing her competition to "catch" her. Unlike
DiCaprio, the All-Ameri-
can didn't have to hide her
identity or escape imprison-
ment. Also different from
DiCaprio, Erdman evaded
her competition by fend-
ing off Minnesota's pesky
Heather Doriden to win the
event.
And in this situation, the
reward couldn't have been
Erdman more worth it.
Erdman's time of 2:04.21
was not only fast enough to claim the best half-mile
time at the meet. It also marked the NCAA's fastest
800-meter time in the nation this season as well.
Erdman felt having the fastest time in the coun-
try was a bonus, and that she would have been sat-
isfied with the time regardless of where it stood in
relation to others.
"It was a good race, but it would have been a
good race even if (the run) was the sixth-fastest

time in the country," Erdman said. "It was a big
improvement from what I've run this season."
Though she led the race from start to finish,
Doriden gave Erdman all she could handle. The
Minnesota freshman turned it on down the home-
stretch and missed Erdman by just .09 seconds.
Erdman's time automatically qualified her for
nationals and was just one of many solid Michigan
performances in the non-scoring event.
To put her performance in perspective, Erd-
man's time was so fast that Dorniden, the run-
ner-up in the 800-meter, now holds the country's
second-fastest time in the event. Freshman
Geena Gall, who came in third place, finished
in 2:05.23, and her time stands as the nation's
fourth fastest.
Michigan's distance medley relay team, com-
posed of Erdman, sophomores Laura Glynn
and Nicole Edwards and Gall, also emerged
victorious, clocking in at 11:06.10 - nearly
four seconds better than the next-closest team.
The team's time was also fast enough to be an
automatic qualifying time, securing a spot at
nationals. Junior Rebecca Walter, who won the
5,000-meter run, also hit the automatic mark for
nationals with a time of 16:08.91.
"I'm happy about (qualifying)," Walter said.
"I've been a spectator a few times at nationals, so
I really wanted to be there. Now that I have that
done, I can just worry about training."
Even though the team won just three events,
there were plenty more worth mentioning.

Sophomore Alyson Kohlmeier picked up a provi-
sional qualification for nationals, finishing second
behind Walter in the 5,000-meter run at 16:13.35.
Edwards took second place in the mile run with a
time of 4:41.21. Her time wasn't quite good enough
to win, but it is the nation's third fastest mile so far
this season. She also met the provisional qualify-
ing time for the nationals.
"I'm so excited that I ran so fast," said Edwards.
"The (DMR) was my main focus for the weekend.
Doubling in the mile, I was relaxed today, because
I knew the race would be a test for me to see how
well I could hold up, and it went really well."
Junior Chanelle Campbell took second place
in the 300-meter dash with a time of 40.65, about
a second and a half behind Illinois' Yvonne
Mensah. Despite the fact that the 4x400-meter
relay team came in third place behind Western
Michigan and Illinois, it broke a school record
by finishing with a time of 3:41.90. Freshman
Amber Hay, Campbell, Gall, and Erdman com-
prised the team.
The results Michigan put together were hoped
for, but they weren't necessarily expected.
"The performances we put up were much bet-
ter than anticipated," Michigan coach James Henry
said. "But our overall goal for every athlete is to
improve - no matter whether you are at the top,
the bottom, or the middle - you have to improve.
We have a very good team, but we just need to stay
focused. If we continue to do that, everything else
will take care of itself."

By Jeremy Davidson
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan track and field coach Ron
Warhurst said the philosophy of the
men's track team is to win races - not
to run for time. But this weekend at the
Meyo Invitational in South Bend, soph-
omore Mike Woods did both. Woods
ran a personal best in the 3000-meter
race and took first place in the meet,
earning the fastest time this year in the
nation with 7:52.27.
Woods's showing at Notre Dame
this weekend trumped his previous
best performance - which had earned
him a Canadian junior record - by
five seconds.
After the mile mark, a little more than
halfway through the race, Woods was in
third, behind Notre Dame's Kurt Ben-
niger and Wisconsin's Chris Solinsky.
At the start of the final lap, Woods put
himself 10 meters ahead of Benniger and
headed into the final turn of the race.
As he approached the final stretch,
Woods was furiously pursued by
Benniger.

