10 - Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
up and makes
By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
The early years of Michigan wrestler Eric Tan-
nenbaum' career certainly weren't what they are
"I was terrible, actually," he said.
But with Tannenbaum's unblemished record
and hisrise to the No.2 rankinginthe nation at the
165-pound weight class, the Wolverines are happy
he stayed with the sport.
"I guess (becoming a wrestler) was by chance,"
soccer, baseball, karate, pretty much everything,
"I did karate for a while and I really liked it, but
it was non-contact. I was a little more tough. On
the soccer field I'd always be running into people,
so I just figured wrestling would be a good idea Junior Eric Tannenbaum, up two weight classes this season, is the nation's No. 2-ranked wrestler in his tlass.
and Ijust liked it and stuck with it."
What might have become of his budding karate "I kind of missed my goal by a little bit, but... it this year.
career is unknown, but Tannenbaum's perfor- was definitely a good season to welcome me into "To be honest, this year I'm a little more chilled
mance on the wrestling mat speaks for itself BigTenwrestling." out," Tannenbaum said. "I tend to be uptight
The Naperville, Ill., native has racked up 13 wins, The early success didn't end there Tannen- and wound pretty tight about stuff ... I'm not as
includingfour major decisions, forthe 17th-ranked baum, now a redshirt junior. At the beginning of stressed out, I'm not cutting as much weight and
Wolverines so far this season. his second season, he was invited to the NWCA I'mjust enjoying working out more."
Tannenbaum's love of contact (his nickname is All-Star Classic, where he was slated to face the By putting on more weight, Tannenbaum was
"Rock") and the one-on-one intimacy of the sport defending national champion, Oklahoma State's moved two weight classes and took a different
kept him wrestling after a rough start. But he had Zack Esposito, on his home mat. mental approach to the wrestling mat.
no idea where his natural talent on the mat would After going down2-0 on a reverse in the second Last year, getting under weight dominated Tan-
carry him. period, Tannenbaum didn'tlook back and went on nenbaum's focus, and as a result, he often had a
After winning three Illinois state champion- to avenge an earlier loss (semifinals of the 2005 negative attitude and was unable to practice well.
ships, Tannenbaum made the difficult jump to NCAA Championships) to Esposito, 7-3. Now, Tannenbaum is having a lot more fn
collegiate wrestling. His addition to the team "Before that match, we were in the locker room, wrestling.
immediatelyhelped the Wolverines. andoneofthekids(Tannenbaum'sfriend)wasjust McFarland said Tannenbaum's experience,
"He's not afraid to get in there and mix it up givingme crap (and)joking around," Tannenbaum along with his confidence following a victory over
with anybody," Michigan coach Joe McFarland recalled. "And he was like, 'How does it make you then second-ranked Travis Paulson of Iowa State,
said. "He came in here right away as a freshman feel that on the poll on the Internet, you'recthe only could result in a national championship.
and was getting in with (two-time NCAA cham- one that nobody voted to win?"' "I want to see him win a national champion-
pion Ryan) Bertin and those guys right away and Despite a quick rise to the top and fast start to ship while he's here at Michigan,"McFarland said.
just getting after them." the season, Tannenbaum finished just fifth at the "There's no reason why he can't because he's got
Tannenbaum's impact was not limited to the Big Ten Championships and sixth at the NCAA all the skills and the work ethic to do it."
practice mat. As a redshirt freshman, he won the Championships. And that's all Tannenbaum is focused on.
Big Ten title at 149 pounds and finished fourth at The followingsummer, for the first time in a few "All I really care about is winning a national
the NCAA Championships. years, Tannenbaum wouldn't put himself through title," Tannenbaum said. "Everybody always says
"My freshman year, in my eyes, was pretty suc- the intense routine of traveling and wrestling for the end of the year is all that matters and that's
cessful," Tannenbaum said. "My goal was to take the summer. Instead, studying for the MCATs really true. Nobody asks you what your record is.
top-three at nationals, and when I'd say that as my dominated the neuroscience major's time. Nobody asks you who you beat during the season.
goal, mostpeople looked at me like'ok', but I ended Tannenbaum's concentration on academics set ... The only thing that people remember is who
up taking fourth. him up for the tremendous success he's enjoying won nationals at the end of the year."
By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
One day in late October, a
freshman walked into the prac-
tice gym, just looking for a way
to get back into gymnastics after
two years away from the sport.
At the time, the Michigan
men's gymnastics team had no
idea a secret weapon was falling
into its lap.
David Chan, 21, is a Singa-
pore native with an Australian
accent. He spent the past two
years doing mandatory military
service in the Singapore army
and navy, which left no time for
keeping up with his gymnastics
regimen. Chan chose to attend
Michigan for its engineering
program, unaware the Univer-
sity even had a men's gymnastics
team. Once he discovered the
team, Chan stopped by to see if
he might be able to work out.
"Well, not really," Michigan
coach Kurt Golder said. "There
isn't an open gym, and there
isn't a men's club team, so really
the only way is to try out for the
team. Then if you make the team,
you can work out."
Golder and the other coaches so
much they knew right off the bat
they had to have him for their
Chan was immediately wel-
comed onto the team. Not only
are the gymnasts a generally
friendly group, but they know
a quality competitor when they
"The first time I saw him walk
in the gym, I could just tell that
he was going to be a good gym-
nast, just by the way he carried
himself," junior Paul Woodward
said. "He carried himself like a
During first semester, Chan's
schedule was not formed around
practice times. Much of the
time he had to work out in the
early morning, alone or with
junior Arren Yoshimura, whose
demanding architecture course-
load also conflicted with prac-
His best event turned out to
be pommel horse, adding more
depth to the already strong line-
up. He is also working on parallel
bars, and hopes to break into the
floor exercise and vault lineups
in the future as well.
The process of getting back
into peak gymnastics condition
was slow and painful, but it paid
off. The opening meet of the
season found Chan in the start-
ing lineup for pommel horse.
He notched a score of 8.5 on
the apparatus at the Windy City
Invitational on Jan. 13, and post-
ed an 8.35 against Oklahoma.
"I've never been part of such
a big team," Chan said. "The
support everyone here has for
each other - even at training
- it's encouraging how every-
one is helping each other spot
mistakes, teaching you what's
At 21, he is more mature than
the average freshman; he is also
very in tune with his body.
"The thing I like about David
is he understands his body really
well," Michigan assistant coach
Scott Vetere said. "He knows
how to get in a hollow position.
He thinks before he does the
skill. You see him after he takes a
turn - he focuses and goes over
in his head what he needs to do.
He goes through the movements
a couple of times before he gets
And hardly anyone in the col-
legiate gymnastics community
knows of Chan's existence. He
attended high school in Austra-
lia to pursue gymnastics further.
So, other teams may underesti-
mate Michigan's strength - but
not for long.
"He's going to be our secret
weapon," sophomore Ryan
McCarthy said. "Nobody really
knows about him other than our
team. ... He's going to contribute
a lot this year."
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