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March 03, 2008 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-03

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6B - Monday, March 3, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Perfection continues at Cat Classic

Blue disappointed with
sixth-place finish

Wolverines battle flu
epidemic, stumble at
Big Ten showdown
By MACKENZIE MELVIN
Daily Sports Writer
Winning the Big Ten indoor
title has been a goal for the Michi-
gan men's track and field team all
season. Heading into the Big Ten
Championship meet at Wisconsin's
Camp Randall Memorial Sports
Center, the Wolverines felt they
could land anywhere from second
to seventh place.
But they found themselves on
the low end with a disappointing
sixth-place finish in Madison.
"We're not happy about it,"
Michigan coach Ron Warhurst
said.
The Wolverines'finishmarks the
first time in five years they have not
been in the top four at the meet.
A recent team-wide battle with
the flu hindered many Wolverines,
and one athlete was at the hospital
this weekend fighting the bug. The
distance runners suffered the most
from the epidemic.
"They weren't able to run much
all last week," Warhurst said. "But
even if we were hitting on all cylin-
ders, it would have been difficult."
Co-captain Lex Williams led the

distance crew, finishing fifth in the
3,000-meter run (8:18).
Junior Adam Harris was one of
the Wolverines' few stellar per-
formers. He captured conference
titles in the long jump and the 60-
meter dash, where he set a con-
ference record and personal best
(6.61).
With his winning jump (24-10),
almost five inches ahead of sec-
ond place, Harris became the first
Wolverine since Derek Harper in
1984 to claim the Big Ten longjump
title. The distance was also a per-
sonal best and an NCAA qualifying
mark.
The success left Harris, nick-
named "Smilez," with more excite-
ment.
"He enjoys the competition, and
he enjoys the fruits of his labor,"
associate head coach Fred LaPlante
said.
Sophomore Frank Shotwell also
had a strong showing at the meet,
finishing first in the heptathlon.
Shotwell finished in the top eight in
all seven heptathlon events, includ-
ing third-place finishes in the shot
put and pole vault and first-place
finishes in the long jump and 60-
meter hurdles.
During the next two weeks,
Michigan hopes to shake off the
disappointment of the Big Ten
Championship meet and focus on
the March 14-16 NCAA Indoor
Championships.

No.4 Michigan beats
three teams to
remain unbeaten
By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
The No. 4 Michigan women's
gymnastics team kept its perfect
season rolling by crushing three
teams at the 28th annual Cat
Classic last weekend in Colum-
bia, Mo.
But although it seems nothing
can go wrong for the Wolverines
(5-0 Big Ten, 14-0 overall), the
team's biggest threat comes to
Ann Arbor Friday.
Three-time defending National
Champion and No. 1 Georgia will
be a challenge unlike any the Wol-
verines have faced this season.
Recently, Michigan has squashed
opponents by at least one or two
full points, and hasn't trailed in a
meet since Jan. 19.
But the Wolverines weren't
thinking ahead to Georgia when
they took to the mats at the Cat
Classic. Instead, they focused on
maintaining momentum from a
season-high 197.125 points in a
victory over North Carolina State
Feb. 22.
While Friday's 196.200 team
score was Michigan's third-low-
est of the season, it was more than
enough to defeat No. 14 Missouri,
BIG TENS
From page 1B
defending Big Ten champion
Minnesota came in third.
During last year's conference
meet, Michigan was winning by
four points over Minnesota head-
ing into the final relay. Minnesota
won the event and the title.
This year, it was clear that
revenge was in the mind of every
Wolverine.
"Without a doubt, that was our
motivation," Bowman said in his
brand new and newly soaked Big
Ten championship gray T-shirt
after climbing out of the pool.
"That was a very hard time for us,
and to be able to overcome that
and come back, it's just the best."

No. 22 Ohio State and California.
Michigan coach Bev Plocki said
the low score couldn't be attribut-
ed to low-quality performances.
"The way that our competition
was judged was extremely tight,"
Plocki said. "We had a very good
performance, but we came away
with a not-so-stellar score."
Michigan dominated on floor
and vault in the first two rotations
and built an early lead. Fresh-
man Kylee Botterman picked up
the floor title, while sophomore
Sarah Curtis grabbed the vault
title (9.900) along with runner-up
honors in the all-around competi-
tion.
But the Wolverines struggled
more than usual.
Tough scoring on the beam,
Michigan's most inconsistent
event all season, contributed to
the below-average final score.
With a mediocre performance
(48.975), the event score was one
of the lowest this season.
But the real surprise came on
uneven bars.
Generally one of the highest
scoring events for the Wolverines,
the bars squad ran into trouble
Friday night and posted a season-
low score.
Junior Becky Bernard was the
only Wolverine to score in the
9.900-range, which was strong
enough for her fourth uneven bars
title of the season.
Plocki saw the tough scoring as
an opportunity to improve. The
The Wolverines utterly domi-
nated three events.
In the 400-yard individual
medley, they took the top four
places.
In the 200-yard freestyle and
500-yard freestyle, they took the
top three places.
And as for individual feats,
three Wolverines combined to set
four pool records.
Sophomore Scott Spann did
so in the 100-yard and 200-yard
breaststrokes. Savulich did so in
the 100-yard freestyle. And Pat-
ton set the pool record in the 500-
yard freestyle.
But despite those accomplish-
ments from the juniors and under-
classmen, senior co-captain Alex
Vanderkaay led the team.
Vanderkaay scored a team-high

Freshman Kylee Botterman won the floor exercise
mance at the cat classic in columbia, Mo.

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Wolverines are now concentrat-
ing on fixing little mistakes.
"This is the unfortunate thing
about our sport," Plocki said. "It's
absolutely subjective. The only
thing you can do in those situa-
tions is go back and say we cannot
78 points and set pool records in
the 400-yard individual med-
ley and the 200-yard butterfly.
Although he has won seven indi-
vidual Big Ten titles as a Wol-
verine, Vanderkaay has never
experienced a team champion-
ship. Winning the title in his
senior year at home was a fitting
ending to his career at Canham
Natatorium.
"I'm ecstatic," Vanderkaaysaid.
"It's almost too sweet - it's pic-
ture perfect. I wanted to be able
to leave this pool knowing that I
did everything to help win that
championship."
At the end of the meet, Michi-
gan swimmers and coaches also
received several conference hon-
ors. Bowman was named swim
coach of the year and Vanderkaay

give them room to take those half-
point deductions."
And just four days away from
the defining meet of this season,
the Wolverines hope to tighten
routines as they prepare for Geor-
gia to visit Crisler Arena.
shared the swimmer of the cham-
pionship meet and swimmer of
the year awards with Indiana's
Ben Hesen. Finally, Wolverines
took 11 of the 17 spots on the Big
Ten All-Conference team.
Bowmansaid theteamwill now
work toward its goal of winning
its first national title in 13 years
at the NCAA Championships later
this month in Seattle.
But the joys of winning his
first Big Ten team title seemed to
inspire Spann, the record-setting
sophomore, to set another new
goal for his team.
"This is something I will never
forget," Spann said. "We are defi-
nitely living up to the Michigan
expectations, and now hopefully
we can start an entire decade of
dominance."

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