The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 12, 1999, Page 8, Image 8

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    Gymnasts battle Penn St.
■ After road defeats, the
NU gymnastics team is
ready to come back.
By John Gaskins
Staff writer
A dual with the top-ranked team in
the nation and the leading national
championship-winner in NCAA
Gymnastics history has come just at
the right time for Nebraska gymnas
tics Coach Francis Allen.
The No. 8 Huskers will face Penn
State in a double men’s and women’s
dual at the Bob Devaney Sports
Center at 1 p.m. Sunday. Allen said his
team will be ready, if not pumped, to
take on the Nittany Lions after two
straight road defeats.
The Huskers started the season 7
0, capped by a victory in their last
home meet, three weeks ago against
No. 3 Iowa. Since then, NU took a
tough, three-point beating at th^ hands
of No. 6 Oklahoma, then were clipped
at No. 9 Brigham Young by .05 points.
“We thought we had won that
one,” Allen said. “We performed well
enough to. We were closing in on them
fast. So we’re not too worried about
this weekend.”
But in the backs of their minds, the
gymnasts know what kind of chal
lenge is on their hands. Penn State beat
the Huskers last year 231.15-230.05 in
a shoot-out at State College, Penn.
Penn State and Illinois are the only
two schools that have won more
national championships than Allen
and Nebraska (both with 9 to NU’s 8).
Separating the two teams are 17
NCAA team titles and 80 individual
NCAA titles, but Allen said this year
everything is up for grabs.
“I don’t see a dominant team in
college gymnastics this year,” Allen
said. “If there is one, I’d like to see
them. I believe we’re just as bit as
good as they are, and this weekend,
we’ll see.”
The Nittany Lions are ranked in
the top seven in every individual cate
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gory; the Huskers are in the top 10 in
five of six. NU’s leading all-arounder,
sophomore Jason Hardabura, is cur
rently the fifth best in the nation. NU
junior Derek Leiter is the nation’s
leading vaulter and is forth in the floor
The No. 8 women’s meet against
No. 4 Penn State will be every bit as
big, as they will play host to their sec
ond top-10 team in three weeks. It’s
especially big for one Husker gym
Laurie McLaughlin, last week’s
Big 12 Gymnast of the Week and cur
rent winner of both the uneven bars
and balance beam two weeks in a row,
hails from State College, but said her
main concerns are her routines, not
her hometown opponent.
“The only real big thing about fac
ing them is I’ll be competing against
my first coach (Penn State’s Steve
Shephard) and my last coach
(Nebraska’s Dan Kendig),”
McLaughlin said.
“Other than that, I’m just trying to
hit my routines and get better.”
Kendig said despite Penn State’s
power, the Huskers are doing nothing
out of the ordinary to prepare for the
“This team, unlike maybe last
year’s team, is not going ‘Oh my God,
it’s Penn State,”’ Kendig said.
“It’s just business as usual. We’re
just working on the little things, we’re
healthy and looking forward to the
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Nil tennis team faces
tough break itinerary
By Jake Bleed
Staff writer
While everyone may be looking to
leave Lincoln’s work and weather for
spring break, the Nebraska men’s tennis
team won’t be on break. But it will be
leaving - with a vengeance.
The Huskers (4-6 overall, 1-3 in the
Big 12 Conference) have an itinerary
for spring break that has them playing
five matches in venues that range from
the deep South to the Atlantic coast to
Southern California.
Coach Kerry McDermott said the
odd schedule could be blamed on
spring break being one week earlier
than it has been in the past years.
“We normally go to UC-Irvine and
get to one place and play a few match
es,” McDermott said. “Normally, I
wouldn’t want to do all the traveling
we’re doing.”
The first leg ofNo. 66 NU’s “break”
is south to meet Northeast Louisiana in
Monroe, La., on March 14. Two days
later, NU will be in Richmond, Va., to
meet No. 73 Old Dominion and
Richmond. Then it’s across the nation to
San Diego to meet Yale and San Diego
on March 20 and 21.
The Nebraska women’s tennis
team, while also meeting five teams
next week, woi$hyave to cover as much
ground. ^ % %
The No. 69 Huskers yrill start the
break athoriie, meeting an improved
Missouri team Friday and teams from
Gustavus Adolphus and Northern Iowa
on Saturday.
Missouri wait 0-15 last year, but is
6-6 thus far in the season.
