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February 09, 2006 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-09

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 9, 2006

Wechter sprints for M' as
his twin hurdles for Irish

By Kimberly Chou
Daily Sports Writer

Somewhere between the years of dirty
diapers and nursery school, sophomore
sprinter Andrew Wechter and brother
Austin endured the bane of identical
twins everywhere - matching outfits.
"When we were real little, our par-
ents would dress us alike," Wechter
said. "I would always wear blue and he
would always wear red, so that's how
they could tell us apart."
Now in their 'second collegiate
track and field seasons, the Wech-
ters are dressing for different
schools - Andrew for Michigan
and Austin for Notre Dame.
"We never really raced in high school,
but it definitely helped me to have some-
one there," Wechter said. "We always
pushed each other."
Andrew runs the 400-meter and
600-meter events for the Michigan
men's team, and Austin is a hur-
dler. Although Michigan is in the
Big Ten and Notre Dame is in the
Big East, the two teams met up Feb.
3 at the Meyo Invitational in South
Bend. Wolverines junior captain
John D'Arcy narrowly beat Austin
in the 500-meter race.
Many people focus on the nov-
elty of being an identical twin, but
Andrew is establishing his own

identity in Ann Arbor.
"Last year, he had promising
moments," associate head coach
Fred Laplante said. "He was hurt in
indoor, and it took him a while to
get back into shape."
But Laplante remarks that Wechter
has had outstanding showings during
the fall preseason and recent events.
"I hadn't planned on him running
anchor of the 4x400-meter relay (at
the Red Simmons Invitational), but
he did a fine job," Laplante said.
The sprinter also took the 600-
meter title at the Red Simmons Invi-
tational, missing his personal best a
little more than half a second.
Andrew Wechter's team came
from behind to tie in the 4x400-
meter at the Jack Harvey Invita-
tional on Jan. 7. He pulled even
with Eastern Michigan's Donnie
Young for the tie, after dropping
behind early in the final lap.
"I don't necessarily have the
speed that other people do, but I
have the strength," Andrew said.
"Close competition always makes
you run faster. What it shows about
me is that I'm a stronger runner."
Of course it's that strength cou-
pled with perseverance that pushes a
runner past even those relying sheer-
ly on natural ability. Teammates and
coaches praise his diligence.

"What is there to say that hasn't
been said about him?" fellow
sprinter D'Arcy said. "He's a really
hard worker and he's gained a lot of
experience from last year."
Earlier this season, D'Arcy sat
out with an abdominal-muscle pull,
but he is gradually returning to his
usual 400-meter and 600-meter
events. He and Andrew ran togeth-
er in the 4x400-meter relay at the
Boston Invitational on Jan 28.
"We're very competitive in meets
and everything," D'Arcy said.
So even though Andrew is sepa-
rated from his twin by miles and
school rivalries, he still has a close
competitor to push him further on
the track.
As they grew older, the Wechters
started to part ways.
"We didn't want to go to school
together," Andrew said, though he
notes that Austin was with him at
the Big House for the past fall's
Michigan-Notre Dame football
"(My family) cheers for Notre
Dame, but when Michigan's play-
ing, they definitely cheer for Mich-
igan," Andrew said.
Andrew is bigger and taller now
than his matching romper days
- but it's guaranteed this runner is
still wearing the blue.

Continued from page 9A
the 22nd-ranked Wolverines return home tonight, hoping for
a bounce-back game against No. 19 Ohio State. And because
Michigan struggled with the presence of rowdy fans in Iowa
City, the trip back to Ann Arbor may be the perfect elixir.
The Wolverines are 11-1 at Crisler Arena, with home wins
over Michigan State and Wisconsin.
But the Buckeyes are not pushovers. Shrugging off NCAA
sanctions, Ohio State burst onto the Big Ten scene last year,
surprising observers and finishing with a .500 record in con-
ference play. Now, the NCAA Tournament eligible Buckeyes
are playing like a team capable of making a run into March.
After storming through an undefeated non-conference sea-
son, Ohio State has amassed a 5-3 Big Ten record thus far,
good enough to tie for fourth in the conference.
The Buckeyes feature an impressive inside-outside com-
bination, seniors Terence Dials and Je'Kel Foster. Dials, a
beefy 6-foot-9 forward, earned All-Big Ten second team
honors last season and is one of the most feared post play-
ers in the conference. He comes into Crisler averaging 14.2
points and 7.3 boards this season.
While Dials bangs down low, Foster paces the Buckeyes
on the perimeter with a team-leading 14.6 points per game.
Continued from page 9A
has worked to adjust to adjust to the pressures of college
"I felt really nervous the first few games," Montville said. "I
still get the pre-game jitters, but it's not too bad."
Along with getting used to the jitters, Montville has
learned from some of the more experienced players
about playing defense at a higher level.
"Some of the older guys have been really helpful, but
one guy I would say is Michigan junior (Tim) Cook,"
Montville said. "He's been really good at helping me
in practice and just little things that you don't really
notice. We are both solid defensemen, not real goal-

The 6-foot-3 guard is deadly from the outside - he's made
over 55 percent of his field goals and nearly half of his treys
- and earned co-Big Ten Player of the Week honors after
making 15-of-20 field goals last week.
"This is an old, strong basketball team," Amaker said.
"And then they have a guy in the low post (Dials) that is a
bear to defend. And they surround him with an outstanding
display of shooting from their team. So I'm really concerned
with their ability to score in and out."
The upper tier of the Big Ten conference is in a logjam.
The top seven teams are separated by just one game in the
loss column, so tonight's contest will be critical in the Big
Ten race. With a win, Michigan will regain a share of first
place. If the Wolverines lose, they will drop all the way to
sixth place.
"(The Big Ten race) is shaping up to be what we all antici-
pated in the beginning of the season," Amaker said. "Every-
one felt it was going to be highly competitive, it was going
to be a tight race all the way through. I think it's going to be
very interesting right down to the wire"
In addition to its significance in the Big Ten race, the
game carries serious psychological importance as well. A
decisive win will dispel any fears of a repeat of last season's
collapse. But a loss at Crisler Arena could send the Wolver-
ines into a tailspin, reminiscent of last season, at precisely
the worst time.
scorers or anything, so he's really been helpful."
But it hasn't been all fun and games for Montville. When the
Wolverines are locked in tight battles, they sometimes shift to a
five-defenseman rotation, leaving Montville on the bench to sit
and watch the game. But when that happens, he knows it's with
the team's best interest in mind.
"I understand completely," Montville said. "All the
playing timeI get, I consider a plus, because I wasn't plan-
ning on getting any at all. We're all here to win games, so
whatever we have to do to win, I understand."
No matter what happens, Montville now has an expe-
rience that no one can take away from him.
He said that the best part has been the "experience in
"Not a lot of people can say they've played varsity Mich-
igan hockey. It's definitely been a thrill," Montville said.

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