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January 21, 1991 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-01-21

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - January 21, 1991 - Page 5




Young squad has high hopes
Sophomores Joey Gilbert and Lanny Green lead Wolverines
b., Eric Sklar

y uR onl ar
Daily Sports Writer
Experience is generally the key
to success for most sports. And the
Michigan wrestling team has its
f'air share of experience, returning
six of last year's ten starters.
However, the team has not sac-
rificed youth at the expense of ex-
perience. Seven members of the
starting lineup are in their first or
second year. Here's a look at this
year's lineup by weight class.
Fifth-year senior Salem Yaffai
will be the starter at 118 pounds.
Yaffai wrestled at 126 last year,
posting a 23-21-1 record and plac-
ing sixth in the Big Ten Champi-
However, after getting off to a
,fast start this season, he came
back from winter break over-
weight, and earlier this month he
'had a tough time getting his
weight down and being effective.
"I think his weight is fully un-
der control now," Michigan coach
Dale Bahr said. "He looks good in
practice and I think he'll be okay.
Because we wrestle so often in
January, his weight should start to
The 126-pound weight class is a
problem area for the Wolverines.
Jason Cluff, the starter for the first
( 'half of the season, was declared
academically ineligible last week.
{ His backup, frosh Mike Miha-
lic, has been plagued by injuries.
Mihalic sprained his ankle before
Christmas and had been rehabil-
itating it when he resprained it
against Oklahoma State in the Na-
"tional Team Duals last week.
"Mike has a lot of promise, and
he just needs to get healthy to
show it, Bahr said.
Sophomore Joey Gilbert starts
- at 134, and Bahr considers him
..one of the stoppers on the team,
"somebody that we depend on for
".a win all the time, and win big."
Gilbert has an impressive re-
. sume. Last year he was named Co-
Big Ten Freshman of the Year,
r with a 39-12-1 record. He also
placed fifth in the Big Tens and
advanced to the NCAA Tourna-
"He's on course to do just as
well or better than he did last sea-
son," Bahr said. "He'll generally
o out in a match and change the
tempo of the meet."
t J
Ix Y
S. .::. . :::: i:I......

Michigan wrestler James Rawls competing earlier this season against Eastern Michigan. The sophomore is
tied for first on the Wolverines with 21 victories thus far this season.

Another sophomore, James
Rawls starts at 142. Although
Rawls has had a great deal suc-
cess this year, Bahr feels that he
suffers from a lack of confidence.
"You have to have that confi-
dence in yourself to really be suc-
cessful, and James just has to be-
lieve in himself," Bahr said. "He's
got a lot of natural ability and he's
doing a fine job, but the next step
he has to take is to truly believe
he can win, and win against the
real good guys."
The Wolverines start redshirt
frosh Brian Harper at 150. Harper
has been inconsistent so far this
season. He has been struggling
lately, but wrestled well earlier in
the season, placing sixth in the
Las Vegas Classic last month.
"We have seen flashes of ex-
cellent wrestling," Bahr said. "His
record actually belies what we feel
is a pretty tough kid. He just needs
to find a way to score a few more
points per match and he'll turn that
record around."
Another one of Bahr's "stop-
pers" is Sean Bormet, who starts
at 158. Bormet was redshirted last

"He's had a real fine season so
far," Bahr said. "Again, when we
get to 158, we look for a stopper,
somebody that can put people on
their back and put big points on
the board, and Sean's capable of
doing that."
The 167 weight class, like the
126 division, has caused the
Wolverines some problems this
Frosh Kevin Williams made the
starting lineup as a walk-on, how-
ever he's been having problems
adjusting to the major college
level of competition.
"It's a big step up from Florida
wrestling to wrestling against Ok-
lahoma, Oklahoma State, and
Northern Iowa, the best in the
country." Bahr said. "And Kevin's
had a hard time making that ad-
Also at 167 is transfer Bill
Mercer, who, after sitting out a
year, just became eligible at the
beginning of the second term.
The upper three weight classes
are certainly not a problem for the
Wolverines. In fact, it is probably
their strongest area.
Lanny Green, one of the leaders

of the team, starts at 177. Green
compiled a 25-14 record last year,
and was an All-Academic Big Ten
"They don't make them any
better than Lanny," Bahr said.
However, Green has been troubled
by knee problems recently, but
Bahr is still optimistic. "If we can
keep it from getting hurt in a major
sort of way, I'm sure Lanny will be
a factor in the Big Ten Champi-
onships when it comes to the end
of the year."
At 190 is team captain Fritz
Lehrke, who has qualified for the
NCAA tournament the past two
"Fritz is the man on our team
that has to rally the troops," Bahr
said. "We need a sure win from
190, we need the leadership from
Fritz, and he's provided that to this
point in the season."
Rounding out the lineup is
heavyweight Phil Tomek.
"He's beaten some real good
people in the country, and he has a
great record, but he's got to make
the next step up," Bahr said.

