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March 24, 2008 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-24

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4

DAILY SPORTS BREAKS DOWN THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
2B - March 24,2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

I

SAID AND HEARD

"I just tried to tackle Bill as hard
as I (could). He gave us a chance to
win and that's all you can do. He
played out of his mind today."
- Michigan defenseman Chris Summers on goalie
Billy Sauer's CCHA Tournament performance

EMILY
BRUNEMANN
The junior made history this
weekend when she won the
1,650-yard freestyle at the
NCAA Championships in
Columbus. She became the first
Wolverine ever to win a dis-
tance national title.

A

I

S w
Spinig a March without madness

arch Madness doesn't
exist in Ann Arbor.
This is nothing new.
It's like me telling you the sky is
blue or Michigan State fans like
to riot. But why should a March
without madness automatically be
one filled with
sadness?
Sure, Michi-
gan fans have
to look back
a decade to
find a time its
team made the
NCAA Tourna- SCOTT
ment, and even BELL
then it didn't
officially count.
Sure, cheering against the Dukes
of the world can only be fun for so
long. And sure, it's not just college
hoops specific. All March long, it
seems any team or player I'm root-
ing for has something wrong going
for it.
All this is true. But all hope is
not lost. Luckily for area sports
fans, spin is in.
So after adopting some rather
generous outlook tweaks I've made
to some of the most dire sports sit-
uations, hopefully you can have a
positive look on sports, too (or just
lose any concept ofreality, depend-
ing on how you look atlit).

The Michigan men's basket-
ball team hasn't made the NCAA
Tournament in a decade.
Let's get the elephant out of the
room right away. It's not fun get-
ting a chance to shamelessly pick
your home school to go deep when
they're not even listed on a brack-
et. But at least you have a better
chance at bracket success with-
out the dreaded homer pick going
wrong. And Michigan fans always
have the bragging rights over the
summer of "Your team lost more
recently than ours."
The Michigan hockey team
has to travel out East to Albany
for the NCAA Tournament.
Sure, it sucks. If the Wolverines
had been placed in Madison, a lot
of students could have made the
trek out West to watch. But the
Wolverines avoided a Michigan
State team that has played them
tough all year long and secured the
No. 1 overall seed with the CCHA
Tournament Title. It's inconve-
nient travel-wise, but it's good
Frozen Four-wise.
The Celtics are in the driver's
seat for the No. 1 seed over the
Pistons in the East.
Home court advantage is nice,
but I'd gladly trade it for not hav-
ing to face LeBron James in the
Eastern Conference Semifinals.

is good news for everyone except
the Ann Arbor News, which was
probably licking its chops for a
potential academic "scandal."
The Michigan football team
doesn't exactly have a quarter-
back next season.
Minor technicality. , Steven
Threet should emerge as the start-
er and be more than adequate. He
ran a similar offense in high school
and Rich Rodriguez's teams at
Clemson and Tulane showed you
don't have to be "mobile" to suc-
ceed in his offense. If you want
another approach, there's always
the obvious "I'd rather have no
quarterback than Ryan Mallett"
joke. Then again, I guess it's not a
joke if it's true.
The Lions are considering
bringing in Pacman Jones to
play cornerback.
I've got nothing.
The Michigan economy is
bad.
Well, now we have an excuse not
to go to Lions games. Actually, if
Jones ends up a Lion, an economic
quick-fix may be in order. It's like
trickle up economics: pump money
into strip clubs, see the results
spread elsewhere. Pure genius.
- Bell can be reached at
scottebdumich.edu.

4
I

AP PHOTO
Terrelle Pryor enthusiastically announces he will attend "The University of Ohio
State" and try to uphold the tradition built by Maurice Clarett.

The Cavs and Celtics can beat
themselves up for seven full games
while the Pistons cruise to the
Eastern Conference Finals fresh
as can be.
Curtis Granderson has to
start the season on the disabled
list.
Winning 155 games this regu-

lar season is good enough. There's
always 2009 for the full 162.
Terrelle Pryor choosing Ohio
State over Michigan.
Or should I say, the University of
Ohio State. Let's be honest, Pryor
isn't a frontrunner for the Aca-
demic All-Big Ten team next year.
Pryor going to school in Columbus

4

Wolverines vanquish Buckeyes in
dual for the first time since 2004

Senior savors final
year of competition

By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
The Buckeyes thought they
had it.
The No. 7 Ohio State men's gym-
nastics
team had OHIO STATE 356.25
beaten MICHIGAN 359.20
the Wol-
verines three years running, and
looked to be clawing its way to a
comeback at Cliff Keen Arena on
Saturday night.
But the fifth-ranked Wolverines
knew the meet was theirs.
They didn't panic. Not after two
roughroutinestoleadofffloorexer-
cise. Not after Ohio State took the
lead after three events. Not when
the first five Michigan parallel-bars
sets all had major mistakes.
And on Senior Night, the Wol-
verines finally bested Ohio State
head-to-head for the first time since
2004, winning 359.20-356.25.
"It feelslike we can'tlose,"senior
Dan Rais said. "It feels absolutely
amazing. ... We can do anything
now."
Having received an impassioned
speech from Professor John Bacon
on Friday about the history of the
Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, the
gymnasts were more fired up than
normal for their big meet.
"At the time, we were ready to
compete then and there," junior
Joe Catrambone said. "We stayed
really positive today. I think this is
the most positive we've ever been,
as a group."
The Wolverines needed the posi-
tive attitude from the start. Two
rough routines led off the open-
ing rotation, floor exercise, but
freshman Thomas Kelley put the
Wolverines back on track with a
smooth hit.
Junior Jamie Thompson - in the
lineup for the first time since Feb. 2
- delivered anear-flawless floor set
for a career-high 15.65. It was aper-
fect setup for junior Kent Caldwell,
who performed his new, upgraded
routine in competition for the first
time.

