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April 03, 2007 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-03

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 -11

has
comic
relief
By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
The one-liners are coming
thick and fast - it's another day
at the gym for sophomore Scott
Bregman. Seeing sophomore
Kent Caldwell take a step prac-
ticing his triple full on floor,
Bregman shouts, "Nothing
another 17repetitions won't fix!"
as his teammate grins.
But something is different.
Bregman isn't needling his
teammates from the floor, or the
vault runway. He's in a chair - a
large boot on his left foot, with
his crutches propped against the
wall.
On March 10, the Michigan
men's gymnastics team suf-
fered one of its biggest losses of
the season. The Wolverines beat
then-No. 6 Illinois, but Bregman
limped painfully away from his
vault landing.
At first, it didn't seem too
serious.
"Scott and I were talking
before he went to the doctor,"
sophomore Jamie Thompson
said, before the problem was
diagnosed. "He was like, 'If it's
not broken, and the swelling
goes down, just tape it the best
you can - I can deal with the
pain."'
But it turned out to be more
than a little - or even a lot of
- tape could fix.
"I just twisted early, right
off the horse," Bregman said. "I
was plenty high, but I just didn't
know where I was. I opened
and landed at about a 15-degree
angle, it feels like."
Bregman tore the tendon that
holds the first and second toes
together - a Lis Franc disloca-
tion.
Ranked third in the nation on
floor, Bregman is out for the sea-
son, and he won't be at 100 per-
cent until possibly next January.
The news was devastating.
"(I said), 'I have to get sur-
gery,' " Bregman said. "I broke
down. ... It was the first time I
had said it out loud. 'I'm getting
surgery. It's going to be a long
road.' But I can't dwell on it. At
practice I was pretty bad for the
first hour I guess, but that's not
what's going to get me better. I
have to stay positive."
Though it may have been
abbreviated, the sophomore
had quite an encore to his solid
freshmanyear.
From the start, Bregman was
one of the leaders of Michigan's
brilliant floor team, never scor-
ing lower than a 9.15 and winning
the Newt Loken award for best
performance of the meet two
consecutive times. He broke the
Michigan record for floor with
a 9.8 against gymnastics power-
house Oklahoma on Jan.27.
And even on a team as full
of varying talents and person-
alities as Michigan, Bregman
stands out.
Among 20-plus fluent speak-
ers of the complicated language

of gymnastics, Bregman is
renowned as an expert. In a gym
typically full of jokes and laugh-
ter, Bregman's often-sarcastic
wit is notorious.
"He just throws out these ran-
dom, hilarious comments all the
time," Caldwell said. "After the
(Illinois meet), he obviously hurt
himself pretty bad. And he asked
if someone could Bela Karolyi-
style carry him, referencing the
1996 Olympics and Kerri Strug."
Bregman's humor is omni-
present - if there's any sort
of team activity going on, he's
there.
At the traditional Friday night
China Gate dinners, he's cracking
jokes that put his teammates in
danger of choking on their food.
During the seemingly intermi-
nable blind volleyball games in
the fall, he's in every match. If
there's a big gymnastics competi-
tion being broadcast on the Inter-
net, it's a safe bet that most of the
team will be in his living room,
where Bregman hooks his laptop
to the television - and cooks up
reportedly delicious appetizers.
Although he can't help the
team by competing in the cham-
pionship meets, Bregman's pres-
ence will still be felt.
He drove to Columbus for
Michigan's regular season fina-
le, and he attended the Big Ten
championships in Minneapolis.
And when his teammates arrive in
State College for the NCAA cham-
pionships, he'll be there, too.
If the Wolverines needed any
more motivation going into their
last and biggest meet of the sea-
son, they've got it now.
A championship wouldn't just
erase the bitter memories of last
season's failures, or prove that
the year-end struggles were just
a bump in the road.
This one's for Scott.

A new gear: Newfound
aggression helps Blue

By CHRIS MESZAROS
Daily Sports Writer
After her team lost its first nine
doubles matches of the season, Michi-
gan coach Amanda Augustus realized
something had to be done.
But instead of preaching conserva-
tism to her players, Augustus knew they
would have to be aggressive.
Her risky move paid off, as the Wol-
verines have gone 5-1 in doubles since.
The aggressive tennis that Augustus
preaches is not designed to force reck-
less attempts to win points. Instead,
it is a system that takes advantages of
Michigan's strengths.
"We really work on playing aggres-
sive doubles," Augustus said. "Getting
up to the net to take advantage of our
volley skills is important. We serve
really well which creates opportunities
to get up to the net, but we need to make
the first move and to seize our opportu-
nities"
Michigan's vast improvement is due

mostly to its willingness to volley. The
transition zone between the baseline
and the net is a bad place to getstuck, so
Augustus emphasizes the importance of
being comfortable with transition shots
and the ability to keep cool in competi-
tive situations.
"It's important to seize all of your
opportunities," Augustus said. "Volley-
ing makes us much more aggressive and
allows us to take the match from the
other team."
The adjustments have brought
together two successful doubles parings
for Michigan. Senior Jenny Kuehn and
sophomore Chisako Sugiyama combine
to form the No. 1 duo, blending power
with power. Both players use powerful
serves to set up easy volleys and rely on
Kuehn's speed to pick up any slack.
"Jenny and Chisako are very solid
with volleys and transition shots,"
Augustus said. "They outsmart and out-
move the opposition."
At No. 2 doubles, the tandem of
senior Kara Delicata and freshman

Tania Mahtani compliment each other,
as Delicata's power serve and Mahtani's
power return confuse the opposition.
Delicata's experience allows Mahtani
to learn from a veteran.
"She advises me in the kind of things
that I need to do," Mahtani said. "Once
we're both trusting our games and the
team, we will both do really well."
With the gradual return of sopho-
more Lindsey Howard, who suffered a
devastating shoulder injury last year,
the doubles rotation, particularly at No.
3, looks to be solidified.
The doubles point for Michigan has
transformed from an obvious weakness
to a formidable strength. The combina-
tion of both aggressiveness and the cre-
ation of new doubles teams has led to
success in different ways.
"We have been practicing doubles
with different people and working on
poaching, volleys and longer points."
Sugiyama said. "A combination of
these helped us to pull off the doubles
points."

EUGENE ROBERTSON/Daiy
Sophomore Chisako Sugiyama is half of Michigan's No.1 doubles
team.

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