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February 19, 2008 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-02-19

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The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 9

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 9

M can't let up in
finalfour games

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez (left) looked on as one of 65 potential walk-ons received a pass from wide receivers coach Tony Dews (right).
And then there were twelve

W hile Michigan took care
of business last week-
end, sweeping Lake
Superior State,
Miami (Ohio) apparently didn't
hear that its remaining sched-
ule was a cakewalk. The now
fifth-ranked
RedHawks got
swept by Fer-
ris State in Big
Rapids.
Now, Michi-
gan has four
games to cash
in on its recent
consistency NATE
and the incon-
sistency of SANDALS
others.
The Wolver-
ines have a five-point lead in the
CCHA standings with just two
weekends left and have already
clinched a first-round bye in the
conference playoffs. All Michigan
needs is four points to clinch its
first conference title since 2004-
05. That could be two wins and
two losses. Or four ties.
In other words, Michigan
could probably coast to the end of
the regular season and still raise
another banner to the rafters of
Yost Ice Arena.
But with senior alternate cap-
tain Chad Kolarik, the Wolverines
second-leading scorer, out for the
foreseeable future with a ham-
string injury, the Wolverines need
to fight for the title rather than
wait for it to come to them.
Despite Kolarik's injury, this
team has had the right attitude
all season. There's no reason it
should change course now.
Leadership from Kolarik and
captain Kevin Porter has kept
Michigan on an even keel. And
the hunger from the squad's 11
freshmen has kept everybody
energized.
This team should be confident
about its chances, but hungry too,
because nothing will be easy in
the next two weekends.
First, Michigan has a road-
and-Joe series with Michigan
State, which is five points back
in the standings, too. This is the
same Spartan team that brought
the Wolverines back to earth
less than a month ago, winning
1-0 at Yost and settling for a 2-2
tie at Munn Arena because of an
unlucky bounce that let Michi-
gan tie the score in the last two

Sophomores among
walk-ons that made it
through first cut
By ANDY REID
Daily Sports Writer
John Michael Fryback and Pat
Maizy stood outside the doors of
Schembechler Hall Friday after-
noon, jumping up and down and
giving high-fives.
They stopped momentarily to
take cell phone pictures of the list
of 12 students that had been asked
back after Thursday's open tryout
for the Michigan football team.
Fryback and Maizy's whoop-
ing and hollering could be heard
from the lobby - through two
sets of doors - where receptionist
Kelly Vaughn sat waiting for the
12 potential Wolverines to file in
throughout the day.

Vaughn, who skipped her lunch
period to make sure she didn't
miss any of the day's excitement,
waited patiently to give them a
packet of information about the
next step in the tryout process.
But to Vaughn's surprise, Fry-
back and Maizy, having not made
the team themselves, walked back
down the steps towards State
Street. Their over-the-top celebra-
tion was for two friends, sopho-
mores Ben Sutton and Mike Fish.
Fish and Sutton went to look at
the list minutes later, uninformed
by their friends of the news await-
ing them.
"Our friends kept it a secret
from us," Sutton said. "When we
got there, I literally didn't see my
name on the list. I saw Mike's right
away, but it wasn't until he said,
'you're on the list, too,' that I knew.
I'm still in shock about it."
The two met last year while liv-
ing on the same hall in West Quad
and have been friends since. Fish, a

safety, has unsuccessfully tried out
for the football team in the past,
and Sutton, who played football in
high school, decided to tag along
Thursday because Rodriguez's
tryout was open to the public.
Sutton, who has stayed in shape
since coming to school by box-
ing on the club team, immediately
caught the eye of running backs
coach Fred Jackson. After Thurs-
day's tryout, Jackson pulled Sutton
aside to briefly congratulate the
Long Island, native and take down
his number.
But even with the high praise
from Jackson, Sutton, who tried
out as a running back, said he was
shocked to see his name on the
list.
"However it turned out, I knew
this was a great experience," Sut-
ton said. "But this is just a dream
come true."
All 12 walk-ons went in for a
physical with the team doctors
yesterday after which they were

assigned lockers and cleats. They
will participate in a workout with
strength and conditioning coach
Mike Barwis this afternoon from
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The coaching staff hasn't given
the walk-ons an idea of what the
training sessions will entail, but
Barwis is known for his strict reg-
imens.
"(He) kind of reminds me of my
high school coach," Sutton said.
"He's always yelling at people.
So, I'm not really nervous to work
with him, just excited for the
opportunity."
If the walk-ons survive Bar-
wis's programs, they'll be invited
back for spring practice - and
that's when they'll really have the
chance to impress the coaching
staff.
"Come spring practices, we find
out who wants to hit somebody,"
linebackers coach Jay Hopson said
after the tryout. "And that's what
it's all about."