Rais rises to the
occasion on Senior
Night,-hitting all
three routines
By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
It began slowly in the back of
the team bus, a few voices join-
ing in with Journey's "Don't Stop
Believing." Riding back from a
defeat at Illinois on March 9, the
Michigan men's gymnastics team
suddenly decided it was time to
sing.
Within minutes, a team-wide
karaoke party was in full swing.
For senior Dan Rais, the moment
was "euphoric."
"At first, I didn't think any-
thing of it," Rais said. "But after
we stopped for a little bit, it was
so different. It felt like it was just
a different team. ... It was like hav-
ing all my best friends, and doing
what we love to do."
And for him, it meant just a lit-
tle more.
This is Rais's last season, and
there won't be too many more
moments like that one.
"I don't think it's set in yet,"
Rais said. "I've been sitting here
saying, 'Yeah, I'm about done,' but
it doesn't feel like I'm going to be
done with gymnastics."
Though Rais will finish with
gymnastics this year, he likely
won't be done competing for Mich-
igan. Athletes can have a fifth year
of eligibility if they switch sports,
and the Livonia native plans to
walk onto the men's swimming
and diving team. Rais lettered in
diving all four years of high school
and eventually captained the team.
Michigan currently has just two
male divers, juniors Charlie Ken-
nedy and Kyle Schroeder.
In his first home meet this sea-
son, Rais provided a crucial boost
for Michigan during the high bar
rotation, during which the Wol-
verines wrested victory away from
defending national champion Penn

State. Rais said it was one of the
best high bar routines of his life,
and earned a 14.80.
"He got up after a rocky set from
somebody else and really rocked
his set," junior Jamie Thompson
said. "He lifted everybody, say-
ing, 'We can still do this, we have
to hit.,'"
Since then, thanks in part to a
nagging neck problem that affects
his right arm, Rais has had diffi-
culty competing. It's particularly
frustrating as he tries to make his
final season count.
"There's times when I know I
should have worked harder and
it would have helped, not only me
but the team," Rais said. "That's
what I've been trying to do this
year, work harder than I have
been."
That work paid off against Ohio
State on Senior Night, when Rais
turned in his best overall perfor-
mance of the year. He capped the
floor rotation with a 15.05 set. On
vault, an event that's plagued him
in recent weeks, he earned a 15.70
and placed second overall.
And on high bar, Rais best-
'ed even his Penn State perfor-
mance. His mother, Cathy, held
her breath as Rais willed him-
self to a smooth set culminating
in a stuck double front over the
bar. After screaming in triumph,
Rais was picked up in a bear hug
by senior co-captain Paul Wood-
ward. When his feet touched
the ground, senior co-captain
Arren Yoshimura wrapped him in
another embrace.
It was a near-perfect finish to
Rais's career at Cliff Keen Arena.
Even though he'll remain in
Ann Arbor, Rais's absence will
leave a hole in the gym, especially
for Woodward. Of the team's three
seniors, Woodward is the only one
returning for a fifth year.
"If Dan and (senior) Arren
(Yoshimura) both leave and it's
just me here, I'll definitely feel
old," Woodward said. "There's
definitely a bond that me, Dan
and Arren have that I probably
don't have with the rest of the
team."

RODRIGO GAYA/Daily
Junior Kent Caldwell performs on the floor exercise during Michigan's win over Ohio State. He won floor with a 15.70.

"I was feeling good, confident
that I'd be able to hit it, butI was so
proud of(Thompson) after that set,"
said Caldwell, who won the Newt
Loken award for his meet-topping,
career-high 15.7 set. "I think Jamie
took that set from beingjust a hit to
having the level of polish I was able
to give it."
The Wolverines' trend of late-
meet struggles surfaced dra-
matically during the parallel-bars
rotation - the same event that
led to a close defeat to top-ranked
Stanford on March 2.
But in what Michigan coach Kurt
Golder called his top performance
of the night, Catrambone knocked
out his set in the anchor slot. With
five subpar routines ahead of him,

Catrambone posted a career-high
15.10 score, good for second overall.
Michigan then moved to high
bar, the last rotation. Rais and
senior co-captain Arren Yoshimura
prepared for their final home per-
formances.
Rais, for one, was decidedly
ticked off, feeling that the team had
opened the door for the Buckeyes
during parallel bars.
After a clean opening routine
from junior Ryan McCarthy, Rais
swung onto the bar. He swept
through the routine, stuck his dis-
mount and yelled with joy. It was
his third hit set of the night.
His score of15.OOwasbested only
by Catrambone's 15.40. Yoshimura
rounded out Michigan's high bar

sweep, placing third and offering
a salute to the roaring crowd as he
left the mat for the final time.
"I feel like this was the best
way for them to end at Cliff Keen,"
junior Jamie Thompson said. "They
both hit the last event they did and
were so happy with how everybody
did."
Even with a meet that left sig-
nificant room for improvement,
Michigan proved itself superior to
its archrival, outscoring Ohio State
on four of the six events and col-
lecting three individual titles.
"I knew we could have done it all
along," Caldwell said. "I never told
anyone this, but I expected to win.
... It's always good to go out with a
bang - and with a win."

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