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February 13, 2006 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-13

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2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 13, 2006

CkBSPORTsWEEKLY
Staying calm key for dance team

Athlete of the Week

Lisa Gentile
For the Daily
This was it.
The hours of preparation, the sore muscles and the
long practices all led up to this one performance at
the national competition.
Teams waited anxiously and focused on what they
would have to do. But for the Michigan dance team,
this was a time its members just wanted to savor. The
16 girls were taking pictures, joking with each other
and having a good time.
"Before we performed, we definitely were
relaxed," junior co-captain Ashlee Baracy said.
"We put months of practice in, and I think we
finally knew that it was the time, that it was the
best we were going to make it.... There was noth-
ing more that we could do, so we just wanted to
enjoy each other's company."
Led by coach Valerie Potsos, the girls had worked
since September to prepare for the competition. In
order to qualify, the team sent in a video recording

of its routine in October. Twenty-five teams were
selected from around the country, and the Wolver-
ines were called down to Orlando, Fla. to compete.
The dancers came out of the semifinals in sixth place
and finished eighth in the finals.
"Being in sixth place going into finals, we were
really excited because we felt that we could have a
chance of placing higher," Potsos said. "(But) if we've
been progressing well as a team and we're proud of
our accomplishment, to me that's more important
than going home with the first-place trophy."
The girls' relaxed composure at nationals was due
in part to how hard the team worked in the months
leading up to the competition. Junior co-captain Alana
Canvasser felt the team has grown stronger both tech-
nically and skillfully since she joined three years ago.
"I think that it's all about wanting to do well and
working hard and that if you are a part of the team,
you're very dedicated and you want to be there," Can-
vasser said. "That's what we want: We want girls that
want to be there, who want to work hard."
Beyond competing nationally, the team can also

be seen at varsity football, basketball and wrestling
contests.
"Being on the sidelines for the football and basket-
ball games and supporting our school is something
that will only last for the next year," Baracy said. "I
know that nothing will compare. Being in the Big
House is one thing, but being on the sidelines, right
next to those players ... you can't put that into words
how remarkable that is. ... The University of Michi-
gan, all their facilities definitely give us, I think,
experiences that we couldn't get anywhere else."
Experiences such as performing in front of a large
crowd or building strong friendships with members of
the team will stay with the girls long after graduating.
And those same experiences allowed the girls to be
comfortable prior to performing their national routine.
"We were just kind of having a good time," Potsos
said. "And all this other stuff is going on, you've got
all these other teams behind you, and they're men-
tally preparing and we all just had a moment to take
a break and just kind of have fun for a moment. And
that's what it's all about."

Name: Jeff Porter Team: Track and field
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario Class: Junior
Why: Porter posted the sixth-best time in the nation (7.78 seconds)
in the 60-meter hurdles. He also finished third in the 60-meter
dash with a personal-best time of 6.82 seconds at the Sykes-Sabok
Challenge Cup in Pennsylvania.

Grapplers beat down on Buckeyes

'M' SCHEDULE
Date Event
2/13 M Golf
at UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate
2/15 W Tennis vs. Notre Dame
M Basketball vs. Minnesota
W Swimming and Diving
at Big Ten Championships
2/16 W Swimming and Diving
at Big Ten Championships
W Basketball at Purdue
2/17 Softball vs. DePaul
at GRU Classic
W Swimming and Diving
at Big Ten Championships
Softball vs. Longwood
at GRU Classic
Wrestling vs. Minnesota
Ice Hockey at Nebraska-Omaha
W Gymnastics vs. New Hampshire
2/18 W Track and Field
at Harold Silverston Invitational
W Swimming and Diving
at Big Ten Championships
Softball vs. Florida
at GRU Classic
M Basketball at Michigan State
M Tennis vs. Notre Dame
Softball vs. Penn State
at GRU Classic
M Gymnastics at Iowa and Illinois
Ice Hockey at Nebraska-Omaha
M Track and Field
at Harold Silverston Invitational
2/19 Softball vs. Florida
W Tennis vs. Tennessee
Wrestling vs. Indiana
Wrestling at Iowa

Location
Orlando, Fla.
Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor
Columbus
Columbus
West Lafayette
Gainesville, Fla.
Columbus
Gainesville, Fla.
Ann Arbor
Omaha
Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor
Columbus
Gainesville, Fla.
East Lansing
Ann Arbor
Gainesville, Fla.
Iowa City
Omaha
Columbus
Ann Arbor
Gainesville, Fla.
Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor
Iowa City

Time

4 p.m.
7 p.m
7 p.m
7 p.m
7 p.m.
10 a.m.
11 a.m.
12:15 p.m.
8:05 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
9 a.m.
11 a.m.
4 p.m.
4 p.m.
6 p.m.
6:15 p.m.
8:00 p.m.
8:05 p.m.
1 p.m.
11:15 a.m.
12:00 p.m.
2 p.m.
3 p.m.