I 'I am a goal-oriented
person, and for the
most part, t have
always achieved my
-Lanny Greep
Michigan Wrestler
Hard work enables
Green to succeed
by Josh Dubow
Daily Sports Writer
Dedicated. Hard working. Tenacious.
When asked to describe Michigan wrestler Lanny Green, this is how his
teammates responded. Green, a sophomore from Jackson, Mich., made his
impact on the team last season at 167 pounds. Green posted a 25-14 record,
and was named Most Improved Wrestler on the squad. This year, Green has
moved up to 177 pounds and has posted an 18-8 record thus far and is ranked
eighth in the nation. This is a change Green feels has been helpful toshis
"The adjustment from 167 to 177 was not too tough," he said.
"Quickness isn't my strength, so going up to 177 put me against slower,
bigger guys. I lift all year so it was not tough to match their strength."
But Green's contributions to the Wolverines go beyond his performance
on the mats. Although he is only in his second year, Michigan coach Dale
Bahr considers Green one of the pacesetters for the team.
"Lanny's a leader for us on and off the mats," Bahr said. "Very few kids
know exactly what they want to do and have the tunnel vision to achieve it.
Lanny's one of those kids."
Along with his wrestling achievements, Green was also an Academic
All-Big Ten selection with a 3.42 grade point average in mechanical
"Every night I look back at my day and see what I've achieved," Green
said. "This helps my school work because it forces me to keep up to date."
While Green's achievements impress his teammates, they have learned
never to be shocked by what Lanny may achieve.
"The rest of the kids on the team just stand there and shake their heads in
disbelief," Bahr said. "But they see that Lanny is always first to practice and
last to leave. They see him studying every free minute he has, and they
understand his accomplishments."
Even team captain Fritz Lehrke looks to Green for leadership. "Some
wrestlers win on natural ability, but Lanny is a pretty good all-around
athlete who wins on hard work and discipline. It gives the rest of the team
confidence if they work hard, they can be successful.
"Lanny takes school very seriously," Lehrke added. "On the road, he
concentrates on his school work during his free time. He's always working,
whether it be wrestling or school."
The praise for Green does not stop with his teammates, as he commands
the highest respect from his coaches as well.
"Lanny has a systematic and direct approach to improving himself,"
assistant coach Joe Wells said. "He sets daily goals and then achieves them.
Obstacles don't dissuade Lanny like they do others."
Bahr agreed: "Lanny's the perfect example of the student-athlete. He's
humble, quiet, not fresh or outspoken, and he is a great competitor on the
mats. He possesses all of the qualities you would want in an ideal person."
When asked to find flaws in Green's personality or wrestling ability, his
teammates, coaches and even his mother struggled.
"If there is anything negative about Lanny, I haven't seen it surface yet,"
Wells said. "Lanny's a heck of a guy. He's a hard worker, and he's steady
and dependable."
Bahr added, "If I had to find-a weakness in Lanny, it would be that he's
not quick. He came here as a walk-on, and he has worked to overcome this,
and now is probably one of the top ten 177-pounders in the country."
Teammate and practice partner Kevin Williams agrees with Bahr
concerning Green's work ethic. "Lanny wins his matches on conditioning,"
Williams said. "He tires his opponents out, and then just pummels them.
"He gives me advice in practice, and always puts the team concept first,"
Williams said. "I can't find any faults with him."
Even though Green was state champion his senior year in high school,
he was not pursued by many programs. His high school coach, Fred Boss a
former Wolverine assistant, was essential in giving Lanny the opportunity
to come to Michigan. As a recruited walk-on, Bahr redshirted him in his
first year, and last season Green broke into the starting lineup.
Although Green credits his own hard work and dedication to his success,
he also realizes that many other people played an important part in his
"The person who probably influenced me most is Fred Boss," Green said.
"He taught me how to wrestle and helped to give me the chance to come
here. I don't know where I'd be today without him.
"Outside of wrestling, the person who knows me best and has had the
biggest impact on me is my mother."
"Lanny's a hard worker and really disciplined," his mother, Sue Vance
said. "He has always had a schedule and followed it. He was a neat kid who

always did what he had to. He's the perfect son."
While others struggled to find faults in him, Green realizes he'has
deficiencies he must overcome to achieve the goals he has set for himself.
"I am a goal-oriented person," Green said. "And for the most part, I have
always achieved my goals. My biggest obstacle is my lack of self-
confidence. Sometimes I am too hesitant and question myself. I have to just
go out and wrestle and good things should come my way."
And what are those good things Green is looking for this year. "I want to
be national champion."
If he achieves this goal nobody who knows Lanny will be shocked.
"No one in the world works harder than Lanny Green," Bahr said.
"Nothing he ever does will surprise me."

1990-91 Wrestling Team

...,y.}. "
Q E= ..... !

WGT Name
118 Salem Yaffai
126 Jason Cluff x
Salem Yaffai
Brent Bailey
Mike Mihalic
134 Joey Gilbert
Jeff McCollum
Jon Millet
142 James Rawls
Preston Moritz
Brent Bailey
150 Brian Harper
Doug Heaps
James Morales
158 Sean Bormet
Steve Benninger
167 Kevin Williams
Bill Mercer
Alex Gladhstein
177 Lanny Green
190 Fritz Lehrke
Ed Arner
HWT Phil Tomek


2= 3 J41 Nt C a ponshp
..... ... ... . . .. ... .. ..


Bold face denotes starters
x- academically ineligible

............... I


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(313) 761-1523


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