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January 19, 2010 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-01-19

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2B - January 19, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com I

Weary fans
deserved to rush
the court after
upset win

QB Robinson impresses in "The Dual"

By LUKE PASCH against a Buckeye squad that Michi-
For The Daily gan coach Fred LaPlante dubbed
Ohio State's most well rounded and
O-H-I-0 chants rangthrough the experienced team in 25 years.
Michigan Indoor Track Building on "We probably have as much tal-
Saturday, creating an atmosphere ent," LaPlante said. "We've just got
reminiscent of the scarlet-heavy Big a lot of young guys."
House on Nov. 21, 2009. But, even in Fortunately for Michigan, these
a hostile environment, there was a "young guys" showed promise.
general sense of calm among Wol- Especially freshman Denard Robin-
verines fans, players and coaches. son, also a football player, who was
Despite men's track and field's the only freshman to capture first
disappointing loss to Ohio State in place in an event. Robinson high-
"The Dual" this weekend show- lighted a potentially bright future in
cased the potential of many young Michigan track and field.
Wolverine athletes. Three freshmen football imports
Aside from such performances as - Robinson, Joe Reynolds and
junior Carl Buchanon's win in the Je'Ron Stokes - bring a certain
60-meter hurdles, the 24 freshmen buzz to the team that LaPlante uses
on Michigan's 52-man roster, easily to his advantage. As the 1500 fans in
the youngest team in the Big Ten, attendance could attest, Robinson's
had solid contributions from their victory by a tenth of a second over
young talent. And they competed Ohio State's Matthew Terrell in the

60-meter dash provided one
few sparks that roused the te
"The hard thing is that yot
coach experience," LaPlant
"But he's very exciting, and I
everybody here likes wa
A transition from a 2009
with twenty seniors to a 2011
with thirty underclassmen w
ate a challenge for the trackprc
In an effort to ease thet
tion, LaPlante brought in a,
familiar faces during the off
to work with his young guys,
assistant coaches Adam Harr
Nick Willis - both former B
champions - to the team's p
nel. LaPlante hopes that the
tion of the young coaches, n
of whom graduated more th
years ago, could relate their

of the rience to the young runners on the
am on track.
And as much as Robinson and the
u can't freshmen want to help the team win
e said. now, they understand that there is a
I think learning process involved.
tching "Today's performance doesn't
mean I'm not still learning from the
team other guys," Robinson said. "This is
0 team my first time running indoor, and
ill cre- I'm picking up a lot of stuff from
ogram. Adam (Harris) and Nick (Willis)."
transi- The young Wolverines have
couple nearly three months to prepare for
season their trip to Columbus for part two
adding of "The Dual," for which LaPlante
is and plans to bring a more battle-tested
ig Ten Michigan team.
erson- "There were a few events where
addi- they just overwhelmed us," said
neither LaPlante. "But it's not like this
an five doesn't happen. Our guys will
expe- rebound from this."

Sure, the CBS announcers
made fun of the rabid Mich-
igan students for rushing
the court after beating UConn on
Sunday. I say forget them.
Maybe I'm just saying that
because I was right out there on
the block 'M'
with the rest
of you. But
I'm not sure
that there has'
ever been a
win tbeewas
more deserv-
ing of that
epic celebra- ANDY
tion. REID
The overall
emotion out
there on the court wasn't so much
joy, though we were pretty happy
after such a dramatic and fun
It was relief.
Last week in this column, I
said this year has probably been
the worst, most disappointing
year in Michigan sports history.
I said that as a senior, it was a
shame to see all of Michigan's
biggest teams drastically fall
short of expectations.
But finally, the Wolverines
gave us something to cheer about.
And we took full advantage of it.
The game-day atmosphere
inside Crisler Arena on Saturday
just built and built until even the
old guys who usually sit with
their hands in their laps were
whooping and hollering - coach
John Beilein just better hope the
same crowd comes back next
week against Michigan State.
"The Maize Rage was awe-
some, even our other fans, every-
one was into it," Zack Novak told
reporters after the game.
The student section was better
than I've ever seen it. Finally, all
2,500 students who bought tick-
ets after last year's NCAA Tour-
nament run took the long walk

