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April 13, 2012 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-04-13

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10 - Friday, April 13, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

_ ., ,.

From Page 9

ness beyond belief."

pressed into the mat, and he heard The temperature was below
a dishearteningsound. zero degrees in the middle of win-
Snap. ter, and Justin was saturated in
"It was the first time I'd seen sweat. He was tireless - always
him take an injury timeout in the first one to soak through his
three years," Craig said. shirt and the last one to leave prac-
Justin trudged off the mat, his tice.
hand completely numb. Everyone The year had passed, and Jus-
thought his year was over - they tin's bones were mended. He was
were certain the match would end as healthy as ever and wrestling in
in a medical default. his last dual meet asa Panther.
But less than a minute later, Hesperia was fighting for a spot
with his stoic face disguising the in the team state finals against
pain he was inevitably feeling, long-time rival, Addison High
Justin returned to the center of School. They were locked in a tie
the mat, wrestled through the and knew whichever team moved
agony and won the match. forward would go on to win the
On the drive home, his wrist championship.
swelled up and doubled in size. Baird couldn't have asked Jus-
But Justin had a date, so his wrist tin to do any more than he already
had to wait a few hours longer. had - he pinned his opponent.
Hesperia's Snow Coming dance And just seconds later, he came off
was that night, and Justin couldn't the mat to strategize for the team's
even button the cuffs to his shirt. last match, the deciding factor of
Even though he was just a the meet.
bystander, Craigfelthis son's emo- It came down to a fifth-criteria
tional pain. tiebreaker decision and there was
"It was one of the worst nights nothing Justin could do to pre-
of my life," Craig said. vent the loss. He was heartbroken,
But the night turned out more but he held his composure like he
than okay for Justin - the girl always had before.
that was standing at his side will So when the local newspaper
eventually become his wife, Jena approached Baird for an inter-
Miller. view, he pointed in Justin's direc-
When he came home at the end tion instead because he was "the
of the evening, his hand was col- face of the program."
ored black and blue - Craig knew Baird gets choked up remem-
this was no ordinary sprain. bering.
The doctor delivered the news "It was probably one of his
that Justin already feared in the hardest moments," Baird said. "I
back of his mind. His wrist was thought he handled that with such
broken in two places, and that class and dignity, and it really
meant no wrestling. taught me a lot about the charac-
Justin wouldn't take no for an ter he has."
answer. But Justin's Hesperia history
The doctor compromised. "If didn't end on a low note. Though
there's no swelling, you can wres- the team's journey fell short of a
tle." happy ending, he had the opportu-
That was good enough. It gave nity to soak in one more moment
him three weeks to change his of glory - one more title.
style and prepare for the four most And when he succeeded in his
important meets of the season. final high-school match, no one
But he had to follow the doctor's felt a greater sense of pride than
orders, which turned into a pre- Baird.
scription for ice buckets. Justin became a four-time
4:00 a.m. - the alarm rang. Michigan state champion and fin-
During those moments, he ished his high school career with
just kept thinking about the state a perfect 260-0 record. Between
championships around the corner. 2003-07, he claimed the most
4:05 a.m. - Justin filled a buck- career wins and pins (203) in state
et with ice.history.
"Iw wa ti gYared forahim e shI e verybody that
Coilin said But hehas a real hgh. there's no magic recipe," Brandon
pain tolerance and persevered said. "There's no magic dust that
through it." you sprinkle on your cereal. It's all
4:10 a.m. - Justin plunged his hard work and no shortcuts."
hand into the frigid water. On the night Justin achieved
Though he remained collected the quadruple feat, he climbed
and calm in the public eye, the to the top of the podium in the
physical and emotional stress took Palace of Auburn Hills with a
its toll. medal draped around his neck.
4:15 a.m. - Justin's hand was The 20,000 people in attendance
almost numb. gave a standing ovation as his aca-
Competitors would torque on demic and athletic accolades were
his wrist, but Justin wouldn't acknowledged.
whimper. And as fate would have Yet Justin only cracked a hum-
it, Justin defeated Russell twice ble smile.
more in the regional and state "That's what legends are made
meets en route to the 152-pound of," Baird said. "Up here in Hespe-
state crown. ria, he is certainly one of our local
"He was able to show every- legends."
body what we already knew,"
Baird said. "He had mental tough- ***

