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March 09, 2010 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-03-09

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8 - Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Harris falters at Michigan
State, Beilein says no CBI

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

ByNICOLE AUERBACH
Daily SportsEditor
EAST LANSING - At times, it
was hard to find him on the court.
Manny Harris, Michigan's star
guard and leading scorer, was a
non-factor in the
Wolverines' loss NOTEBOOK
to Michigan State
on Sunday.
Harris scored just four-points,-
which is not only a season low, but it
also tied a career low for the junior.
The last time Harris put up just four
points was against Wisconsin in the
second round of the Big Ten Tour-
nament, the last game of his fresh-
man season.
On Sunday, Harris shot 1-for-10,
without any excuses for the low
output - like foul trouble or not
playing many minutes (he played
33). He simply struggled to create
open shots, and each time he took
one, it looked forced.
Michigan coach John Beilein
said that Harris's low output could
be attributed in large part to the
Spartan defensive game plan.
"They play a great individual
defense," Beilein said. "They keyon
him ... and make it difficult for him
to get anywhere."
Beilein also talked about partic-
ular moments during recent games
when Harris wasn't making the
smartest plays. Many times, these
were the situations when the Wol-
verines needed their star to step up.
"There were some times they
go under a ball screen, he's got to
shoot the ball," Beilein said. "He
still has (trouble) recognizing that
sometimes, or when he gets into
the lane, he's got to get a little
15-foot jump shot where he rises up
and shoots.
"He doesn't do that enough. He's
still a guy that likes to take it to the
hole or dish. The in-between game
is something he's got to spend the
whole summer on."
BEILEIN TALKS TOURNEYS:
During Monday's Big Ten basket-
ball teleconference, Beilein was
asked about Michigan's postsea-

son outlook. It wasn't
about the NCAA
Tournament, a topic
that was brought up
often in the early part
of the season. Instead,
he spoke candidly of
the second-tier and
third-tier tourna-
ments, the National
Invitational Tourna-
ment (NIT)- and the-
College Basketball
Invitational (CBI),
respectively.
Beilein said Mon-
day that Michigan has
applied for the NIT,
though it doesn't seem
likely the team will
end up playing in the
tournament.
"I don't think we'll
be eligible; the Divi-
sion II game does not
count," he said, refer-
ring to Michigan's
season-opening win
over Northern Michi-
gan. "I think you
have to have a win-
ning record, and if I'm
doing the math cor-
rectly, I don't think we
can get there."
The Wolverines
would need to win the
Big Ten Tournament
to end the season with
a record above .500
- which would actu-
ally give them an auto-
matic bid to the NCAA

ICE HOCKEY
Walk-on scores
first career goal
By TIM ROHAN But Rohrkemper is a different
Daily Sports Writer style player from Sparks and one
that might fit exactly what Beren-
Jeff Rohrkemper cut his spring son is looking for on the fourth
break short last week, coming line. He's a defensive-minded for-
back to Ann Arbor early to work ward.
on his shot - and that extra work Rohrkemper has had to make
paid off this weekend. his impression in practice due to
With Michigan leading Lake a lack of playing time. And that's
Superior State 1-0 on Saturday, where he has made an impact
junior defenseman Chad Langlais with the coaches. The coaches
carried the puck into the Lakers' saw that Rohrkemper would be
zone with Rohrkemper skating good away from the puck in the
with him. When the puck was offensive zone to complement his
deflected away from Langlais by defensive play, so they decided to
a defenseman, Rohrkemper was give him a chance with playing
there to put the puck in the top time.
right corner of the net for his first "Those (fourth-line players)
career goal. work hard every week, and they
"Obviously you wish the first don't know if they're going to play
one comes a little bit earlier in the or not on the weekend," Beren-
season, but it was exciting to score son said. "Maybe they didn't play
a big goal in a big game for us," that poor but our team didn't play
Rohrkemper said. that well. So there's things they
The freshman walk-on has can't control. But the one thing
appeared in 13 games this season, they can control is their effort
including both games this past and their honest play when they
weekend. Rohrkemper did play play and sometimes it shows up
in four straight games in series in goals."
against Ohio State and Notre One thing that both Rohrkem-
Dame in early December, but he per and Pearson admitted the
hadn't recorded a point until Sat- freshman needed to work on was
urday. building strength.
Rohrkemper has seen his action With added strength in his
on the fourth line this season, and lower body and improved skat-
Michigan coach Red Berenson has ing, Rohrkemper would match up
made it clear what he wants out of better defensively with the physi- 9
his fourth line - to not be minus. cal offensive talent around the
"Not scoring," associate head CCHA.
coach Mel Pearson said. "He was Pearson also added that
brought here with the idea that he though Rohrkemper hadn't seen
would add some penalty killing, much time on the penalty kill
defensive specialist type of role so far, he will get playing time
on our team. And any scoring is on the unit in the future. That's 9
a bonus. ... Really, his role on our Rohrkemper's bread and butter -
team is to be a good solid defen- the goals are just gravy.
sive player, who you know if you "In fairness to Jeff, he hasn't
get the chance, chip one in, but played a lot, and even in the
make sure you kill penalties and games he played, he hasn't played
be a plus player." a lot," Berenson said. "And I don't
The Grosse Pointe native has base his game on whether or not
been smack dab in the middle of he scores. He's an honest two-
a rotating fourth line all season. way player and he showed that
But after winter break, fellow given a chance, with a loose puck,
freshman forward Lindsay Sparks he can score as well as anyone
started scoring and has only else. Good for him and good for
missed two series since then. our team."

