The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, March 19, 2002, Image 7

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Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Ho leads Aggie women into NCAA finals
A&M senior Clara Ho heads up the six Aggies going Ho will be in her fourth NCAA Championship meet
to Austin to compete in the NCAA Championships. and will swim the 100- and 200-yard butterfly.
By Troy Miller
The No. 24 Texas A&M
women’s swimming and diving
team will wrap up its season this
week at the NCAA
Championships at the Lee and
Joe Jamail Texas Swimming
Center in Austin, Texas.
Three A&M swimmers will
compete along with three Aggie
divers. The Aggies have a shot at
having their best finish since
1995 when they placed 18th in
the nation.
“Our goal before the year
began was to be top 20,” said
head coach Steve Bultman.
“With three swimmers and
three divers, that possibility
All-American senior Clara
Ho will compete in her fourth
NCAA Championships; she will
swim both the 100- and 200-
yard butterfly. Ho is looking to
turn some heads in the 200-yard
butterfly. She currently ranks
No. 11 in the nation with a time
of 1:59.17.
“1:58 would be very satisfy
ing,” Ho said.
The NCAA Championships
marks the last meet of a glori
ous four-year career for Ho.
She holds school records in
both the 100- and 200-yard but
terfly and is part of all four
A&M relay records.
“It’s been a really good four
years,” Ho said. “I’ve had a lot
of fun and it’s sad to see it
come to a close.”
“I’ll be sad to see her go,”
Bultman said. “I’m excited to
see her race and I think she is
ready to go out with a bang.”
This meet foreshadows the
future of Aggie swimming. The
torch is being passed from Ho to
freshmen Courtney Patterson
and Christina Thompson who
will also represent A&M in
Our goal before
the year began was
to be top 20. With
three swimmers
and three divers,
that possibility
— Steve Bultman
A&M swimming head coach
Patterson has held a piece of
at least four Aggie records in her
first year on the team.
In the 100-yard backstroke,
Patterson holds the school
record time of 55.20, which
ranks No. 18 nationally. She will
also swim the 200-yard back-
stroke, in which she ranks No.
22 nationally, and the 200-yard
individual medley.
Thompson topped Patterson’s
school record in the 200-yard
backstroke during the Big 12
Championships. Her time of
1:58.21 is the 20th best time in the
nation. She will also race in the
100-yard backstroke as well as the
400-yard individual medley.
“It will be a good learning
experience for [the freshmen],”
Bultman said.
Senior Meghan Zack leads
the Aggie divers as they look to
have a strong showing this week
in Austin.
Zack is fresh off of a second
place finish to University of
Houston sophomore Yulia
Pakhalina, the defending NCAA
champion in both the 1-meter
and 3-meter competitions, at the
Zone D Championships in
Fayetteville, Ark.
Zack took home three Big 12
Championship rings last month
in the 1-meter, 3-meter and plat
form events.
“Meghan has a chance to
score some serious points,”
Bultman said.
Sophomore Katie Williams,
the 2001 Big 12 platform cham
pion, will also compete for the
Aggies. Williams captured the
third qualifying spot at the Zone
D Championships on the
strength of her first place finish
on the platforms.
Junior Callie Petroff was able
to gain the sixth and final quali
fying spot in Arkansas after
placing second to Williams in
the platform competition.
Zack, Williams and Petroff
can expect stiff competition
from Pakhalina and Texas
divers Nicole Pohorenc and
Ally Hartzell.
The NCAA Championships
begin Wednesday and run
through Saturday at the Lee and
Joe Jamail Texas Swimming
Center in Austin. Preliminaries
begin at 1 1 a.m. and finals begin
at 7 p.m.
No. 17 Aggies to
host Bearkats
After dropping four of five
\mes last week, the No. 17
has A&M baseball team
will host the Sam Houston
State Bearkats at Olsen Field
at 7 p.m.
