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March 13, 2008 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-13

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8A - Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Curtis's leadership big on beam for Blue

By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
As an adventurous four-year-
old, Sarah Curtis used to try out
her own flips and tumbles on the
sidelines of her older sister's gym-
nastics practices.
"Eventually, my mom decided
it'd be safer to put me in the sport
rather than me doing it on the
side," Curtis said with a laugh.
Sixteen years later, that flexible
little girl has become one of Michi-
gan's elite gymnasts.
The sophomore has dominated
the competition all season. Curtis
and fifth-year senior LindseyBruck
have finished 1-2 in the all-around
three times this season - includ-
ing in crucial wins over Minnesota
and No. Georgia.
Curtis's 39.600-point all-around
score last week against the Gym
Dogs was the highest total in the
Big Ten this season, and bested her
previous career-high by.200.
But lastnyear was a very different
story.
The Reno, Nev., native spent
her freshman year sidelined by an

Achilles tendon injury suffered
just three weeks into the season.
Bruck experienced the same injury
in last year's season-opening meet.
The two rehabilitated together, but
neither was at full strength until
this fall.
"(Curtis) had a different role last
year, sidelined with her Achilles,"
senior Katie Lieberman said. "She
would cheer us on during meets
and stay really supportive. This
year, she still has that supportive
role, but also she's able to help the
team gymnastically."
Curtis' efforts have earned her
positions in all four event lineups
this season. She and Bruck are the
only two gymnasts who compete
in the all-around for the Wolver-
ines. Curtis said the balance beam
has been her most improved event,
and her progress is evident with
her 9.820 average score on the
event.
"Everyone respects her because
of how hard she worked to come
back from the injury and do what
she's doing today," Michigan coach
Bev Plocki said.
Plocki and Lieberman both say

Curtis "leads by example." She's
a quiet motivator in the gym who
works with teammates who are
having a rough day. But during
competitions, Curtis offers vocal
support and even an occasional
joke to ease the tension.
She has also silently but steadily
collected a slew of event titles this
season, including three each on
floor exercise and vault. Curtis's
vault routine has been the same for
years, and she said it comes very
naturally to her. Against Georgia,
Curtis earned a career-high 9.950-
point score on the apparatus.
Curtis was named Big Ten Gym-
nast of the Week three times this
season, most recently after cap-
turing last weekend's all-around
crown.
,Even though she's finally had
a chance to prove herself, a year
removed from hobbling on crutch-
es, Curtis doesn't like to talk about
her personal achievements.
"She'saveryselflesscompetitor,"
Plocki said. "When you mention
to her anything about individual
accolades, she just kind of shrugs
her shoulders and giggles."

Sophomore Sarah Curtis celebrates with senior Lindsey Bruck after excelling against No.1t Georgia last week at Crisler Arena.

Sitompul's road to 'M' winding After poor seasonjunior rebounds

By MATT JOHNSON
DailySports Writer
For freshman Alexander Sitom-
pul, the adjustment to collegiate
golf has been easy, but his recruit-
ment was anything but smooth for
Michigan men's golf coach Andrew
Sapp.
Sapp
couldn't
directly con-
tact Sitompul
because none
of his listed
phone num-
bers worked. SITOMPUL
He eventu-
ally e-mailed
Sitompul's father, who lived in
Indonesia, to let him know that
he wanted his son to come to-
Michigan.
But it was still difficult to get

Sitompul to visit Ann Arbor. He
didn't take the SAT until October
of his senior year, so he wasn't
allowed to take an official visit.
Instead, Sitompul had to come
on an unofficial visit to Michi-
gan with his mother. He eventu-
ally committed in November after
Sapp visited him in Florida, where
he went to high school after grow-
ing up in Indonesia.
Although he signed late in the
year, Sitompul said it didn't take
him long to decide he wanted to be
a Wolverine.
"Basically, I just came here, met
the guys and coach and looked
around," Sitompul said. "It just fit
right."
Sitompul has emerged as one
of Michigan's top players this sea-
son.
He already owns the team's low-
est scoring average and finished in

the top five at Michigan's final two
tournaments of the fall season,
The Prestige and The Wolverine.
Still, Sitompul has made some
minor tweaks to his game to fully
adjust to college golf.
"The courses are not as forgiv-
ing," Sitompul said. "I had to kind
of change my style a little bit. I
haven't been playing as reckless."
But Sapp said Sitompul's aggres-
sive approach has helped him suc-
ceed.
In November at The Wolverine,
which was hosted by Michigan,
Sitompul prepared to tee off on a
long par four with a creek crossing
the fairway about 310 yards out.
During the first two rounds, he
had laid up and then hit over the
creek.
But after failing to make par
using that approach, he elected to
See SITOMPUL, Page 9A

Catrambone regains
confidence, climbs
to No. 1 on high bar
By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
It's one of the first sounds you
hear walking into the Newt Loken
Gymnastics Training Center: the
"sonic boom."
The explosive blast of junior Joe
Catrambone's laughter can over-
whelm almost any background
noise. It signals the start of another
day at practice - and that Catram-
bone's feeling good. A 5-foot-3 ball
of energy, especially after chug-
ging a Mountain Dew Code Red,
Catrambone can affect everyone in
the gym with his mood.
And this season, Catrambone

has rebounded dramatically from
a frustrating sophomore year to
become the No. 1 high bar perform-
er in the country.
"When he's having a good day in
the gym, there's just this positive
energy and atmosphere that every-
one feels," freshman Ian Makowske
said. "I think that's the beginning
of a leader, in that you can see his
influence on the team."
Warming up on high bar, his
best event, Catrambone resembles
a swinging frog. With his limb fly-
ing in all directions, the fact that
he actually possesses proper joints
suddenly seems questionable.
"He's pretty much like a human
pretzel," sophomore Torrance
Laury said.
But as easily as flipping a switch,
Catrambone snaps into perfect
form. Though he's the third-short-
est gymnast on the team, his exten-

sion on high bar is so pronounced
that he seems long-bodied. He
smoothly executes difficult skills,
including a stretched Yamawaki
release, where he throws himself
over the bar like a dolphin, and a
dynamic triple backflip dismount.
But it's been a long and difficult
return to the top of the high-bar
rankings -.and to that happy-go-
lucky personality. 4
As a freshman, Catrambone's
smile seemed permanent and his
confidence unshakable. Not only
was he one of the team's best high-
bar men, he also competed in the
all-around in most meets.
But last year, he slumped severe-
ly. Early on, Catrambone was cut
backtojustthree events: rings, par-
allel bars and high bar. A rock-bot-
tom parallel-bars routine in March
triggered his removal from that
See CATRAMBONE, Page 9A

ail

I

Take a bite out of the Big Apple and have a taste of your dream
career in the city that never sleeps. We're taking
all the excitement of the Michigan Apprentice
program on the road to New York City. Four
lucky Michigan students will have the
opportunity of a lifetime, spending
a day shadowing high-
profile alumni.

If you're a junior or senior you could be one of the lucky four
selected for an all-expenses-paid one-day internship in New York
with one of these Michigan success stories:
Marketing: Lisa Weiss, '92, senior marketing manager for Elite
Traveler
Law: Samantha Mahoney , '91, New York commercial
litigation attorney
Finance: Todd Rosenbluth, '97, Wall Street equity analyst at
Standard and Poor's
JournaLism: Bill Schmidt, '67, and Richard Berke, '80, assistant
managing editors at The New York Times
The appLication deadline is Wednesday, March 26.

Get details on how to apply at
www.umaLumni.com/students.

0
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

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