ARIEL BOND/Daily
Junior MannyHarris, pictured here, stored a season low aud lied a caree' law with ust four points
against the Spartans at Sunday. Harris shot 1-tar-10 tram She floar in Michigan's 64-48 lass.

Tournament.
In the past, the NIT only invited
teams that finished at least .500 in
the regular season, but it abolished
that rule in 2006. Since then, how-
ever, no team with a record under
.500 has played in the NIT.
The next step down the ladder,
the CBI, is a 16-team tournament
that is hosted at on-campus sites.
In order to play, teams must pay a
fee. Last year, Oregon State won
the tournament, beating UTEP in a
best-of-three final.

"We do not have an interest
in the CBI this particular year,"
Beilein said.
INJURY UPDATE: Michigan fans
already looking toward the promise
of the future might be a bit alarmed
after Sunday's game. Redshirt
freshman forward Jordan Morgan,
who is listed at 6-foot-8, wore a sling
on his left arm.
"He hurt his shoulder fairly sig-
nificantly in practice (Friday),"
Beilein said after Sunday's game.
"I don't know what the plan is, but

there's a very good chance of an
operation."
And 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman
forward Blake McLimans wore a
boot on his left foot on Sunday.
"Blake McLimans sprained his
ankle badly in practice (Saturday),"
Beilein said. "I don't think he'll be
available this week as well."
BIG TEN AWARDS: Senior for-
ward DeShawn Sims was named to
the all-Big Ten second team, and
Harris was named to the all-Big Ten
third team Monday night.

Knutson ready to meet high expectations

By STEPHEN NESBITT with my routine."
Daily Sports Writer

Expectations have always been
high for senior captain Kelsey Knut-
son - she was raised that way - but
after being hampered with injuries
in her first three years at Michigan,
each performance after has been a
blessing.
Right now, the three-time Iowa
high school "Gymnast of the Year"
is healthy - and taking advantage.
Against No.5 Utah on Feb. 19, she
posted a season-high score of 9.875
on the beam to win her fourth title
of the season, leading then-No. 16
Michigan to an upset victory.
"She has been a rock for us on
beam all year long," Michigan
coach Bev Plocki said after the win.
"The ironic thing is that she had
struggled on the beam all during
the fall, and she really kind of put
it together right before the season."
Knutson recalled the difficul-
ties and the improvement that fol-
lowed.
"Bev even joked to me, asking
if I knew that I was ranked eighth
in the country (on beam)," Knut-
son said. "She asked, 'Would you
have thought you would have been
ranked that high in November?' I
just laughed. I was still struggling
in the fall, trying to get consistent