01

By Robert Kaitz
Daily Sports Writer

COLUMBUS - Any time a Michi-
gan squad heads to Columbus and crush-
es Ohio State, fans of the Maize and Blue
take notice.
The wrestling team cruised to a 27-6
victory over the
host Buckeyes MICHIGAN 27
to improve its T
overall dual-meet
record to 14-2, including a perfect 6-0 in
Big Ten competition.
Coming into the meet at St. John
Arena, No.3 Michigan's biggest fear was
underestimating a struggling Ohio State
team by looking ahead to its upcoming
showdown with No. 1 Minnesota. Much
to coach Joe McFarland's delight, the
wrestlers did not look past their opponent
yesterday.
"Our guys were well focused in pre-
paring for this meet," McFarland said.
"Obviously, we were thinking about
Minnesota, but we were prepared for
(yesterday)"
Michigan won eight out of 10 matches
and lost the other two by just one point
each. But the final score did not indicate
how tough the victory truly was. Besides
the three major decisions that went to
the Wolverines, every other match was
settled by three points or less.

The dual meet began with the 174-
pound match: Wolverine Nick Roy
squared off against Ohio State's Zach
Craiglow. Roy immediately set the tone
for Michigan, dominating throughout
to earn a 20-7 major decision. The first
period featured five takedowns by Roy,
who cruised thereafter. Craiglow's only
points were scored on escapes, and he
mustered no offense against Roy.
The match presented a great oppor-
tunity for Roy to gain some confidence
after losing three matches in the past two
weeks to tough, ranked opponents.
"It feels good to get a win, especially
knowing that I wrestled well," Roy said.
"I like starting up for the team, since I'm
already warm coming into the match."
With Michigan comfortably ahead
for the duration of the meet, two prime
matchups intrigued the spectators. Third-
ranked senior co-captain Greg Wagner
faced off against No. 13 Kirk Nail in the
heavyweight division. Wagner defeated
Nail to remain undefeated (21-0). In the
149-pound class, No.6 Eric Tannenbaum
wrestled llth-ranked Buckeye J. Jaggers.
The match was tight throughout, but
Tannenbaum emerged victorious after
a quick takedown in a sudden-victory
overtime gave him a 6-4 decision. This
sealed the win for Michigan.
"Winning close matches are cru-
cial for developing needed confidence,"

AARON SWICK/Daily
Senior captain Greg Wagner improved his record to 21-0 with his win on Sunday.

* M ENS GYMNASTK S
'M' hits the mark
against Gophers

McFarland said.
Another positive from the match was
the performance of Michigan's younger
and less-experienced wrestlers. At 125
pounds, true freshman Michael Watts
earned his second consecutive victory
with an impressive 18-9 major decision
over Anner Arroyo right before halftime.
Similarly, redshirt sophomore Jeff Marsh
easily dispatched Buckeye Steve Wolery
with a 10-1 major decision in the 157-
pound class. Redshirt freshman Casey
White continued his strong wrestling

with a tough 3-1 decision at 197 pounds.
"The young guys all came through
with wins, and that is huge, especially on
the road," McFarland said.
The Wolverines are hitting their stride
at the perfect time. Next weekend fea-
tures the last two dual meets of the regu-
lar season, including the aforementioned
matchup with the top-ranked Golden
Gophers. After three consecutive road
victories, Michigan hopes to carry the
momentum it has built into the postsea-
son tournaments.

By Colt Rosensweig
Daily Sports Writer

M MEN'S TRACK
Porter paces Blue to second place

By John Geise
Daily Sports Writer
Junior hurdler Jeff Porter felt
emotion racing through him as he
went down into the blocks.
Preparing for his high-hurdle
race in Michigan's first scored meet
of the season, the junior had just one
goal.
"I wanted to win," Porter said. "I
was running on high emotion. My
teammates were excited, my coach-
es were excited and my family was
excited. All I could think about was
how I wanted to win for everyone
else and get us off to a good start in
this meet."
Porter gave the team the start he
hoped for, running a 7.78 to win the
race and post the sixth-best hurdle
time in the nation this season, set-

ting a personal record.
Fueled by Porter's passion, the
Wolverines coasted, finishing sec-
ond of 13 teams at the Sykes-Sabok
Challenge Cup in State College this
weekend. With 117.5 total points,
the Wolverines trailed only Penn
State (125 team points).
"I would say Mr. Porter was prob-
ably the MVP for us this meet,"
Michigan coach Ron Warhurst said.
"He showed signs of the brilliance
we have been looking for for two
seasons."
Porter finished third in the 60-
meter dash with a time of 6.83,
besting his personal record by 0.05
seconds.
His performances were the two
brightest of the many highlights
for the Wolverines, as the team

