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February 02, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-02-02

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The Michigan Daily - mich'rgandailY.com

T Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 7A

Glendening leads by example

By LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan hockey coach Red
Berenson doesn't keep official
tabs on who wins the shuttle runs
during practice. But if he did,
senior captain Luke Glendening
would have his name showing up
on yet another stats sheet.
Each week, the Wolverines
line up at one end of the rink and
sprint as fast as they can down
the ice and back with their line-
mates. It's standard for any sport,
especially one like hockey - the
players' ability to consistently win
footraces night in and night out
can make or break a game.
Lucky for Michigan, it has
Glendening.
"I don't know if he was as fast
when he got here, but he really
worked hard as a freshman,"
Berenson said. "He's got a com-
pete level that is off-the-charts,
that is showing up on the ice and
in his skating."
Some of Glendening's speed
just comes naturally. Junior for-
ward A.J. Treais jokingly referred
to his linemate as "freak," citing
superior genetics as a reason why
Glendening is so quick on the ice.
But in reality, it has to do more
with nurture than nature. Beren-
son and Treais are in agree-
ment that no Wolverine is as
disciplined in the weight room
as Glendening. Throughout his
time at Michigan, Glendening
has added muscle to his 5-foot-
11 frame without bulking up too
much.
In past seasons, it was easy
for Glendening's quickness to be
overshadowed by that of former
Wolverine Carl Hagelin. Hage-
lin, who recently won the title of
fastestskater at the NHL All-Star
Game, was known throughout
his Michigan career as a speed-
ster who never lost a race.
But after Hagelin's gradua-
tion last year, it was Glendening's
turn to come up and claim the top
spot.
It's easy to see Glendening's
speed and strength manifest

Michigan tries to
shake the slump

ERIN KIRKLAND/Daily
Senior forward Luke Glendening is a two-year captain for Michigan coach Red Berenson's hockey team.

By MATT SPELICH
Daily Sports Writer
There comes a point in every
season when a team must lay
everything on the line. For the
Michigan women's basketball
team, that moment will be this
Thursday,
when the Wol- NWestem
verines square
off against at Michigan
Northwestern. Matchup: NU
The oppo- 13-9; Michi-
nent has very gan16-6
littlebearingon When: Thurn-
the significance day 6:30 P.M.
of this game -
there are larger Where: Crisier
forces at work.
More impor- TV/Radio:
tant is that this BTN
will be Michi-
gan's first time battling back from
two consecutive losses.
The Wolverines, known for
their resilience and slump-resis-
tance, were served a pair of losses
this past week courtesy of No. 18
Penn State and unranked Wis-
consin.
While some are calling this a
sink-or-swim game for the Wol-
verines, the players remain hope-
ful and determined to stop the
slide.
"It's extra motivating for us
to win coming off of two losses,"
said senior guard Carmen Reyn-
olds. "We tend to bounce back
quick, and so we really need to get
it done tomorrow on the court."
Though the Wolverines aren't
overly concerned with records,
Michigan coach Kevin Borseth
understands that winning Thurs-
day's game is essential for keep-
ing his team's postseason hopes
alive. A loss here could really
damage its chances as time runs
out on this waning season.
"We are looking to get back on
track and get to the NCAA Tour-
nament," Borseth said. "Being