GOING BLUE
It all started with alittle girl, a leo-
tard and a passion for gymnastics.
Hailing from Ames, Iowa, home
of Iowa State University, Knut-
son grew up watching gymnastics
nearby, and her journey began very
early in life.
At the age of six, she started
attending the Cardinal Gymnastics
Academy, and she was hooked.
"In a very short time, we start-
ed going there five days a week,
an hour-and-a-half, one way," her
father, Dan, said. "So I drove two
days and Carol (her mother) drove
three."
From that experience, Knutson
came into contact with the current
coachesof No.1Oklahoma andIowa
State. Becauseofthose connections,
choosing to attend the University of
Michigan was difficult.
But after visiting Ann Arbor,
Knutson was ready to make a deci-
sion to become a Wolverine, and she
hasn't regretted it since.
"I think my parents were a little
bit surprised when I chose Michi-
gan, because it was a little out of my
comfort zone," Knutson said.
SLIPS AND FALLS
As soon as Kelsey joined the

team, she was placed on the beam
lineup with high hopes of improv-
ing the team's overall consistency,
but immediately, injuries began to
wear on her body.
She came to Ann Arbor with
ailing knees, but her grim out-
look worsened once a wrist injury
required minor surgery, and back
problems plagued her as well.
But in her first performance
as a freshman, a day before her
19th birthday, Kelsey's hit a team-
high 9.875 routine on the beam to
take third out of 30 gymnasts, an
impressive debut.
At the end of the 2007 season,
Knutson needed reconstructive
surgery on one knee, and after a
successful sophomore campaign -
being named to the All-Big Ten sec-
ond team - she tore her ACL and
MCL inwarm-ups forregionals and
had to undergo more surgery.
Having already undergone five
gymnastic-related operations,
nothing was certain, and doubts
weighed heavy on her mind.
After several months of contem-
plation, Kelsey was determined to
get back on the beam.
"I have such a strong passion for
the sport of gymnastics," Knutson
said, "And being a college gymnast
was something I had aspired to be
all my life. I didn't want to end my

career without trying everything I
could to end it on the right note."
During her junior year, Kelsey
only performed a few times, and she
had to adjust and relearn her rou-
tine to adapt to her injury-riddled
body.
"Gymnasts are kind of a weird
breed," her father said. "They are
going to have to train and rehab
anyway ... if they feel strong enough
they're going to try to keep per-
forming. As a parent, you just don't
want them to get hurt, especially if
they're already hurt."
But this year, in her second year
as a team captain, Knutson has
shrugged off injuries to become the
most consistent Wolverine on the
balance beam.
SUPPORT ON THE ROAD
Since their daughter came to
Ann Arbor, Kelsey's parents have
been fixtures in the Crisler Arena
seats.
Sitting just below the press table
on the west side of the floor, Dan
is the first to explode from his seat
after a performance to applaud the
Wolverine gymnasts, and the one
who ribs the judges the loudest for
inconsistent scoring.
. "We've probably missed as many
meets as are on one hand in her four
years," said Carol, her mother.

0

SAMANTHA TRAUBEN/Daily
Senior Kelsey Knutson, pictured here, was forced to overcome injuries throughout
her career as a Wolverine, but support from her family has helped her overcome.

Kelsey admits that when she
committed to Michigan she was
worried that her parents would be
unable to attend her meets.
"But my big brother reassured
me that if I went to Michigan they
would be at every meet, not just the
home ones," Knutson said. "And they
have been driving across the country
to see me and support the team, from
Georgia, to Penn State, and Oregon
and everywhere in between."
They haven't missed a thing,
from her first performance to her
career-high 9.925 performance to
upset No.1 Georgia during her soph-

omore year.
Just before the Wolverines' last
match, Carol was busy laying out
a map plotting a trip to Penn State
for yet another match - this time, it
was a 14-hour drive.
"There don't seem to be any
flights into State College from
Iowa," Dan said with a laugh. "So,
it looks like we'll be taking another
road-trip."
Needless to say, when Michigan
scheduled a meet at Iowa State ear-
lier this year it was a sigh of relief,
as was Kelsey's beam title that same
night.

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Wednesday, March 10th
6 :30 p.m.
International Center, Room 9
800.424.8580 lwww.peacecorps.gov
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