I

"Coming around the corner, I knew
Kurt was coming up on me, and I heard
(Warhurst) yelling 'Keep your arms up,
keep your arms up! Keep relaxed!' and I
guess it paid off in the end."
In the end, Woods managed to pull out
a clutch finish, winning by .01 seconds.
"Michael kept relaxed, held his form,
and kept his lead through the finish,"
Warhurst said.
Said Woods: "It was very exciting. I've
been in this sport a couple of years now,
and I've been on the other side of that
one-hundredth of a second. I think this
is the first time I've been on the winning
side, and it feels really good"
This weekend, freshman Michael
Whitehead, who sat out last week's meet
in Boston due to sickness, made his debut
performance in the triple jump this week-
end. Whitehead jumped 15.64 meters,
earning him second place in the event.
The approach to the sand pit at Notre
Dame is about 16 feet shorter than the
traditional length. Whitehead said the
shorter distance threw off his rhythm,
but in the end, he was beaten fairly.
"Overall, I can't say I was disappointed
with the way things went, but I hope that
things will get better," Whitehead said.
Whitehead, a Philadelphia native, said
that at next week's meet at Penn State,
he will have several advantages over the
meet at Notre Dame.
For starters, Whitehead said the run
at Penn State will be the full length. But
perhaps more importantly, his parents,
grandparents and sister will be at the
meet to cheer him on, which he said will
get his adrenaline pumping.
"It's going to be off the chain," White-
head said, "Hopefully, I will get the
indoor record."
Warhurst said he too is looking forward
to seeing the team grow and improve at
the meet next week.
"We are trying to get a little bit better
every week;' Warhurst said.
WOMEN'S TENNIS
Cocky
fans stifle
'M' effort
By Dan Feldman
Daily Sports Writer
Saturday was a miserable day for the
women's tennis team.
Irked by boisterous South Carolina
fans, No. 35 Michigan was downed 6-1
by the 24th-ranked Gamecocks.
"People kept yelling 'Cocks, cocks,
cocks,' " Michigan senior Nina Yaftali
said. "(It was) so loud, so crude. They
should have just said big hen. My oppo-
nent would grunt it (along with the fans).
It was just a cockfest. Do you think Mich-
igan should change their mascot to shock
teams? It's (not against the rules). It's just
supporting the team. We yell 'Go Big
Blue' and they say 'Go Big Cock'. See,it's
the exact same ... The cock yelling was
resonating throughout the tennis center.
We got cockblocked."
But the team didn't dwell on the loss.
Michigan stayed confident and turned
things around yesterday, beating No. 31
Maryland - a team that beat South Caro-
lina on Friday - 4-3. The win moves
the Wolverines' record to 2-2 in the dual
match season.
Michigan lost the doubles point for the
third straight match, but for the first time
this season, it was able to overcome that
setback. Junior Kara Delicata and sopho-
more Allie Shafner lost 8-0 in the No. 1
doubles match. Senior Debra Streifler and
freshman Chisako Sugiyama won in the
No.2 match 8-3 before freshman Lindsey
Howard and Yaftali fell 8-5 at No. 3.

But Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt still
believed in her team.
"We went into the singles lineup pretty
confidently," Ritt said. "I believed we
would come through. I have confidence in
every player. I knew it would be a battle,
but I knew we would come through in the
end. I always think that. You really have to
have confidence in your team, and work to
instill that confidence in your players."
The players responded to their coach's
faith.
Sugiyama opened singles play with a
6-0, 6-2 win in the No. 5 singles match.
Yaftali then fell 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2 before
Streifler knotted things back up with a
6-3, 7-6 (7-1) win at No. 3. After junior
Elizabeth Exon won 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4,
Delicata's 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 loss re-tied the
match. But Shafner came through for
Michigan, winning 6-4, 7-5 at No. 6, to
propel the Wolverines to the victory.
"We have to give the players a lot of
credit because after a tough match (Satur-
day), they came back and played a tough
match," Ritt said. "I'm proud of them for

6

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