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sports

Rise of the Soccer team Wolverines Soccer team moves up to Matt Luckoff

co-sports editor Over the history of sports, fans have witnessed amazing underdog stories unfold. Whether it be the young, inexperienced Detroit Pistons defeating the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals, or the Giants beating the undefeated Patriots in the 2007 Superbowl, fans are drawn to the success of the underdog.    Yes, I agree these two examples are tremendous accomplishments, especially the Pistons (not to be biased or anything…), but what I love to see is what I call “super underdog” stories.    These “super underdogs” are not just underdogs, but are something much more (hence the super).  These teams or individuals defy all odds, and come out on top regardless of what their expectations are.  These “super underdogs” fight through whatever turmoil they may face and just do one thing: win.   The all-time great “super underdog” successes include the fictional story of Rocky and the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team completing the “miracle.”  Both are fan favorites and can truly be considered “super underdog” classics.    Now in a day where pr ofessional sports are created equal and, more often than not, the best team wins the championship, when is our next “super underdog” story going to emerge?    I’ll tell you when: now.  I’ll also tell you who: the Michigan Wolverines.  I know they own the most wins in NCAA Division I-A history, along with the highest winning percentage, but they have the perfect ingredients to become the next great underdog story, and to maybe, just maybe ascend to “super underdog” story status.    The Wolverines have faced more turmoil in the last 12 months than the last 129 years combined.  Following a 3-9 season, the worst in school history, the Wolverine’s have been publicly accused of a major NCAA violation and head coach Rich Rodriguez has been sued for a failed real estate investment.    Lets take a look at the Wolverines on paper.  Michigan has two freshman at quarterback (both still teenagers), in what may be one of the most complex offenses ever run at the college level, not to mention the fact that they only have 17 seniors on the roster.    Therefore, college football expert analysts have predicted Michigan to have no more than 8 wins, and some said they’d be lucky to win their first game.     In a situation like this, an average team would probably collapse, a team with a good underdog story would win a game or two more than the experts predict, but a team with a “super underdog” story would win their conference and maybe even the National Championship.    Yes, I can probably guess the thoughts now running through your mind, I’m probably just a way too optimistic, and maybe a little insane, Michigan fan, but I can assure you my views are valid. Unlike last year Michigan has begun the season with confidence and now has the players to run Rich Rodriguez’s magnificent spread offense. With an offensive roster overhaul and new defensive coaching staff the Wolverines are a complete new team. Despite countless off season challenges, Michigan has looked extremely impressive thus far, even outscoring Notre Dame, one of the best offensive teams in the nation.  Looking ahead at their schedule, the Wolverines face only two obstacles, Ohio State and Penn State, both at home. Ohio State has looked mediocre up to this point, and Michigan has beaten Penn State nine out of the last ten times they’ve played. In a down year in the Big Ten and an easier schedule than usual, the Wolverines look poised to rebound and go back to the glory days    Call me crazy, but the Wolverines can legitimately pull this off, if you won’t take my word for it I’ll just let the maize and

The Wolverines have faced more turmoil in the last 12 months than the last 129 years

blue prove it themselves.

top divison in OAA Photo by Andy Gignac

With new players and a new attitude, the Michigan Wolverines are back in the national spotlight

James Feuereisen staff writer

Walking off the soccer field at the end of the 2008 Andover soccer season, senior Joe Wyzgoski had no idea that his soccer career was about to change forever. “For the 2009 season, the Oakland Activities Association, OAA, moved varsity soccer from three to two divisions,” says R.J Guizetti, Andover’s athletic director. “Andover used to be in the middle division, but when the decision

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moves up division

was made to create two, it was decided that Andover would be in the upper division, which has the best teams. That decision was based upon the overall strength of the soccer program at each school.   “After last season, at the annual coach’s meeting, re-organizing the divisions was discussed. A proposal was made to establish two divisions, and the proposal passed when voted on,” says Guizetti.       Guizetti adds that the reason the Oakland Activities Association changed the divisions was due to the fact that larger, division one schools did not want to compete against each other twice per season. By establishing two divisions, this problem was eliminated. The lack of a JV program at some schools was a factor as it sometimes caused scheduling conflicts.     When varsity soccer head coach of ten years, Geoff Parkinson, found out at last fall’s coach’s meeting that there were plans to split into two divisions, he was against the proposal to create two teams, as he felt the team’s schedule would be too difficult. However, because the division one schools were in unanimous agreement, there were enough votes to create the change when it was finally voted on.     “With the new divisions, our regular season is excessively difficult,” explains Parkinson. “This season, we play large division one schools such as Rochester Adams, Clarkston, Lake Orion, and Troy, along with smaller school such as Lahser. Around five of teams in the higher

division are currently ranked in the state.”  “In the past, we had much more control over the difficulty of our schedule. Currently, I feel that our team does not appear to be competitive in the new division. However, we are giving ‘our all’ in every game we play,” says Parkinson.   While Coach Parkinson has his doubts regarding the new arrangement of teams, he believes players on the soccer team are more optimistic about this new configuration.    “When I found about our new division in the spring, I was really excited,” co-captain  says Joe Wyzgoski.  “I think being in this new division will help us in the playoffs, as we are challenged in every game.  Also, our regular season record does not matter as playoff seeds are completely random.”    Now part of a new division, the soccer team has had to change its strategy in games.

