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June 09, 2003 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-06-09

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JUNE 9, 2003


Blue trio called on draft day


By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Editor
For three Wolverines last Tuesday,
dreams really did come true.
Following a surprising year for the
Michigan baseball team, three of its own
were rewarded for their achievements by
being selected in the 2003 Major
League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Michigan has not had this many play-
ers drafted since 1999, when four
Wolverines were picked.
The Chicago Cubs drafted junior
catcher Jake Fox in the third round with
the 73rd pick overall. He was the eighth
catcher drafted overall.
"I was shocked," Fox said. "I didn't
know what to think. It's been something
" I've been working for my whole life and
it finally came true."
Fox, who was the highest-drafted
Wolverine, finished the 2003 season
with 15 homeruns, 67 runs batted in and
a .357 batting average. He follows in the
footsteps of lefthanded pitcher Rich
Hill, a Wolverine taken by the Cubs in
the fourth round of last year's draft.
Thrd basem Brock Komanl arned
of his selection while driving from Ann
Arbor back home to Pueblo, Colo. The
senior, drafted 269th overall, went to the
Houston Astros in round nine.
Michigan coach Rich Maloney can
relate to Koman's elation. Maloney
was drafted as a senior by the Atlanta

Braves after being bypassed his junior
year, like Koman.
"The way he's feeling right now
you'd like to bottle it up and show it,"
Maloney said. "A lot of people would
like to feel that way.".
Considering his 21 errors and .859
fielding percentage at the hot corner
last season, Koman was drafted earlier
than expected. A position change may
be in the making if Koman can progress
through the minor league system.
"I don't know where they'll put me,"
Koman said. "I can just go out there
with the mind frame to play my game
and play hard. That's all I can do."
Koman did lead the Wolverines in
batting average in his last three seasons
at Michigan. He is also Michigan's
career leader in doubles (72) and ranks
second in career hits (276).
"If I could do it all over, this is the way
to go," Koman said. "Not being drafted
last year, but getting to play my senior
year at Michigan, worked out. I could
not have asked for anything better"
For junior pitcher Jim Brauer, the
dream has come true twice. Brauer, the
Colorado Rockies' 17th-round selection
(497th overall), was drafted out of high
school in the 29th round by the Montre-
al Expos in 2000.
He was a preseason All-American
candidate this year but suffered a
shoulder injury in his first start. Michi-
gan granted Brauer a medical redshirt,

giving him an extra year of eligibility4.
and something of a backup plan
depending on how well his summer
workouts go.
"(The Rockies) drafted me late and
want to see how I progress over the
summer," Brauer said. "If I can prove
that I'm healthy we can work some-
thing out, but if it's a situation I'm not
happy with, then I can come back to
Fox will have a similar decision to
make as early as this week. With only
one year of eligibility remaining, the sit-
uation may be too good to turn down.
"It really depends on what the Cubs
offer and what my priorities are," Fox
said. "I have a lot of decision-making to TONY DING/Daily
do in the next few weeks and hopefully Michigan catcher Jake Fox received his call to "the show," as the Chicago Cubs
things will work out." selected him with the 73rd overall pick in Tuesday's Major League Baseball draft.
Tracksters Nate Brannen and Nick Willis combine
from abroad to form Michigan's dynamic duo
By Ellen McGarrity Daily Sports Writer


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When runner Sean Moore walked in the door of
his house Saturday, he was not surprised by
teammate Nate Brannen's cleaning efforts.
"He's a cleanaholic - a neat freak," sophomore Moore
said. "I came home, and our whole house smelled like pot-
pourri because Nate had dumped carpet cleaner all over and
was vacuuming. He's like Magda from "There's Something
about Mary" after she gets on the speed."
"He kind of keeps us all in order," roommate Kaj Johans-
son said. "He's like the mom of the house."
Brannen's five roommates, who are all on the track team,
say the sophomore is an ideal person to live with.
And while Brannen is busy cleaning up the house, fresh-
man Nick Willis is busy cleaning up with the ladies. He's
famous on the team for his distinctive and sexy Kiwi accent.
"All the women love it," Waits said.
But this pair has more in common than just their cleaning
abilities - they share an exceptional talent for running and
a strong friendship.
When Brannen crossed the finish line in first this past
March to become the NCAA indoor track champion in the

800-meter run, Willis was jumping up and down on the
sidelines, yelling and screaming to encourage his teammate.
"Nick was going crazy," Michigan coach Ron Warhurst
said. "He was like a real cheerleader. He was down on the 4
track and being very, very boisterous."
Three months later at the NCAA Mideast Regionals,
Brannen watched closely, pressed against the fence separat-
ing Ohio State's track from the bleachers, making sure
Willis secured his ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Champi-
onships by winning the 1,500-meter run.
"They complement each other," Warhurst said. "They
feed off each other's success and are happy for each other
when one wins a race."
Many would think that the two most accomplished
Wolverines in Michigan's track program today would be in a
state of constant competition, always trying to top one anoth-
er. However, this dynamic duo has worked side by side all
year through the cross-country and indoor and outdoor track
seasons to achieve a mountain of successes. Could these
goals have been reached if one was not there to support the
See TRACK, Page 11

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