There's a joke floating around
the Stephen Ross Academic
Center these days. Some of the
counselors frequently suggest to
Michigan coach Joe McFarland
that the Zeerips are a superhuman
"They have seen what kind
of guys they are, how respect-
ful they are, how polite they are,
that they're very successful on the
wrestling mat and in the class-
room," McFarland said. "They're
not sure what the parents are
doing, but they want to send their
own kids up there for a summer."
Justin was never too far out-
side his comfort zone at Michigan.
While he redshirted his freshman
year, he grew acclimated to the
University's academic rigors, later
becoming a two-time Academic
All-American and four-time Aca-
demic All-Big Ten.
But the elite level of Division-I
wrestling brought more of a learn-
ing curve.
"I think he struggled early-on
with the pressures," McFarland
said. "He dealt with it by closing
down a little bit. He didn't open
his wrestling up - wrestling very


SeniorJustin Zeerip became the 35th Michigan wrestler to reach the 100-win plateau earlier this season.

tight - but we g
to get him awa
got more confi
The range o
could no longer
ning record. So
work harder.
"He really b
like he always
"He rolled up h
'It's time to go t
Justin went
Wrestling Cent
goal and a plan.
He was focus
During his fr
tin fulfilledn
with his 23-6re
But everythi
falling into plac
Though Just
most consistent
tiers on the te
- never sank,
wrestled in fot
Big Ten Champ
But Justin di
become a chan
that when he r
have the know
ences to bette
place where his
All of the en
unfolded on F
penultimate du
career - and th
in Buckeye terri
Then ranke
ally, Justin sq
No. 7 Nick Hef
mild upset. Aft
the extended
remained locke
out a single tak(
In the secon
tin started in t
immediately e
flurry and ear

;radually were able reversal. Ohio State appealed With Brandon and Collin by
ty from that as he the official's call and Justin was his side for moral support, Justin
dence. But it was robbed. drove to Briarwood Mall. This
"It was like a bad dream," was the next step.
f competition was McFarland said. "You look in the After browsing through a few
and he knew he officials' eyes and you could tell stores without any luck, the three
post a perfectwin- that neither one of them could of them walked into Rogers and
Justin just had to recall whathad just happened." Hollands Jewelers. ,
In the final 30-second period, After picking out the ringwith
uckled down, just Heflin answered with an escape his brothers, it was no secret
had," Craig said. of his own to bring the score back when Justin would propose. On a
is sleeves and said into a 3-3 knot, where he won on warm July afternoon, he escorted
o work."' ridingtime. Jena to the farm market's peren-
into the Bahna "That was the toughest match nial gardens - the flowers blos-
er every day with a I've ever been in," Justin said. somed above a wooden trellis as
"The ref made a mental mistake he got down on one knee.
ted. He was ready. - I don't know what happened. I That night, the newly engaged
reshman year, Jus- knew I should've had five points." couple went out for Chinese. The
nost expectations Michigan was outraged. Justin coincidence in the fortune cookie
cord. was worn down. But he held his was almost too perfect - "Music,
ng didn't continue composure. flowers, invitations and gifts are
e. "He just stayed very classy," in your near future."
in was one of the Craig said. "Most people would've Craig and Susan have stood
and reliable wres- erupted, but win or lose, he always back and watched the relation-
am, he plateaued tries to show sportsmanship." ship progress over the years since
never peaked. He A few weeks later, during the their first Scrabble games in high
ur straight NCAA NCAA Championships, Justin school. She seemed to fit right in
and placed in four finished out his wrestling career with the level of healthy competi-
4onships. with his 100th win, just the 35th tion in the Zeerip household.
dn't leave home to Wolverine to do so. After Justin and Jena shared
npion - he left so In his last handful of matches, the co-valedictorian honor at
eturned, he would each victory and defeat had a graduation, they realized just
ledge and experi- magnified role. So the last time how compatible they were.
r understand the -he dressed in the maize and blue.hough Jena went Central.
roots run deep. singlet, Justin found that one final Michigan and Justin was com-
win - the one that mattered, the mitted to Michigan, they made it
*** one that left a mark on the Michi- last.
gan legacy. "It made them appreciate the .
adless competition When Justin returned to Ann time they had when they were
eb. 3, 2012 - the Arbor, the quote plastered to the together," Susan said.
al meet of Justin's wall of Bahna stuck out as if it was With wedding plans in the
e Wolverines were written just for him. works, Justin will have to con-
tory. "It came from your father, a front the near-impossible matter
d No. 8 nation- worthy name to bear," the quote of who will be the best man -
uared off against read. "When he took it from his Brandon or Collin?
flin in search of a father, there was no dishonor Regardless, on the day of the
er 10 minutes into there. On the day he gave it to you, wedding, both brothers will stand
match, the score it was all he had to give. So be sure by Justin's side and share that
d in a 2-2 tie with- to guard it wisely for as long as moment with him.
edown from either you shall live."