After that, NU will leave the Woods
Tennis Center’s indoor courts to spend
seven labor-intensive days in the wind
swept tundra of Hilton Head, S.C.
“We’ll get a chance to hopefully
play outside a lot,” Coach Scott
Jacobson said. “I think the kids are
going to have a good trip.”
The Huskers will meet Vermont
and George Washington in Hilton
The name of game all week,
though, is staying healthy. With the bare
minimum of six players, the Huskers
will be forced to field the entire team in
all five of the week’s matches, opening
the door for the possibility of injury.
But under die circumstances, the
team has stepped up. Amy Frisch and
the No. 1 doubles team of Sandra
Noetzel and Indali Ijomah will both go
into Friday’s match on five-game win
ning streaks.
Huskers get stronger
during conditioning
HUSKERS from page 8
your group are going to cause you
some grief.”
Senior-to-be rover Mike Brown
said working in groups by position
seemed to be effective.
“There was a lot of intensity,”
Brown said. “There was a lot of moti
vation. Maybe it’s because I’m a senior
- it seems a little more urgent”
Comerback Ralph Brown, a 5-9
senior-to-be agreed, but also said last
year’s finish has added some fuel to the
fire. Nebraska finished its 1998 cam
paign at 10-4, losing four games for the
first time since 1968.
“I feel we have a lot to prove,”
Brown said. “A lot of people are doubt
ing the program. That’s why everyone
is working hard. We are the same
Seventeen performance records
were broken Wednesday as 23
Huskers, including Mike Brown,
scored 500 points or above in all four
performance tests.
Leading the way was junior rush
end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who recorded
2939 performance index points, a daily
high and a position record for rush
ends. Vandal Bosch ran a 4.78-second
40-yard dash en route to 744 points in
the event - the third most Wednesday.
The 6-4,268-pounder finished among
the top three in pro-agility points, 10
yard-dash points and 40-yard-dash
With the loss of senior rush ends
Chad Kelsay and Mike Rucker,
Vanden Bosch will likely play a major
role on the defensive line this fall.
“He’s definitely a leader in the
weight room,” Epley said. “He doesn’t
say a lot He leads by example. He’s a
tremendously hard worker.”
Also breaking performance-index
position records Wednesday were
defensive lineman Jon Clanton, free
safety Clint Finley and center Dominic
Raiola. Clanton’s mark of 2788 points
was an all-time position best.
Other performance notables
include walk-on I-back Tyler
Rauenzahn, who ran a 4.48-second 40
yard-dash. Rauenzahn also recorded
the fastest 10-yard-dash time
Wednesday in 1.52 seconds.
“He’s a guy to keep your eye on,”
Epley said.
But speed, size and strength aren’t
everything, Epley said. Body composi
tion - losing fat and gaining muscle -
was the key to this winter’s condition
ing program.
“It’s like putting a bigger engine in
a smaller car,” Epley said. “It gives you
more energy for production.
Munson, DeAnda to see
tournament play, finally
WRESTLERS from page 8
Jordan Center, NU Assistant Coach
Mark Cody is confident DeAnda and
Munson will be able to handle the
mental pressures of a tournament
with the magnitude of the NCAAs.
“They’ve both wrestled in high
pressure situations before,” Cody
said. “I think it’s 99 percent mental by
the time you get to nationals, and both
of them can deal with that”
Along with DeAnda and Munson,
NU will send five other wrestlers to
NCAAs - Paul Gomez, 125; Joe
Henson, 149; Bryan Snyder, 157;
Brad Vering, 184; and J.R. Plienis,
Being a team that has climbed
from a preseason No. 21 ranking to a
curfent No, 4,ranking*thp Huskers
are expecting nothing less than a top
five finish at this year’s nationals.
“We’ve all been training hard, and
each one of us expects to be an All
American,” said DeAnda, NU 141
pounder. “I know that can happen.”
And in order for Nebraska to get
seven All Americans and a top-five
team finish, Cody said the Huskers
must do one thing.
“The guys have to focus on one
match at a time,” .Cody said. “They
can’t be thinking about the finals
when they’re in the semis.”
And DeAnda and Munson know
that. For them, this tournament will
marie the end of their athletic careers,
and they don’t intend to leave silently.
“I’m really not satisfied with just
getting to nationals,” Munson said.
“Since I’m going to be there I’d like to
go in, relax, win a few, and be in it
until the end of the tournament.”