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February 12, 2007 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-12

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4B - Monday, February 12, 2007

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Grappler
By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
Coming into yesterday's dual meet against
Ohio State, the Michigan wrestling team had
not emerged with a win since November. As the
weeks passed, the Wolverines' lack of Big Ten
victories continued snowballing into a bigger
and bigger zero.
But with the team's 21-15 upset victory over
the 17th-ranked Buckeyes, the lack of Ohio
State victories against Michigan coach Joe
McFarland (8-0 against Ohio State) was the
zero everyone was talking about.
"It's a great feeling," heavyweight Casey
White said of yesterday's win. "We've obvi-
ously been struggling a little bit this year to
come out with our first Big Ten win, (so) this
really means a lot to us, especially against Ohio
State."
And the key to the Wolverine victory was
as unpredictable as Michigan's poor record
this season. It wasn't Michigan's pair of sec-
ond-ranked wrestlers playing a vital role, but
instead, unranked guys stepping up big to give
the team a necessary confidence boost going
into the last weeks of the season.
"It's something that I think we needed,"
White said. "I think it just helps everyone's
confidence. It just kind of gives us a little bit of
a boost going into the end of the season. The
wrestling season is so long and it's such a grind
that a win like this can really just help you get
your confidence back up and push you to the
end."
With the 149-pound weight class slated
to begin the meet, No. 23 Michigan expected
to take an early lead as second-ranked Josh
Churella faced 17th-ranked Lance Palmer, who
Churella had defeated 3-0 at the season-open-
ing Eastern Michigan Open.
But the 1,339 fans in Cliff Keen Arena were
shocked as the Buckeye wrestler pulled off a
reversal in the waning seconds of the second
tiebreak to win 6-4.
As a furious Churella walked off the mat, he
threw his ear guards into the locker room and
feelings of concern infiltrated the Michigan
bench. The Wolverines were forced to bank on
fifth-year senior Rob Sulaver. The Dearborn
native was subbing in for Jeff Marsh (flu) and
had just performed in a University produc-
tion of "A Few Good Men" the previous three
nights.
But his clutch 7-2 victory following Churel-
la's tough loss was what deserved a standing
ovation.
"Josh is one of the best wrestlers on this team

s topple rival Bucks Yhe athletes
hold their own
in Sin City

Heavyweight Casey White got a pivotal pin in the despite trailing late inthe match.

and you just don't see him lose," White said. "It
was somethingthat was kind of a shocker to us,
but right after that Rob Sulaver just came back
with a huge win. He's just awesome. It's his
fifth year, and I think that was a great win for
him and something that really helped our team
to bounce right back."
After the victory to tie the score, second-
ranked Eric Tannenbaum took a forfeit win
(165 pounds). The next three Wolverines then
responded with victories, emerging as unlikely
heroes.
Jordan Sherrod held on to win 2-1 against
the tough 14th-ranked Chris Vondruska (who
was originally slated to face Tannenbaum),
putting Michigan up 12-3 in the meet.
And then the polar opposite weight classes,
heavyweight and 125 pounds, came through
back-to-back for Michigan, with White earn-
ing a momentum-swinging fall with 17 sec-
onds left in the third period despite trailing
going into the final period. Sophomore Michael
Watts then notched his first dual meet victory
of the season to put Ohio State down by an
insurmountable 12-point lead.

"Winning those tough matc
McFarland said. "In some of ou
we haven't been able to win th
matches on a few occasions tho
dual meet in your favor. And we*
that today. We got to build off th
momentum to finish strong."
After falling to No. 22 Indian
11-4 overall) 21-15 on Friday, the
5 Big Ten, 2-8-1 overall) looked
going to continue their downy
dual meets, where they had bee
a lack of depth.
On Friday, it was Michigan's
tiers that scored almost all of the
with Tannenbaum holding ontc
remain undefeated on the season
and redshirt sophomore Tyrel T
ing key decisions.
But despite the Churella an
on Sunday, Michigan still came
second win of the season and
winless Big Ten record, and a
McFarland's record against the
fect.