 

“In our games, we are playing much more defense as our opponents are high power attacking teams.  Additionally, our opponents also have great defenses, which makes it harder for our offense,” says Parkinson.     Parkinson concludes, “Staying with the new system or going back to the original both have pros and cons. Once the season is over, I will decide whether I will support a new configuration or lobby for a return to the original one.”

Motta makes MMA matter For senior Zack Motta mixed martial arts proves to relieve stress Rachel Rohr junior advisor

When senior Zack Motta was picked on by his older brother as a kid and made fun of by his peers because of the scar on his face, he chose to do something about it. Motta took up mixed martial arts.    Motta has now been doing mixed martial Fun Facts on arts (MMA) for 14 years.  MMA MMA, which was popularized the * MMA first gained with U l t i m a t e worldwide exxpoF i g h t i n g sure in the United Championship, is a combat States in 1993 sport that uses a variety of * UFC was cremartial arts ated from the such as karate and wrestling.  popularity of Those who MMA par ticipate in the sport * Modern MMA t y p i c a l l y b e c o m e can be traced specialized back to fighting in one of the martial arts. in Europe and    “After a Japan in the early few years of 1900’s training you figure out what you’re best at,” explains Motta.  “I specialize in Muay Thai, where you use the sharper areas of the body like the elbows and knees to strike the opponent.”  Motta’s Muay Thai coach is from Thailand,

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where the martial art has a long history.   Originally, Motta focused on taekwondo which was a big part of his life for seven years.  He earned his black belt in taekwondo and was recruited to help teach classes at his gym.    Motta now focuses on mixed martial arts at a gym with professional coaches and fighters.  They organize his fights, finding opponents who practice equally and have similar experience.  Motta learns of fights four to six weeks in advance to step up his training in the weeks before the fight.  Since starting, Motta has been in two fights.  He won both.     Motta has really enjoyed his years fighting.  “I like the physical aspect of it,” he says.  He thrives when in the cage.  “Once you walk into the octagon you turn into a completely different person.”     Yet since it is such a physical sport, there is, of course, a great risk he takes with every fight.  “It is a very very dangerous sport,” he says.  “I almost broke my arm once.  Another time I had to get an MRI on my knee and found out I tore my ACL [anterior cruciate ligament].”     Despite the danger, Motta would like to try to go professional after college.  He realizes, however, that he can’t rely on this dangerous profession and wants a degree and career to fall back on.     Currently, Motta is taking a break from training to focus on college.  After graduating, he hopes to go to a gym regularly and get serious about MMA.  Until then, Motta plans on looking into some type of intramural wrestling in college.    Motta’s mom, Robin Motta, has witnessed the importance mixed martial arts has had in her son’s life.  “Through [his] long commitment to Martial Arts, he learned the importance of respect and discipline.  Besides making some friendships with instructors, he is now able to defend himself in almost any situation. He continues to have an ethic of great integrity and I would attribute that to his continuing commitment to MMA.”    Although originally just a sport taken up for defense against bullies, MMA has played a significant role in Motta life.  “Hopefully I’ll pick it up again soon,” conclues Motta.  I have a passion for it.  I really enjoy it.”    

CHEERLEADING: Males

now on squad From the early hours in the morning they stretch, stunt (all the dangerous tosses and lifts), along with Pazner’s and the rest of the varsity cheer team, can be seen every varsity football game.   While Cooper initially joined cheerleading for the scholarship potential, it took him only a short time to grow to love it.  Both guys also encourage more male students to join.    “If I were to recruit the boys to be cheerleaders,” Cooper says, “not only would I speak

of the scholarship opportunities, but I would advertise the team building and great times.”   Andover alum and former cheerleader Eric Wodowski adds, “The whole experience [cheerleading] was really rewarding.  We need to bring all different types of people into everything, and I think it’s really important to have men do it because it shows that it’s not just a girl’s sport; it’s for everybody.”    “Also,” Cooper argues, “what other sport do you play with a dozen beautiful ladies?”

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RAMADAN: keeping commitments that they will deplete their system. They could go into shock and when that happens your system and central nervous system just start to shut down.” Even with all of the costs that come with the following the holiday of Ramadan El-Sayed still sees the meaning of the holiday as an important one. “It is a reminder of those less fortunate. There are people who eat like I do all year round. You can’t take eating and drinking for granted.” The coaches do realize the effects that their

religious commitments have on them, however they are granted no special treatment. “They are permitted like everybody else to have water but they, because of their religious beliefs, choose not to have it,” says Korzeniewski, “Ultimately it’s their choice. It’s their choice to play football. They are choosing to play football, they are choosing to be on the field. They are choosing to work hard enough to be in a position to get onto the field.

Go Baron Football! Don’t forget to attend the homecoming game vs. North Farmington

Baron cards on sale for $10

Andover Shield September 2009  

The online publication for The Andover Shield newspaper from September 2009.

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