escape and search for adventure.
He packed his backpack full of
the toys necessary for survival
and embarked on this short-lived
Justin marched down the
driveway and stopped where his
tiny feet met the edge of road.
He could almost taste the free-
dom. Just one more step and he
would be on his way to see the
But he couldn't go through
with it - something he couldn't
define was pulling him back. So
he turned around and headed
It was that moment that Craig
and Susan knew no matter how
far Justin may stray, he would
always find his way back again.
After five years in Ann Arbor,
Justin has realized where he
Now that his wrestling career
has come to its end, he is prepar-
ing for the future that will lead
him in that very direction.
His family, the farmhouse,
Baird and all of Hesperia wel-
comes him home because to
them, it's like he never left.
Just like his father, Justin's
life will.complete the fil'Fchele
with his venture back to Freiont.
After coming so far, he feels ready
to return to the place where he
first discovered life's lessons.
"I always felt that he'd go back
home," McFarland said. "He's
definitely leaving a man, and
someday he'll bring his kids down
to watch wrestling matches at
In these last few chapters, Jus-
tin wrote the story of a boy who
learned the meanings of compe-
tition, brotherhood, love, defeat
and victory.
And as his story continues to
unfold, Justin will continue being
the man that everyone knew he
would be - the little boy who
never really left the end of the



d tiebreaker, Jus-
he down position,
scaped out of a
ned a two-point

Justin and Jena had been
together for four long years.

Justin Zeerip was 7 years old.
On one particular afternoon,
the small boy felt the need to

Rose lashes out about banners

Ex-Fab Five
member opposes 'U'
President Coleman's
banner decision
Daily Sports Editor
During her fireside chat with
students on Tuesday, Univer-
sity President Mary Sue Coleman
declared that she does not want to
re-raise the four Michigan men's
basketball team banners that were
removed in 2002.
"From my point of view, tak-
ing the banners down was the
right thing to do because it was a
very difficult time for the univer-
sity and we were ashamed of what
happened because the university
has higher standards than that.
We're the University of Michigan
- that shouldn't happen," Cole-
man said.
When the news hit the public
after the Michigan Daily exclusive
was released Thursday, ex-Fab
Five member Jalen Rose lashed
"I saw that U of Michigan has
no plans to put back up our hoops
banners," Rose tweeted early
Thursday afternoon. "Should I do
like most of its former BBallers &
never return?"
He followed with another post


Ex-Fab Five memberJalen Rose has been an outspoken advocate of re-raising the four removed banners in

a few minutes later.
"Or should I ask for the $250k
I donated for my Endowed Schol-
arship back & move it to another
school? Stay tuned."
The four banners, which were
removed from the Crisler Arena
rafters in the wake of the Ed Mar-
tin scandal and have been stored
at Bentley Historical Library for
the past decade, memorialize the
1992 and 1993 Final Four appear-
ances, the 1997 NIT championship
and the 1998 Big Ten Tournament
championship. Rose, now an NBA

analyst for ESPN, was a member of
the 1992 and 1993 Final Four runs.
In her fireside chat, Coleman
said that the banners represented
a shameful era in the University's
and basketball program's history.
"What happened was not good,
and I don't think they'll ever go
back up. I don't," Coleman said.
"Some day, I won't be president
anymore, and maybe someone else
will have a different view. But I
think you have to reflect on the
larger meaning and that we want
to hold ourselves to a higher stan-

As part of the NCAA-imposed
sanctions in the wake of the Mar-
tin case, Michigan has had to dis-
sociate itself with four players
- Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor,
Robert "Tractor" Traylor and
Louis Bullock - for 10 years.
That 10-year separation ends in
Rose finished his Twitter com-
mentary with a single quote from
Frangois de La Rochefoucauld:
"We all have the strength to
endure the misfortunes of others."

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