down to Crisler. There was even
a rowdy student contingent in the
upper bowl.
Students rushed the court,
other fans, too - even Brandon
Graham and quarterback recruit
Devin Gardner got into the mid-
court fun.
Until Saturday, there hadn't
been a marquee win in the big
three sports all season (I would
count Notre Dame, but that win
doesn't look very impressive at all
after the Irish tanked epically).
The fans were desperate for
something to be happy about.
That's why they rushed the
court, and that's why it's justified.
It was about more than bas-
ketball. More than Jim Calhoun,
Jerome Dyson and Stanley Rob-
inson. More than Beilein and
Manny and DeShawn.
Let's face it, this one win
doesn't mean the Wolverines
are in the Tournament, even if a
10-7 team inexplicably received
six votes in the newest Coaches'
Poll top 25. Heck, unless the
Wolverines can finish strong in
an increasingly difficult Big Ten
schedule, they might not even
have the .500 record required for
the NIT.
After the game, Manny said
this might be a turning point. It
was the kick-start that Michigan
needed to get into full gear (about
two months too late). But with
games against Purdue, Wisconsin
and Michigan State up next, a
late-season push doesn't exactly
seem likely.
But that doesn't matter right
For those brief minutes we got
to spend on the court after the
game, we all finally got to say
that collective "whew." One more
disappointment might have been
just a little too crippling.
- Reid can be reached at

T '7" 7 7 7 T1 T1 7

Kelly and Brunemann pace Blue in victory

Home win against
Northwestern is
Wolverines' first
Big Ten victory
Daily Sports Writer
Senior Margaret Kelly touched
the wall first in the 200-yard indi-
vidual medley, but she didn't have
much time to celebrate the vic-
Moments later, she stepped
onto the starting block to anchor
the 200-yard freestyle relay.
While the Wolverines maintained
a slight lead in the first half of the
race, Northwestern captured the
lead by 14 hundredths of a second
heading into the final leg when
Kelly took over for Michigan.
The senior finished the final
50 yards in a blistering 22.63 sec-
onds to give the Wolverines the
event victory. Kelly's final leg was
the fastest split among her team-
"It wasn't easy," Kelly said of
the final race. "I think it's easier to
go from a longer event to a shorter
one. So that kind of helped, and
I just took some deep breaths. I
knew I could do it."
The performance gave No. 16
Michigan its first Big Ten victory


Senior Margaret Kelly helped the Wolverines defeat the 23rd-ranked Wildcats with her relay anchor performance.


of the season over No. 23 North-
western, 157.5 to 142.5.
But the win took a little help
from the Wildcats.
In the first event of the after-
noon, Northwestern's 400-yard.
medley relay finished first, but
the Wildcats were disqualified for
jumping one of the exchanges.
The result could have swayed
the outcome in what turned out to
be a close meet between the two
ranked teams.
"We knew it would be close,"
Michigan coach Jim Richardson
said. "I'm sorry for Northwest-
ern that they jumped it because
it would have been a one-point
meet. I'm glad the meet didn't
come down to that relay making
a difference."
The Wolverines (1-1 Big Ten,
3-5 overall) were also propelled
to victory by fifth-year senior
distance specialist Emily Brun-

After suffering a rare loss in
one of her specialty events last
weekend, Brunemann returned
to form against Northwestern
(1-3, 4-3). She started the 500-
yard freestyle strong, cruising to
an easy victory. Brunemann also
captured an event victory in the
1000-yard freestyle. Brunemann
and senior Emily Hanson took the
top two spots in the event.
"I had a lot of motivation,"
Brunemann said. "I looked at the
score before I got. up for the 500
and at that point I don't know if it
was adjusted or not, but we were
101 and they had 105. I wasn't
okay with that and I wanted to do
something to make sure we pulled
back ahead."
For the first time this season,
Brunemann competed in the 200-
yard butterfly.
The event pinned arguably
Michigan's two best swimmers
against one another, Kelly and

Brunemann. Kelly took control
of the race early and never relin-
quished the lead, touching the
wall first. Surprisingly, Brun-
emann wasn't far behind, finish-
ing in second place in an event she
rarely swims.
The Wolverines won the final
three events to seal their first Big
Ten victory of the season. But the
win didn't come without some
adversity. Michigan sophomore
Caitlin Dauw sat out due to a back
injury and senior Emily Christy
struggled through a shoulder
injury. Junior Natasha Moodie
and freshman Julia Andracki also
battled through illness during the
"I think we needed it coming
off a couple losses," Brunemann
said. "I think it was something
that really motivated the team
and something that we needed as
a team to keep our eye on the main
prize at the end of the year."

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