The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 1, 1995
Mortimer designs his dreams at Michigan
Freshman wastes no time building success with Wolverine cross country squad
By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
Since the seventh grade, John
Mortimer has lived with a purpose.
But before that, he was without a
His sister was on her way at
North Carolina State to become an
architect, and John had shown an
interest in the field. But that was
He wanted to build something for
himself, but he didn't know what.
After the Fun Run in gym class, he
had found his calling.
"I did pretty well in that race," he
That gave him the foundation he
was looking for. He built on this for
the next six years, steamrolling the
competition, earning himself a full
cross country scholarship and
becoming a Wolverine.
A native of Londonderry, N. H.,
Mortimer always believed that he
would follow his sister's lead; he
wanted to create buildings by
"My main criteria when choosing
a school was a good architecture
program - my major - and a top
25 cross country team," Mortimer
said, "I came (to Michigan) for a
visit, and it was a match."
When Mortimer called coach
Ron Warhurst and informed him of
his interest in Michigan, Warhurst
looked at Mortimer's high school
record and said, with a sarcastic
hint of disinterest, "Yeah, we'll
Mortimer was an outstanding
high school runner. He placed
second at the Foot Locker Invita-
tional, the high school national
championship, as Warhurst de-
scribed it, with lightning times of
4:10 for the mile and 9:08 in the
"(Michigan) won out," Warhurst
says now of the addition of
Mortimer to his top 10 program.
After the Wolverines finished
second in the Big Ten and seventh
at the NCAA Championships last
year, Warhurst wanted more.
The addition of Mortimer and his
roommate Todd Snyder have
helped both the team and Mortimer
significantly. When Mortimer first
found out that he was rooming with
Snyder, he called him up and they
They complemented each other
They room together in West
Quad, and the freshman duo are also
bunkmates on the road.
"(Todd and I) have similar
schedules and both know when we
need to sleep the night before a
meet," said Mortimer.
This continuity only adds to the
success of both athletes. Having
another runner experiencing the
same college dilemmas and situa-
tions makes it easier for Mortimer
when problems arise.
Every afternoon from 3:30-5:30,
Mortimer practices with the rest of
the Wolverines at the Michigan
Golf Course. While in high
school, his Londonderry team ran
about 30 miles a week; Michigan's
regimen is up to 70 miles per
"(Although) the training and
intensity are a lot tougher, (it) helps
my performance," Mortimer says. "I
did training during the summer and
it has got me to a point where I can
race fairly well."
As one of the top freshmen in the
Big Ten, he is running a little
better than "fairly well." With All-
American Kevin Sullivan setting
the pace, all Mortimer has to do is
try to keep up.
"I don't run against Kevin,"
Mortimer says. "I see it more as
running with him. It's not so much
the racing, but the training with him
... that's going to help me become a
An architect must begin with a plan
and, through diligence and hard work,
make it reality. Mortimer can
translate his major's philosophy to his
Before this season, he did not
know what to expect. But Mortimer,
not to be overconfident, exudes
modesty when he discusses his
"You really don't want to talk
about your goals... but hopefully (I)
will be an All-American this year,"
With the redshirting of senior Scott
MacDonald, Mortimer has filled the
void and placed second at nearly
every meet this season.
With second-place finishes at the
Boston College Invitational and the
Maine Invitational, he showed his
speed in front of his family while
near home in New England.
"My parents are very supportive
(even though) they may not know all
that much about cross country,"
Mortimer's long-term focus on a
career in architecture is slightly
obscured now. His attention has to
be on running.
Warhurst expected his team to
give Wisconsin a run for its money
this past weekend at the Big Ten
Championships. He also anticipated
a great showing by Mortimer, and
the freshman did not disappoint.
He was the top freshman finisher
in a time of 25:08. Warhurst thinks
Mortimer "will probably be the Big
Ten Freshman of the Year" as a
result of his strong race.
But the runner's thoughts must be
trained on what remains - the
The districts and the finals,
both of which occur this month,
will be Michigan's chance to
showcase its newest speedster.
Warhurst is expecting fast times
from Mortimer, who he touts as
"one of the top freshman runners
in the country."
With that billing, one would think
Mortimer would fold under the
pressure. But actually, it is just the
"(Pressure) is something I thrive
on," he says. "The bigger the race,
the more the nerves, but you have to
play off that as a positive (influ-
Mortimer "definitely" is going
to run track, both in the indoor
and outdoor seasons. He wants to
"run all year-round" to keep in
Warhurst, who is also a track
coach, says that Mortimer will
participate in the steeplechase.
All of this is building towards the
freshman's dream of competing in
the Olympics - an opportunity
which Mortimer believes is attain-
"It's definitely a long-range goal,
... (but it's) realistic at the level I'm
progressing at now."
Despite all the time Mortimer puts
into athletics, his interest in architec-
ture is also growing.
"I'm going to design buildings,"
Mortimer says. "It's a six-year
program, so I'll need a year of
With goals in mind, Warhurst is
designing All-Americans, Mortimer's
sister is designing buildings and
Mortimer, well, he's looking to do a
little of both.
John Mortimer hopes to build a lead on his competition.
andberg ends retirement, signs $2million deal with Cubs'
CHICAGO (AP) - The Hall of Fame will have to wait.
ne Sandberg is ready to lace up his spikes, pull on his
4den glove, range behind second base and make another
eat play for the Chicago Cubs.
"I was a baseball player. I'm still a baseball player. And
1 always be that," Sandberg, 36, said Tuesday after
ding his 16 1/2-month retirement by signing a one-year
"I did the retirement thing. I did the summer activities
d all that. It just got to the point where now it was time
go back and play baseball.
"This is something that I wanted to do and I needed to
do. It was very important to me. I don't think it really left
But Sandberg -- statistically the best fielding second
baseman in major league history, a 10-time National
League All-Star and the 1984 league MVP - left it.
In so doing, he walked away from the approximately
$17 million he had left on his contract.
When he stunned Chicago with his announcement on
June 13, 1994, his Cubs were in last place. In his opinion,
general manager Larry Himes had ruined the team. And
his personal life was in turmoil; his wife would file for
divorce later that month.I
A lifetime .289 hitter with 245 career home runs, 905
RBIs and 325 stolen bases, Sandberg was batting .238
with five homers, 24 RBIs and two steals in 57 games and
was in a 1-for-28 slump.
Baseball was no longer fun. So he retired.
"That was something I had to do," he said. "I couldn't
worry about what the public thought."
Some labeled him a quitter.
"He didn't like the front office, he didn't like losing, he
didn't like the manager, he didn't like the things in his
personal life," said Cubs first baseman Mark Grace, one of
Sandberg's closest friends in baseball.
Sandberg will return to second base for the Chicago Cubs.