College notes: Poole’s 3 headlines stellar weekend for Michigan athletics

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Stevan Micic

Jordan Poole may have stolen the show with that scissors-kick, buzzer-beater to send John Beilein and Co. to the Sweet 16.

But he wasn't the only Michigan Wolverine athlete to enjoy a heckuva weekend.

The Michigan women's swimming-and-diving team placed fourth at the NCAA championships, and the wrestling team tied for fourth at the NCAAs.

Meanwhile, Michigan freshman Sarah Schaefer tossed the eighth perfect game in the history of the softball program.

In swimming and diving, Michigan took fourth in Columbus, Ohio, the program's first top-four finish since 1996.

Three swimmers earned runner-up finishes, including the 800-yard freestyle relay (junior Catie DeLoof, junior Siobhan Haughey, junior Yirong Bi and senior Gabby DeLoof), Haughey in the 200-yard freestyle and sophomore Miranda Tucker in the 100-yard breaststroke.

"This is a special team that did incredible things this year, and it starts with the leadership from our senior class," head coach Mike Bottom said of a class that went from a 22nd-place finish three years ago to top-four this year out of 44 teams.

Haughey also earned All-America status in the 100 free (fourth) and Tucker in the 200 breaststroke (fourth). Haughey, Catie DeLoof and Gabby DeLoof finished fifth in the 400 free relay and sixth in the 200 free relay, joined by freshman Daria Pyshnenko.

Others earning All-America honors included seniors G Ryan (sixth, 1,650 free; eighth, 500 free) and Clara Smiddy (fifth, 200 backstroke) and sophomore Vanessa Krause (seventh, 200 butterfly).

The men's swimming-and-diving championships are this week in Minneapolis.

The wrestling team's fourth-place finish in Cleveland was led by sophomore Stevan Micic (133 pounds) and graduate student Adam Coon (heavyweight), who had runner-up finishes, falling in their respective championship matches. Others earning All-America status included sophomore Myles Amine (third, 174), junior Alex Pantaleo (fifth, 157) and fifth-year senior Domenic Aboundader (fifth, 184).

The team finish was Michigan's best finish since 2005.

And in softball, Schaefer made history in a five-inning, 14-0 victory over Robert Morris in Oxford, Ohio, on Sunday. She retired all 15 batters she faced, striking out six of them. She needed just 49 pitches, and only one ball left the infield. It was Michigan's first perfect game since 2010.

No. 19 Michigan (22-6) plays its home opener Wednesday against Central Michigan.

Also last weekend, the Michigan women's gymnastics team won its fourth Big Ten regular-season championship in the last six years.

Going out in style

Michigan wrestling coach Joe McFarland went out in style, announcing his retirement following the team's impressive run in Cleveland – which just so happens to be his hometown.

"My wife and I had been thinking about the right time for me to step away, and what better place to end my career than in the city where I grew up," McFarland said. "It has been such a wonderful opportunity for me to be a student-athlete at Michigan and then return to coach at my alma mater. It's been a great journey, and I look forward to the next chapter as a Wolverine fan and supporter."

McFarland coached 19 seasons at Michigan, guiding the program to three Big Ten dual-meet championships and 11 top-100 finishes at the NCAAs, including this weekend.

The best showing was a runner-up finish in 2005.

McFarland's 214 wins are third in program history, behind Cliff Keen (274) and Dale Bahr (221), who was McFarland's coach when he wrestled. He was All-American all four years as a wrestler at Michigan.

"Throughout his career, Joe has developed championship-caliber wrestlers as well as leaders within our community," athletic director Warde Manuel said. "We are thankful for his contributions and wish him well in retirement."

This and that

* There's been no updates on Oakland's search for an athletic director, despite Jeff Konya leaving in January for the job at Northeastern – though it won't be men's basketball coach Greg Kampe. He's been offered the job before, but declined because administrators wouldn't let him do both. Padraic McMeel is serving as interim AD.

* Cory Hall is the new secondary coach for Central Michigan football, coming to Kalamazoo after two seasons coaching cornerbacks at Oregon State.

* In more wrestling, Eastern Michigan redshirt sophomore Sa'Derian Perry placed eighth at 141 pounds to become Eastern Michigan's first All-American wrestler since 1999.

* In more swimming, Eastern Michigan junior Delaney Duncan finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke for All-America honors. It was the top-place finish in the program’s history.

* Wayne State men's golf won its fifth tournament of the season over the weekend in North Carolina, with junior Nikolas' Senkowski (Auburn Hills Avondale) the medalist at 2-under.

* And Michigan men’s lacrosse, under first-year coach Kevin Conry, is off to its first 5-0 home start in program history with Saturday’s 12-7 win over Marquette.