By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen
and the Michigan men's gymnas-
tics team owe a lot to New Jersey.
For the final day of competi-
tion this weekend at the Winter
Cup in Las Vegas, three Jersey
boys - senior co-captain Andrew
Elkind, sophomore Joe Catram-
bone and sophomore Ralph Rosso
- represented No. 1 Michigan.
And against the country's best
gymnasts, including former and
current national team members,
they held their own.
From the amount of noise
those Wolverines were making, it
seemed as if the entire team made
ROB MIGRIN/Daily it to the finals.
But there were just three ath-
ches are key," letes donning the Maize and Blue
it past duals ... on the competitive floor. Four
hose real close more - senior co-captain Justin
at can swing a Laury, sophomore Kent Caldwell,
were able to do freshman Mel Santander and
is and use this alum Eddie Umphrey - cheered
from the stands.
a (2-3 Big Ten, The three New Jersey natives
Wolverines (1- shone in the qualifying compe-
as if they were tition on Thursday night, with
ward spiral in Rosso placing sixth overall on
n hindered by rings and Catrambone seventh on
high bar. Elkind finished in the
ranked wres- top 12 in all four of his events. Of
team's points, 84 gymnasts,just half qualified to
o a 3-2 lead to Saturday night's finals.
n, and Churella ~ "It was kind of funny how
odd each earn- things worked out," Elkind said.
"(Michigan coach) Kurt (Gold-
d Todd losses er) even walked up to us when
away with its we were stretching and said,
eliminated its 'Oh, we've got the Jersey crew
f course, kept tonight.' ... It's a little bit more
Buckeyes per- of a comfortable feeling because
we've been competing together
on the team and in club gymnas-
tics for so long."
The Winter Cup is the only
Ar b r meet of the season where the
Wolverines compete solely on an
"r" individual basis, as well as the
only one in which they are scored
using the new code instituted last
year.
Seven competitors from the
meet were chosen for the U. S.
Senior National Team - the top
three all-around gymnasts and
four others chosen by the Men's
Program Committee. Three of
the final four spots have been
decided, with the fourth to be
announced on Tuesday. Overall
standings included both Thurs-
day and Saturday night's scores.

Though it appears that no
Michigan gymnasts will make
the national team, the weekend
was still a success.
Despite struggling early on
the high bar and pommel horse,
Elkind pulled it together in his
final event, parallel bars, where
he finished ninth. He placed inthe
top 20 in all four of his events.
Catrambone and Rosso posted
the highest Wolverine finishes
of the night, placing fifth on the
high bar and rings, respectively.
Catrambone also tied for 14th on
the still rings.
"We didn't go mistake-free, but
I thought it was pretty good,"
Golder said. "They competed
with the best in the country and
I think they showed themselves
that they can compete with them.
It's a process, learning how to
compete at various levels. And I
think they took a giant step for-
ward."
One of the highlights of the
night came after the main meet
was over. In the newskills compe-
tition, sophomore Kent Caldwell
performed his unique quadruple
twist and took first place, hitting
the skill on his very first attempt.
The Wolverines also got a good
look at two of their future team-
mates, high school seniors Thom-
as Kelley and Chris Cameron.
Kelley placed sixth in the all-
around competition, ahead of for-
mer Olympian Raj Bhavsar, while
Cameron took 14th.
"They're reallygood," Caldwell
said. "They're both really clean
gymnasts, and they're going to
be able to add a lot, especially in
the events where we'll be losing
(strength) with Justin, Andrew
and Aaron (Rakes) graduating."
One weekend competing alone
was enough for the gymnasts,
who are all eager to rejoin their
team and begin preparing for
Saturday's meet at Minnesota.
Despite being the loudest group
on the floor, the Michigan final-
ists keenly felt the absence of
their equally noisy teammates.
"I'm anxious to get back in the
gym to see how the guys at home
have been training," Catrambone
said. "I miss those guys. We've
been training for the whole sea-
son together, and we're doing so
well. Getting back in the gym,
getting motivated by those guys
and me motivating them is going
to be a plus."

*

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