successful in games is what we're
all looking to do, obviously. Our
wins and losses are behind us
now though, and right now all we
can do is do whatever it takes to
get back on the winning track."
The Wildcats are 3-6 in Big
Ten play, but the last time they
played the Wolverines, Michigan
squeaked by with a 58-48 win
after a long defensive battle on
both sides of the court. Though
the Wolverines' defense has seen
major improvements as the sea-
son has progressed, Michigan
has struggled to put points on
the board in its last few games. A
strong defensive team like North-
western may prove the Wolver-
ines' undoing.
"We just got to, put the darn
basketball in the hoop," Reyn-
olds said. "We always rely on our
defense. Ard although defense
wins games, we have to find ways
to translate into offense, to get
some shots in rhythm and to not
force anything."
The other foreseeable prob-
lem for Michigan will be deal-
ing with the 6-foot-5 Dannielle
Diamant, who has shown her-
self to be a handful on both sides
of the court. It's assumed that
junior center Rachel Sheffer will
be matched up on Diamant in
the game on Thursday. It will be
interesting to see how Sheffer,
the Wolverines' leading scorer
over the last two weeks, will han-
die the pressure from a larger and
equally high-scoring post player.
"Diamant's size is definitely
going to be a factor," Borseth
said. "I mean any time you have
a 6-foot-5 kid and you put her in
the right spot at the right time,
there's not a whole lot you can
do. She's very talented. We got
to make sure we're aware of her,
that we know where she is every
possession and that we stop her
because the ball's going to be
going to her alot this next game."

itself during games, and he often
takes on the role of workhorse to
create opportunities for his line-
mates.
"(Skating with Glendening)
helps a lot," Treais said. "He just

But what impr(
about Glendenin
go and consisten
high level.
Much of that
training under B

opens up space
for us, and it
makes him
easy to play
with because
he's so fast and
strong."
Any time
Glendening
is on the ice,
you'll see him
go all out. And
as the team

"It makes him
easy to play
with ... he's so
fast and strong."

esses him most he thinks speaks louder than
g is his ability to anything Glendening does on the
tly compete at a rink.
The Michigan coaches didn't
is thanks to his know that much about Glenden-
erenson. ing whenthey recruited him - not
"A lot of his speed, strength or offensive
players can go production, which are all things
hard, but they that drive the Wolverines.
can't recov- All the coaches had to rely on
er," Berenson was a letter of recommendation
said. "Luke from Glendening's coach that
can do it, and spoke more about Glendening's
then he'll do it character than his hockey abili-
again." ties. And that was the most impor-
Treais tant thing Michigan wanted to
believes that consider.
Glendening "Luke Glendening is a fitting
has set the bar captain for this team, not just
es this season - his speed, but the way he works
's pretty high. everyday," Berenson said. "The
it's only natural way he competes, he sets a good
.trive to play like example off the ice. He's a great
there's also an role model for a Michigan stu-
t to it all, which dent-athlete."

sometimes struggles to win
battles for the puck, Glendening
serves as an example of what a
hard-working shift looks like.
Obviously, Berenson likes to
see all his players put in effort.

for the Wolverin
and right now, it'
For Berenson,
that his players s
Glendening. But
off-the-ice aspec

Conlon lifts vault to new heights

By BEN SEIDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Late one night, sophomore
Victoria Wesley received a text
message from Shean Conlon
asking her to open her e-mail.
Wesley found an in-depth e-mail
about how he could improve her
performance, and Wesley could
tell how much time he put into
it. A husband, coach and former
athlete, Conlon is a mad scientist
at heart.
Unpaid volunteer assistant
coach Shean Conlon has trans-
formed the Michigan men's and
women's pole vaulting program
through innovative techniques
and a contagious passion for the
art of the pole vault.
Originally from Colorado,
Conlon has two major interests
- archaeology and pole vaulting.
At Oberlin he earned a degree in
archaeology, and then a master's
degree in exercise physiology
at Eastern Michigan University
some years later. Through his
connections at Eastern Michi-
gan, he met Michigan men's
track coach Fred LaPlante.
His love for pole vaulting runs
deep. He tried to articulate why
exactly he cannot get away from
the sport.
"The actual physical experi-
ence of it is like a roller coaster
ride," Conlon said. "There's
nothing like the feeling of jump-
ing into a fifteen foot fiberglass
pole and feeling it bend on the
energy you created - it's kinda
weird - but by far the greatest
feeling is once you get upside
down and the pole thrusts you
into the air.
"The greatest part for me
is the instant when you peak
and gravity has not taken over
yet and you stall out above the
bar and in that instant you are