The Aggies (17-9, 5-4 in
Big 12) suffered a sweep at
the hands of Nebraska last
weekend in Lincoln.
Sam Houston (10-12, 1-2
in Southland) lost two of
three to the University of
Texas - Arlington over the
Sophomore right-hander
Brian Finch is the expected
starter for A&M. Finch owns
a 2-0 record and is averaging
one strikeout for each inning
Earlier this season, the
Aggies defeated Sam
Houston, 18-5, in Huntsville.
A&M has won 68 of the 104
games played between the
two teams.
A&M claims 2nd
in Invitational
The Texas A&M equestrian
team tied Fresno State for
second place in the com
bined English and western
invitational season.
The Aggies won the
English show in Las Cruces,
N.M., Saturday but struggled
Sunday and was shut out in
the western competition
Sunday. West Texas A&M
captured the western crown
Sunday, edging out
Oklahoma State's "Black"
team, 23-20.
The Aggies next action will
be at the Zone 7
Championships on April 14.
Panthers trade
Bure to Rangers
New York Rangers acquired
forward Pavel Bure in a trade
with the Florida Panthers on
Monday night.
New York also acquired a
second round pick and sent
defensivemen Igor Ulanov
and Filip Novak to Florida
along with three draft picks.
"He's a constant threat,"
said Rangers general man
ager Glen Sather of Bure.
"He's someone who can
score any time he gets the
puck on his stick. He's an
artist. He's a superstar."
A&M football begins spring with a few changes
The Texas A&M football team began
spring practice on Monday with a two-
hour session in shirts, shorts and helmets.
It was the first time the Aggies have
been on the field since their 28-9 victory
over TCU in the
Bowl in Houston.
Linebacker Jared Morris and Jonte
Buhl did not participate in practice on
Monday and are not expected to practice
this spring.
Both are nursing knee injuries with
Morris’ coming in the Texas game and
Buhl’s coming in the bowl game. Punter
Cody Scales missed practice because of a
late class.
Trading Places
The Aggies began spring practice with
a couple of old faces in new places.
Keith Joseph, who played running
back last season, will work out at fullback
this spring and Dwain Goynes, who
played wide receiver last season, will see
time at tailback.
Joseph’s move gives the Aggies
more depth at fullback as Joe Weber
and Stacy Jones are the only other full
backs on the roster.
With the Aggies’ depth at wide receiver,
Goynes’ move helps them use his speed.
“We’re trying to get the best use out
of our players to give us the most com
binations for the fall,” said A&M head
coach R.C. Slocum. “That way we can
be 3-4 deep at tailback and 3-4 deep at
The Numbers Game
With the departure of seniors, some
current players have switched their
Wide receiver Jamaar Taylor, who wore
number 82 last season, is now wearing the
number two of departed linebacker
Christian Rodriguez.
Safety Terrance Kiel has switched from
number 48 to the number eight, which was
worn by Vance Smith last season.
Freshman offensive lineman Brandon
Flanagan, who enrolled in the spring, has
taken over the number 77 from departed
center Seth McKinney.
Flanagan has another distinction — his
size 20 shoes are the largest that Senior
Associate Athletic Director of Facilities
Billy Pickard has ever issued.
Pickard, who was a student trainer
under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant in 1956,
became head trainer in 1965. In 1972, he
• accepted the title of equipment manager in
addition to trainer.
Excellence in Execution
The Aggies have added a new wrinkle
to their practices this season. During the
last session of practice, the offense works
on their play running and conditioning.
“We’re really working on execution ”
Slocum said. “We’re working on plays
and it has to be perfect. We were trying
to get three perfect ones.”
The offense lines up at the 10-yard
line to run a play. The players must
sprint through the play and execute it
perfectly, or coaches start it over.
Prior to the drill, the four groups —
quarterbacks, running backs, receivers
and offensive linemen — go through four
stations of agility drills to tire them out.