set numerous personal and team
records.
For the weekend, Michigan had
20 personal season bests.
"We just ran great as a team,"
Warhurst said.
A couple of those notable perfor-
mances included Michael White-
head's win in the triple jump, Victor
Gras's victory in the mile, and first-
place finishes by both the distance
medley and 4x400 relay teams.
The distance medley team's vic-
tory was especially poignant, since
it beat Penn State by six seconds and
avenged last year's narrow defeat to
the Nittany Lions at the same event.
"Clearly, our focus has shifted,"
Porter said. "The first couple of
meets were about making sure we
got all of our guys up to speed.

While we have still not cut down
on the hard training, our focus these
last two weeks - and from here on
out - is solely on winning."
The team will try to continue its
success next weekend at home in the
Harold Silverston Invitational.
The Sykes-Sabok Challenge is
simply the beginning of the scoring
season for the Wolverines, but there
are still a few things the team feels
it can use from the meet to carry it
through the season.
"We have two more races to go
until Big Ten (Indoor Champion-
ships)," Porter said. "If we, and
myself personally, can keep going
like we are, building on technique
and then putting it all together when
it matters, we will be successful,
and I personally will be happy."

In last Saturday's target meet
against No. 9 Minnesota, the No. 8
Michigan men's gymnastics team hit
the bull's-eye.
Going all out to win the competi-
tion, the Wolver- MICHIGAN 213.80'
ines grabbed the
lead after the first N 209.15
rotation and never
relinquished it. Michigan finished the
meet with a score of 213.80, its high-
est score of the season while Minnesota
scored just 209.15.
Many individuals stood out with
the Wolverines earning the high score
in four of the six events. Senior Luke
Bottke placed first in the floor exercise,
his specialty, and senior Drew DiGiore
won the vault competition. Freshman
Joe Catrambone drew top marks on
both the high bar, where he tied senior
Gerry Signorelli, and the still rings.
Bottke, Catrambone and Signorelli all
had solid nights, despite coming off two
days of competition last weekend at the
Winter Cup in Las Vegas. To get some rest,
Catrambone and Signorelli did not com-
pete in all six events like they usually do.
"(Catrambone) has a little bit of an
ankle (injury) bothering him," Michi-
gan coach Kurt Golder said. "He typi-
cally (does) more, but it's too early
in the year to have a bum ankle. We
didn't want him to have to struggle
with that, so we're keeping him out of
floor and vault. (Signorelli) we were
just trying to rest because he did the

all-around for two days last weekend.
It's all part of the grand plan not to
overuse guys, and to keep them fresh
as much as we can."
Michigan started the night somewhat
shakily on the floor exercise - three
gymnasts went out-of-bounds before
Bottke stepped up and finished the rota-
tion with a strong routine, scoring 9.45.
After the floor exercise, the pommel
horse loomed ahead and the team was
without sophomore Paul Woodward
- its best competitor in the event.
But Saturday, the pommel horse was
more like a children's pommel pony
for the Wolverines. All six gymnasts
competed cleanly on the usually trou-
blesome apparatus, giving the team a
huge momentum-boost that carried it
through the rest of the meet.
"(Pommel horse) was one event that's
been giving us problems," Catrambone
said. "We hit 6-for-6 and just sailed
through the rest of the meet."
Michigan finished off the evening
with two stellar high bar routines
from Catrambone and Signorelli. The
Cliff Keen Arena crowd, which had
seemingly reached its noise limit after
Catrambone stuck his landing, became
impossibly loud after Signorelli execut-
ed his signature release perfectly and
stuck his landing as well. That routine
won Signorelli the Newt Loken award
for the best performance of the night.
The Wolverines who did not compete
in Las Vegas added difficulty to their
routines, and to Golder's delight, also
increased their hit percentage. Even in
the routines where gymnasts struggled,
they managed to stay on their apparatus
and finish instead of falling off.
"(One) thing I'm real happy about is
some of the guys who did have some
adversity," Michigan coach Kurt Golder
said. "(Signorelli) did that skill on (par-
allel bars) and he landed on his pinky
finger. And instead of breaking his fin-
ger, he kept the routine going. (Junior)
Andrew (Elkind) had some trouble on
high bar, and he kept his routine going,
finished with a nice, strong dismount that
he stuck. Those are really good signs."
Though everyone associated with the
team wore a huge grin once the meet
had finished, none were ready to accept
the competition as a display of their
peak performance.
"We still do have plans set up for the
rest of the season where we're focus-
ing on certain peak events and meets,"
Signorelli said. "We're going to use this
as a point to build on and keep learning
and growing as a team."
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