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Monday, April 9, 1984The Daily Tar Heel7
The best team without
a chance to prove it
Not many people know what school North Carolina passed
this season to lay claim to the best winning percentage in college
basketball since 1976. Maybe it's the institution's size, or lack
thereof: enrollment hovers around 1,600, occasionally balloon
ing to a whopping 1,700. But probably it's the team's virtually
nonexistent postseason: conference rules forbid a member
school's participation in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Hamilton College, a tiny liberal arts school in the Adirondack
foothills of Clinton, N.Y., has won 81.1 percent of its games the
past nine seasons a figure second only to the Tar Heels' 82
percent. And yet coach Tom Murphy's Continentals have never
won a national championship. The New England Small College
Athletic Conference won't allow them to try.
In what seems like an immoderate effort to keep athletics in
perspective, the NESCAC, of which Hamilton is one of 11
members, prohibits team competition more than seven days
beyond the Saturday of the final week of the regular season.
Since the regular season can't extend past the first Saturday in
March, the NCAA Tournament is too late in the month to
facilitate a NESCAC team's participation. Even if the tourna
ment were sooner, teams would still be prohibited from playing
because NESCAC rules prevent members from competing in
any games that lead to further competition.
"They just feel like it takes too much time away from classes
at the end of the season, and the kids are here to get an educa
tion," Murphy said. "I argue the other side of the coin; I think
it's a great educational experience."
Most any coach could stand to learn a lesson or two from
Murphy. Beginning his coaching career with a national high
school record of 83 consecutive victories at Belleville (N.Y.)
High, Murphy has since put together seven 20-game winners in
14 years at Hamilton. This despite a NESCAC-mandated max
imum of 26 games per season.
What makes Murphy's success rate most impressive are the
recruiting obstacles he's had to overcome along the way. As a
Division III school, Hamilton can offer no athletic scholarships,
which is not the case with some of the teams on its schedule. The
NESCAC also imposes a number of unusual recruiting restric
tions on member institutions, including disallowing coaches to
visit recruits off campus. That Hamilton is one of the nation's
best liberal arts schools it sends most every graduate to a first
rate medical or law school and has the entrance requirements
to match further handcuffs Murphy.
"If we find a player that's a good student, right away we're
banging heads with the Ivy League," he said. "If he's not a
good student, then he's not going to get in anyway."
Six eventual All-Americans have got in since Murphy has
been at Hamilton, including Cedric Oliver, two-time Division
III player of the year. Oliver was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks
in the seventh round of the 1979 NBA draft and lasted through
the final cut before being released. Players of Oliver's caliber are
rare at Hamilton, however, where Murphy makes the most of
"in-between sizers," major college oversights and rejects.
The Continentals started a 6-5 junior, Larry Kollath, at center
in 1984. The Camillus, N.Y., native said that Hamilton at
tracted the borderline Division I player who didn't want to
spend his games on the bench, and that though there were
Hamilton players who could make the team at a small Division I
school, big-time college ball was a pipedream.
"At a North Carolina, I'd be shaking pom poms on the side
lines with everybody else," said Kollath, who led the Conti
nentals in scoring and rebounding.
With postseason play limited to a four-team Eastern College
Athletic Conference tournament for upstate New York schools,
' KHM!MHaia,Harrftltorfi2d'iti?ame of the year 26 times over.
; imafToHai hampi'OT ScTawdtftPa.) by 18 poiriti during the'
regular season; the year before it had toppled runnerup
Potsdam (N.Y.) State by the same margin.
"Every game is that much more important to us, because we
don't have any postseason," Kollath said. "We're out for blood
And in to study as soon as they shower, except for Murphy.
He goes home to dream about the test his team never gets to
take and could probably ace more times than not.
Nesbit beats the clock, stiff wind to shatter track record
By BOB YOUNG
Joan Nesbit was a little over 30 seconds into
the 5,000 meter race at the Carolina-Duke
Track Carnival before she took the lead. From
that moment on, her enemies were the clock
and a stiff wind at Wallace Wade Stadium in
Instead of using these factors for excuses,
the UNC senior considered them challenges
and mastered them impressively as she went
on to win the event in a time of 15:52.9, just
one of the solid performances put in by the
Tar Heels Friday and Saturday.
Nesbifs time is the fastest so far this year by
an American woman and shattered the Olym
pic qualifying standard of 16:31 in the vent.
Before the race, Nesbit had a goal of bettering
her best time from last year, a 16:32.87 clock
ing, and had a "radical" goal of running near
"I like running by myself and I'm usually a
pretty good front-runner," Nesbit said. "Peo
ple are telling me that I could have had a super
time if it wasn't for the wind, but I just con
sidered it a challenge and concentrated harder
when I was running into it."
Nesbit said she is planning to run the 10,000
meter event at the ACC championships in two
weeks. After that, she'll decide which of the
two races she wants to run at the NCAA
Nesbit wasn't the only Tar Heel to have an
impressive meet, as four other North Carolina
competitors won their events.
