The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 11   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS MICHIGAN'S TOP PERFORMERS Football freshman Ben Bredeson: The 6-5, 310-pound offensive lineman was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America after playing in every game this season and getting eight starts at left guard. The four-star recruit from Hartland, Wis., was also named All-Big Ten honorable mention in his first season in Ann Arbor. He cracked the starting lineup this season after an injury to sopho- more Grant Newsome reshuffled the line. Tennis sophomore Kate Fahey: The prod- uct of Fair Haven, N.J., was ranked as the No. 20 singles player in the country in the first Intercollegiate Tennis Associa- tion Poll of the year Jan. 4. She was 9-4 in fall play and is up 41 spots from her year-end ITA ranking following her rookie campaign. Fahey was named All-Big Ten after her freshman sea- son at Michigan. Basketball freshman Kysre Gondrezick: The former Michigan Miss Bas- ketball from Benton Harbor earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades Dec. 26 after scoring a game-high 19 points in an 82-33 win over American Dec. 22. Through 19 games, she was the Wolverines' third-leading scorer with 13.4 points per game and was third on the team with 52 assists. Swimming and diving junior Emily Kopas: The Davie, Fla., native set meet records at the Orange Bowl Classic in the 50- and 100-me- ter breaststroke events, with times of 31.93 and 1:09.37, re- spectively. She also finished sec- ond in the 200-meter individual medley. The performance earned her Big Ten Swimmer of the Week honors. Swimming and diving senior Vinny Tafuto: The Hummesltown, Pa., native began the new year by earning Big Ten Swimmer of the Week honors after winning both the 50- and 100-meter butter fly events at the Orange Bowl Clas- sic Jan. 3. His time of 23.79 sec- onds in the 50 was a meet record, and he also was a part of the winning 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter medley relays at the meet. He is a three-time NCAA All-American as a part of Michigan's 200-yard freestyle relay. — Leland Mitchinson MAIZE AND BLUE NOTEBOOK MICHIGAN LANDS THREE GAMES IN 2016'S TOP TV RATINGS OUTSIDE NFL/OLYMPICS With the Olympics and NFL removed — because they dominate the television rankings so much — three Michigan football games were among the top 50 most-viewed sporting events of 2016, according to The season-ending matchup between Ohio State and Michigan drew 16.84 million viewers, and it was 2016's most-viewed college football game outside of the two 2016-17 Col- lege Football Playoff semifinals and last year's national championship tilt between Alabama and Clemson. Though Michigan ended its last two seasons with bowl games, both fell in the 2016 calendar year and also made the list. The Orange Bowl loss to Florida State was No. 25 with 11.7 million viewers, while the Citrus Bowl victory last January had 8.76 million viewers and was No. 45 on the list. The list was topped by game seven of the World Series between the Cubs and Indians, which drew 40.05 million viewers. HOCKEY SOPHOMORE HELPS USA TO GOLD The U.S. Junior National Team won gold at the International Ice Hockey World Junior Champion- ship, with the help of Michigan sophomore Joseph Cecconi. The defenseman played in each of the team's seven games on the way to earning the gold medal, and he contributed two assists during the championship run. The last gold for the U.S. was in 2013, though the team came home with bronze from last year's tournament. He is the 44th Wol- verine (36th American) to play in the tournament. Cecconi, a native of Youngstown, N.Y., appeared in all 38 of the Wol- verines' games last year as a fresh- man and ended the season with a plus-10 rating. The No. 133 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Dallas Stars has two assists in his sopho- more campaign through the first 18 games. FOOTBALL HIGH IN EARLY 2017 TOP-25 LISTS Following the national championship game, many sports outlets around the country produced early looks at the top 25 college football teams heading into next year and Michigan was near the top on many of the lists. The Wolverines' placement on the list ranged from No. 4 in the USA Today version of the poll to No. 15 in's top 25. For many compiling these lists, the biggest concern about Michigan heading into next year is the loss of experience they will undergo, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Pro Football Focus — which had the Wolverines at No. 9 nationally and third in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State at No. 3 and Penn State at No. 7 — wrote: "The 2016 team was led by an elite defense, but most of the starters on that side of the ball will be off to try their luck in the NFL, so it's likely that the defense falls off a little while the next wave settle in." Despite the range in early rankings, it is clear that most believe there will be little drop-off, if any, for Michigan football in 2017. — Leland Mitchinson Sophomore Joseph Cecconi tallied seven assists in his debut campaign last year and has two in his first 18 appearances of 2016-17. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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