weightless."
A man who has done archaeo-
logical digs all around the world
is now in charge of both the
men's and women's pole vault-
ing, a role that no coach at Mich-
igan has filled in a long time.
One of the most impactful
things Conlon brings to Michi-
gan is his fervent passion and
his constant desire to be better.
A true competitor as an athlete,
Conlon tries to bring that same
intensity to his coaching profes-
sion.
"I want to be the best coach I
can be, and I want to help them
in every way I can," Conlon said.
"It's almost like an obsession."
Conlon has the pole vault con-
stantly on his mind. When he is
done with practice, he goes home
and does more work, whether it
is watching film or learning new
scientific approaches.
Training smartly is key for
Conlon. His master's degree has
aided him in applying the physi-
ology to the techniques he uses
in practice. His recent study of
biomechanics and physics has
helped him to understand which
methods can help vaulters most.
One of the coaching methods
he uses is periodization, a help-
ful technique to set time incre-
ments between activities in
order to increase productivity.
Conlon bases the training on
the individual and how long it
takes that person to learn a new
technique before moving on.
"I just spend all my time on
the vault," Conlon said. "I go to
different coaching clinics, I've
gotten different certifications, I
just get information from any-
where and everywhere I pos-
sibly can. Every year I try new
things."
Conlon's perfectionism has
rubbed off on the athletes he

coaches. After every vault, he
tells them exactly what went
wrong - even if it was a good
vault - and how they can
improve on it for the next vault.
"Once they saw that my pas-
sion matched their own, it's been
great," Conlon said. "There are
always ups and downs, but I feel
like they trust me and I trust
them, and it works out."
Though working with two
teams might seem burdensome,
Conlon embraces the challenge.
"I am the first coach in a
long time to work with both
the men and the women so I am
in a unique situation," Conlon
said. "I have to let two different
groups of people know what's
going on with the athletes and
have to figure out who I'm going
to travel with on each weekend."
Conlon has a way of bring-
ing out the best in the athletes
he coaches, helping them reach
their potential.
"He sets your goals so high
and you don't realize," sopho-
more Kiley Tobel said. "Goals
at the beginning of the season
made me think he was crazy, but
he makes you realize how attain-
able they, are makes you realize
what you are capable of."
Conlon also tries to make
vaulting larger than life for the
athletes to instill confidence and
passion amongst them.
When Conlon came to Michi-
gan, Tobel remembers her
outlook on the sport changed
because she knew he would
make her the best vaulter she
could be.
"It's not just something I do
anymore it's really a part of my
life," Tobel said.
"It gets scary, but if you don't
trust yourself, you're going to
fail that every time," Wesley
added. "You have to have full

confidence or else its notgoingto
work. Shean has taught me that."
Conlon only wants the best
for all of his athletes, as he sets
every type of goal one can imag-
ine. His goals are often lofty, but
in his mind, anything is possible.
He walks around with a sheet
of paper, where he writes down
all of the meets for the year
with the long-term goals. When
Tobel took a peek at what it said
under "outdoor," she saw "Olym-
pic trials." Tobel just thought
to herself, "Oh my God, this is
ridiculous."
Maybe Conlon is a great coach
because he doesn't play favor-
ites and gives everyone the same
amount of attention. Maybe it;s
because he barely sleeps. Maybe
it's because he is young and can
relate to the athletes easily.
Either way, the Michigan
track and field teams have a gem
at the pole-vaulting coaching
spot who is helping young men
and women reach new heights
through his love of the sport,
fiery enthusiasm and unique
work ethic.
Conlon believes that he will
be at Michigan for the next cou-
ple of years, but even Tobel and
Wesley admit that he will soon
be recruited by some of the best
track and field programs in the
country.
"I could see myself coaching
for the rest of my life, but that's
such an absurd thought," Conlon
said. "If I get to the point where
I am satisfied with everything
that I have done, I could see
myself moving on because there
is no longer that fire to get better
and better.
"So far, I really want to get
better and all my athletes to get
better. After that, I could see
myself getting back into archae-
ology or teaching."

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