Among the women, freshman Sherrie
MacKinney won the women's javelin with a
toss of 151-2, which set a meet record by near
ly 10 feet. Her teammate Katy Howard, was
fifth in the event with a throw of 118-2.
Shunta Robinson also set a meet record by
winning the shot put with a throw of 46-2, bet
tering the old mark by six inches.
Madlyn Morreale was the victor in the
women's 10,000 meter with a time of 36:08.3.
In the same event, Kathy Norcross came in
third in 37:34.5.
UNC had second place finishers in the high
jump and discus as Janet Bean cleared 5-4,
and Connie Price tossed the disc 119-4.
Third place finishes for the Tar Heels were
locked up by Diane Thomas in the 100 meter
hurdles (14.27), and Alisa Murray in the 400
Meanwhile, the UNC men's team had one
individual victor in the javelin as Curt Sheaf
fer unloaded a toss of 237-10 to take the event.
In the pole vault, two North Carolina com
petitors finished in a tie for second place. Kim
mey Seymore and David Beck both finished
The team's other second place finish was
claimed by Nate Sheaffer in the shot put, with
a throw of 48-7 V.
The discus and high jump competitions
gave UNC fourth place finishes as Mel Landis
threw 147-10 and Mark Schaller cleared a
height of 6-8.
In the distance events, Tom Bobrowski
finished in fifth place in the steeplechase with
a clocking of 9:23.1. The Tar Heels' David
Schnorrenberg took fifth in the 10,000 meters
with a time of 32:27.8.
The most outstanding individual perfor
mance in the meet was turned in by Villanova's
Patty Bradley. Bradley won the 400 meter
hurdles in meet record time and finished se
cond in the 100 meter hurdles. She also won
the 800 meter run and helped Villanova to a
victory in the 1,600 meter relay.
For Thomas, wins were as easy as stepping on a track
By SCOTT SMITH
When North Carolina freshman hurdler
Diane Thomas was in high school, winning
races was as easy as stepping on the track.
From the time she was 11, Thomas piled up
credentials that would make any athlete
proud. Some of those achievements included
being a three-time Maryland state champion,
runner-up in the 1982 Junior Olympic
100-meter hurdles (a . race in which she ran
under the Olympic trial qualifying standards),
1982 TAC 17-18 national 100-meter hurdles
champion and seven age-group national titles.
It was apparent that she was the premier
prep hurdler in the country when recruiters
began knocking on her door during her senior
year. Thomas' hurdling abilities were sought
by more than 40 major college track programs
across the nation.
Thomas said that becoming a Tar Heel was
a last-second decision and that an outstanding
track program was not the only criterion con
sidered in making her decision.
"Academically, and in a lot of other ways, I
liked Carolina much better than others after
my visit," Thomas said. "I didn't want to go
to those other schools just because they had a
great track team."
When Thomas entered UNC and started
running during the indoor season, she found
that victories were not as easy to come by on
the major college level as they had been in high
school. Although she placed well in several
races and missed qualifying for the NCAA in
door nationals by only 0.01 of a second,
Thomas said she got down on herself.
"When I first started running indoor here 1
was really gung-ho and ready to set the world
on fire," Thomas said. "Coming out of high
school I never got beat in anything, and it sort
of devastated me. I was getting so intense and
expecting so much of myself, that, when it
wasn't happening (winning), I got distressed."
However, after talking with coach Skip
Miller and . re-evaluating her attitude, she
changed her mental stance.
"I talked to Skip and he said I was wanting
too much, too soon and that it was going to
take time," she said. "I soon realized it was
not going to happen every time out (winning)
and that it was just going to be a matter of ad
justing." Adjustment seems to be a major theme in
Thomas' first year. She admits that the transi
tion, both athletically and academically, to
college has been a trying one.
"On the track it's been pretty hard,"
Thomas said. "I had one coach for nine years
(Olympic hurdle coach Jack Griffin) and get
ting used to a new coach was really different.
Academically it is really tough because I'm
trying to get into business school and the
hours I put in at the track, which is a lot, take
time away from my studying."
No matter how difficult the transition to
college has been for Thomas, the future still
looks bright for her. UNC coaches said her
potential is enormous.
The 1988 Olympics would seem to be a
realistic goal for Thomas. By that time, if
everything goes according to plan, she should
be ready to compete with the best hurdlers in
Thomas said her biggest sports thrill to date
was competing in the Vitalis Invitational
Track Meet at the Meadowlands in East
Rutherford, N.J. In that meet she went up
against world-class 100-meter hurdlers Benita
Fitzgerald, Candy Young and Stephanie
"Just standing on the line next to them was
thrilling," Thomas said. "I was so nervous
when the race started that it affected my per
formance and I didn't do too well."
" One can hazard a guess that if Thomas faces
Fitzgerald, Young and Hightower again in a
few years she will not be nervous and she will
not be satisfied with just competing against
them. She will be satisfied with only one thing
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Diane Thomas has changed her mental attitude since coming to UNC
...the freshman hurdler was one of the nation's top prep recruits
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1984 Tribune Company Syndicate, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
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