minutes.
Without a home game this
weekend, the task is even tougher
for Michigan. The Wolverines
haven't won in East Lansing since
the 2004-05 season. A win at
Munn would be a nice boost for
this team going forward, but it
won't come gift-wrapped.
If Michigan ekes out a couple
points against Michigan State,
See SANDALS, Page 10

Jones brings spark off bench

Junior makes most
of extra minutes
By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
BLOOMINGTON - Before
Sunday's game against Indiana,
Michigan junior Ashley Jones
had played for just 23 minutes.
But in that game, in which Michi-
gan lost 74-65, she more than dou-
bled that mark with 26.
Krista Phillips took an early
seat with two fouls. Without their
center, the Wolverines repeatedly
let the Hoosiers
come through NOTEBOOK
the lane, but
Jones provided a much-needed
body to stop the damage.
"We needed to add some ath-
leticism to our lineup," Borseth
said. "AJ gives us alot of it."

Entering eight minutes into the
game, the 6-foot-i forward was
able to provide some one-on one
pressure on the post.
And while she was called in
primarily for defensive purpos-
es, Jones sparked the struggling
Michigan offense.
After Indiana stretched its
lead to 11, Jones delivered a crisp
bounce pass to sophomore Steph-
any Skrba waiting at the block for
an easy two.
It didn't just happen once, but
three times in four trips down the
floor.
"I just hit the high post and I
just hit the open gap," Jones said.
"And when you hit the open gap,
you find a teammate open."
The baskets were part of an 8-
0 run that narrowed the gap to
three, but that was the closest the
Wolverines could get.
Jones finished with a respect-

able six points, four assists and
no turnovers. But even her high-
est marks of the year didn't please
her.
"I'd rather just win," Jones
said. "I don't care about the time.
I want to get the W."
Nothing comes free: The free-
throw line had been good to the
Wolverines.
Michigan, the 35th-best free
throw team in the nation, was
shooting .746 from the line. But
Sunday, the charity stripe wasn't
so generous - the Wolverines
shot a season-low .529. Both teams
struggled to get anything going
from the line. Indiana missed its
first four free throws before set-
tling for .500 in the first half.
The Hoosiers' aggressive paint
attack was particularly trouble-
some for the Wolverines, who
picked up 20 fouls in the game.
See JONES, Page 10

Merritt's career game against OSU
ends with injury and uncertainty
Senior achieves career-high
numbers in both points
and assists
By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Editor
Senior David Merritt didn't think Sunday would
be his day
The Michigan men's basketball team wore its
maize jerseys against Ohio State,
and Merritt thought he hadn't NOTEBOOK
played well in that color this sea-
son.
But he couldn't have been more wrong.
Merritt had a career-high seven points, equal-
ing his total output from the Wolverines' previous
seven games dressed in maize. And his career-high
four assists were four more than he had in the other
maize games.
Merritt entered the game midway through the CHANE VON HABSBURG- OTHRINGEN
first half and began his Buckeye assault minutes Senior David Merritt dribbled past Ohio State Sunday
See MERRITT, Page 10 Michigan's 80-70 victory.

ALL SMI,\4LES
Despite not competing, Heiter keeps teammates upbeat
By Colt Rosensweig Daily Sports Writer
ophomore Evan Heiter stood in the corner of the floor at the Maize
and Blue Intrasquad in December, about to perform for the first time
as a Wolverine. In a year at Michigan, he'd landed his first floor pass,
a layout punch front double full, just once in practice.
Heiter's teammates on the Blue Team sat in chairs lining one side of the
floor. They had watched as Heiter worked tirelessly on the routine in practice,
bouncing up after every fall to try again.
If he landed that first pass, they were ready to explode.
Heiter's gymnastics epitaph time to still be the kind of gym- school, Heiter began competing
seemed destined to be that he nast that I wanted to be," Heit- again, hoping to continue with
started late and ended early. er said. "So I decided to walk club gymnastics in college.
While most gymnasts start when away." After high school, the Pinck-
they're four to six years old, Heit- He walked away for six years, ney native enrolled at Western
er didn't begin until he was nine. the years when most eventual Michigan, where he trained two
And after competing from third collegiate gymnasts are honing or three days a week at a club
to seventh grade, the youngster their skills and drawing notice gym in Kalamazoo. There was no
was burnt out. from NCAA coaches. Finally, coach, but he kept in touch with
"I couldn't dedicate enough before his senior year of high See HEITER, Page 10

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