Slocum said the reason for the agility
drills before the final exercise is to help the
offense simulate conditions in the fourth
quarter when the team is likely to be tired.
Big 12 basketball success no surprise in NCAA’s
Duke 84-77
Indiana 76-67
Lexington, Ky.
March 21 & 23
Pittsburgh 63-50 I
Kent St. 71-58
UCLA 105-101
I Missouri 83-67 1
San Jose, Calif.
March 21 & 23
I Arizona 68-60
, C-|.
j Oklahoma 78-65 j
2002 NCAA Division
men’s basketball
The Sweet
Maryland 87-57 l
5 ill.
March 30
March 30
; Kentucky 87-82 )
Syracuse, N.Y.
March 22 & 24
i So.llllnois77-75 }
Connecticut 77-74
April 1
Kansas 86-63
„ J
Illinois 72-60
Madison, Wis.
March 22 & 24
All times EST
Oregon 92-87 j
W ith 32 teams remaining in the
men’s and women’s NCAA
tournaments, the nation’s top
teams are being whittled down to a
select few. The contenders are separated
from the pretenders, and as usual, there
have been some surprises
along the way.
Something that has not
been a surprise is the Big
12 Conference’s success in
the postseason.
The Big 12 has proven
to be one of the strongest conferences
in the nation, and one needs to look no
further than the tournament brackets to
see that.
On the men’s side, six teams from
the league were invited to the tourna
ment and four of them have advanced to
the Sweet 16: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas
and Missouri. The two teams that did
not make it, Texas Tech and Oklahoma
State, suffered first-round defeats.
The only other conferences to send
six teams to the big dance were the Big
East and the PAG-10, but only two Big
East teams and three PAG-10 teams are
still alive.
The ACC, a conference whose
name is often batted around as the
nation’s toughest basketball confer
ence, has been mostly top-heavy. Of
the four ACC schools in the tourney,
the two that are still playing are both
No. 1 seeds: Duke and Maryland. The
other two schools. North Carolina
State and Wake Forest, suffered sec
ond-round defeats.
While the ACC, Big East and PAC-
10 are solid conferences, the Big 12 is a
leg up on all three so far in the tourna
ment. Kansas, the Midwest’s No. 1
seed, and OU, the East’s No. 2 seed.
have advanced with relative ease.
UT and Missouri are the Big 12’s
two surprise teams, but even they are
hardly surprises.
Texas and Missouri finished 3-4 in
the Big 12’s regular season race and
are a testament to the
league’s depth, as they
posted upsets en route to
the Sweet 16. Texas
knocked off No. 3-seed-
ed Mississippi State, and
Missouri rolled two top-
five seeds on its way to the third
The case for the Big 12’s hardcourt
dominance is strengthened on the
women’s half of the bracket. The Big
12 sent seven teams to the tournament,
second-most in the nation. Only the
SEC had more, sending eight teams.
But the league leads the nation’s
conferences with all seven teams get
ting top-four seeds and getting to host
first and second-round games. Six of
the seven teams are still alive, and four
have already clinched spots in the
Sweet 16.
The way the women’s teams are
winning is equally impressive.
With their 77-55 win over Mississippi
State, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders made
their fourth-straight appearance in the
regionals. Not to be left out, UT
advanced after ending UC-Santa
Barbara’s 22-game winning streak. Big
12 women have outscored their oppo
nents 937-724 in the tournament.
Although it would be a long shot, it
is possible Oklahoma and Kansas
could end up advancing to the Final
Four in the men’s bracket. The
Sooners are the highest-seeded team
in the west, and Kansas owns the No.
1 seed in the Midwest. A strong run
by those teams could culminate in a
national championship game between
two Big 12 schools, a game that would
be a rematch of the Big 12
Tournament’s championship game.
But regardless of whether or not that
happens, the college basketball world is
seeing what everyone in the Big 12 has
been watching all season: an elite con
ference with elite teams.
True Brown is a sophomore
agricultural journalism major.