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June 10, 1992 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1992-06-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Wednesday, June 10, 1992 -The Michigan Daily Summer Weeky -11
___________ Q: Who are the only two pitchers ever to lead their respective leagues in
SPORTS IEarned Run Average in their final season in the majors?
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'M' cheerleaders to try for national title
Solid work ethic, acrobatics leads young squad to championships

by Greg Richardson
Daily Sports Writer
One of the best teams at Michigan
does not use a ball, astick, or aracketin
any of the games it is involved in. It
participates ateachofMichigan'shome
football and basketball games, but does
not receive any credit for Wolverine
victories. When performing at Michi-
gan games its main goal is not to win a
competition, but to motivate the crowd
as much as possible. The team I am
referring to is, of course, the Michigan
cheerleading team.
The Wolverine cheerleaders are a
group of athletes that can performacro-
batic tumbling and extraordinary stunts
which have made them one of the best
teams in the nation. In the middle of
August, the Michigan cheerleaders will
travel to Boston, where they will at-
tempt to qualify for nationals. This task
should not be a problem, because the
Wolverines have qualified for nation-
als the last two years.
Michigan's cheerleading team is
fairly young, and they have many im-
portant members returning. Josh

Newman, theteamcaptain, is confident
that Michigan can place in the top 10 at
nationals, which will take place Janu-
ary 2 in Dallas.
"There's nothing the other teams
have done that we can't do," Newman
said.
Newman is not joking. I saw first
hand what these young men and women
do in practice, when this certain writer
was involved in some of the try-out
sessions. I learned that training to be a
cheerleader at Michigan is intense and
difficult. Also, the training does not
stop once one is on the team. Coach
Annette Schmidt is fully aware of the
rigors that are a part of cheerleading.
"I've had divers who have said
cheerleading is similar to their sport, in
terms of how to fall and other things,"
Schmidt said. "I once had a football
player who said he experienced more
hitting as a cheerleader than on the
football field."
Schmidt added that when you ana-
lyze cheerleading, you find it has much
in common with gymnastics. This may
scare some people from trying out. It

Michigan cheerleaders form one of the letters to spell "Michigan" at a football game last sei
squad will compete for the national cheerleading title in August.

didnot bother me, becauselIlooked at it
as a potentially fun experience, and it
was.
One does not have to have gymnas-
tic training to become a Wolverine
cheerleader. It helps, but it is not criti-
cal. Schmidt revealed that in her five
years of coaching at Michigan her men
usually have not had any kind of a
gymnastic backgroundatall.Onemight
think that all of the current women have
had tumbling experience, but there are
two varsity women who have not.

i
i
{

Lone blue runner makes NCAA final

s ', s -

by Wendy Law
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's and women's track teams sent five
Wolverines to Austin, TX last Tuesday to compete in the
NCAA Track andField Championships. The tournamentwas
held Wednesday through Saturday.
Amy BahnisterandKristineWesterby competed Wednes-
day in the semi-finals for the800-meter event.Bannister took
fifth place in the heat, running a time of 2:06.21. She ad-
vanced to the finals held on Friday, achieving eighth-place
overall with a time of 2:06.24. Bannister also earned a 1992
All-American title for her placementin the finals. She was the
only Wolverine to advance to the finals for both teams.{
Westerby ran a time of 2:08.79 in the semi-finals.
Brad Darr and Stan Johanning also competed Wednesday
inthesemi-finalsoftheirevents.Darrjumpedinthepole vault
event, attaining aheightof 17 3/4. He needed to clear 18-4in
order to qualify for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in
Barcelona.Darr will have another chance to make the team at
the Last Chance Qualifiers meet held later in the summer.
Johanning competed in the javelin event, throwing adistance
of 202-4.
Courtney Babcock was the last Wolverine to compete in
the semi-finals. She ran Thursday in the 5000-meter event,
achieving a time of 17:13.08.
The men's team earned zero points in the tournament
since no one advanced to the finals. The women's squad
earned one point in the NCAAs with Bannister's perfor-
mance in the finals.
Overall, Arkansas took the championship for the men's
division. LSU took the women's championship, earning its
sixth straight title. LSU also earned the Indoor track and
Cross-country titles this year, qualifying it for a 1991-92
Triple Crown title. The school earnedits last Triple Crown in
1985. LSU is only the second school to eam two Triple
Crowns.

It is possible to make the
cheerleading squad without gymnastic
experience; it is relatively easier for
men, since fewer men than women try
out.
A more important aspect of
cheerleading than gymnastic ability is
intense practice. Of course there is also
a substantial amount of practice in-
volved with doing stunts as well.
At the first session all the beginners
worked on what are called preps and
chairs. A prep is the starting point for all
the stunts. It is the key for all of the
male-female stunts that are renowned
in cheerleading. The idea is that the
man stands in a crouch behnd the
woman while placing his hands firmly,
but not too firmly, on her hips. The
woman crouches down, while the man
simultaneously goes with her. As she
rises, the man, primarily using his legs
for power, thrusts her up in the air. It
requires a reasonable amount of prac-
tice to perfect, but it is fun.
Michigan cheerleaders make this
andothermoredifficultmaneuverslook
easy. But, then again, that's their goal.
Schmidt said there are no stars on
the team. She said this is essential for
the squadtoperformatitsbest,because
each member needs every other mem-
ber to do well.
Newman confirmed his coach's
stance on the role of his teammates.
"Each member has an equal role,"
Newman said. "Whoever does the best,
everybody should be doing that well."
Individual cheerleaders at Michi-
gan are not supposed to stand out, but
the Wolverine who has been thoughtof
as the most outstanding the last two
years running is Michelle Maynor. The
vote was made by her teammates.
Other cheerleadershaveexcelledin
their sport at Michigan as well.
Stephanie Huff was nominated among
hundreds of people at the collegiate
training camp in Boston last summer
for most outstanding cheerleader.
Newman also won a plaque for an out-
standing cheeleader nomination.
"(The cap) is four days where the
goal is improvement, and not so much
to beat the other team," Newman said.

"The four days serve to gel the squad.
We improved a lot."
Schmidt was also pleased with what
theNCAAstaff,anelite groupofNCAA
cheeleaders and coaches, thought of
her squad.
"If the staff thinks you did a good
job, that's something," Schmidt said.
The NCAA staff was so impressed
by Huff and Newman and therestof the
Michigan team that they asked the en-
tire squad to join the staff. With that
position, the Wolverines were given
theresponsibility toteach young people
cheerleading. Schmidt is glad that the
NCAA noticed her team the last two
summers in Boston.
Although cheerleading seems to be
anall-aroundpositiveactivity, thesport
was the focus ofecriticism last fall when
Sports Illustrated ran a story on the big
'I've had divers who have
said cheerleading Is
similar to their sport, in
terms of how to fall and
other things. I once had a
football player who said
he experienced more
hitting as a cheerleader
than on the football field.'
-Annette Schmidt
Michigan cheereading coach
businesssideofcheerleading.Schmidt
dismissed the article's claims and re-
marked that it missed the point by not
capturing the essence of cheereading.
"Any sporthas abusiness side toit.
There are training camps for every
sport," Schmidt said. "Clothing com-
panies gear toward sports and athlet-
ics."
If all goes as planned, Schmidt's
Wolverines willexcelagaininBoston >
and challenge for the national title in
Dallas.Michigan'syouthandimprove-
ment bodes well for success in the
future. The sport of cheerleading has
been criticized for its business side,
but this group of Wolverines seeks to
show the nation that they mean noth-
ing but business.

Michigan runner Courtney Babcock and four other
Wolverines participated in the NCAA Champion-
ships last weekend.

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