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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Inexperience rules in the back of the pack

23 of 34 riders in last three rows will make Little 500 debut

Inexperienced competitors can be a big influence on the outcome of a sporting event, and the Little 500 is no exception.\nThe back of the men's field is where much of the inexperience for this year's Little 500 is placed. 23 of the 34 riders in the final three rows are rookie competitors.\nRow 9\nSi Senor (2:46.690)\nFour of those rookie riders comprise Si Senor, a team led by senior captain Jared Micklos. Senior Troy Otte and sophomores Bill Soukup and Jay Walter round out the Si Senor roster.\nMicklos said the team's lack of experience will set them back at race time.\n"With the exception of the spring series activities, we are really at a deficiency to all the other teams that have had that past race experience," Micklos said. "Team members and the coach from the Fratello team have been very helpful and given us some pointers. That has been a big help for us so far."\nForest (2:47.281)\nThe Forest team is the most experienced team in the final three rows, as it has three returning riders. Senior captain Lucas Calhoun, and sophomores Joey Pumo and Kevin Simonelic all raced last year. Freshman Neal Patel is the lone rookie on the Forest squad.\nPumo and Simonelic were the fastest riders for the Forest team in the Individual Time Trials this year as they placed 69th and 75th, respectively. Pumo said his time was 13 seconds faster than his time from last year, and he believes the team has a realistic chance to finish in the top 15.\nAlpha Phi Omega (M) (2:47.373)\nSenior veteran rider Matt Pflieger leads the Alpha Phi Omega men's squad into the race as one of two teams in the last three rows with only three riders. The other riders are junior Dan Moore and sophomore Kyle Fellerhoff.\nPflieger thought having three riders would have an affect on the team's performance in the race.\n"Realistically we aren't trying to win the race," Pflieger said. "Our goal is to hold our position or try to move up. We will try to catch on to wheels of people who are not in the pack and trying to stay out there much longer than other people would."\nRow 10\nDelta Chi (2:47.478)\nLike Alpha Phi Omega, Delta Chi consists of only three competitors. Juniors Justin Hiday, the team captain, and Pat Thomas are returning riders, and junior Dan Jeff is a rookie.\nHiday said he doesn't believe his team will be hindered by having only three riders.\n"We have worked very hard and gotten our endurance up," he said. "A lot of teams don't really utilize their fourth riders that much anyway, so I think we can handle it. Hopefully we can prove everybody wrong that three riders can do well."\nDelta Sigma Pi (M) (2:47.946)\nJunior Drew Marsch is the only returning rider for the Delta Sigma Pi team, which is also composed of three rookies -- senior Nathan Bruce, junior Drew Buser and sophomore Kelly Cantwell.\nCoach Todd Paulus, a Delta Sigma Pi senior, is confident his team will be able to improve on its 28th-place finish from last year.\n"These guys have been working a lot harder than our teams have been working in the past," Paulus said. "I think we should have a pretty good finish for our team. They could do a lot better than they qualified, because their strong suit is more endurance, rather than sprinting."\nWillkie (2:49.119)\nThe Willkie team is also made up of one veteran and three rookie riders. Junior captain Chris Shickles is the lone veteran, while junior Scott McCarthy and sophomores Ed Fujawa and Jeremy Hess are all rookies.\n"They have all worked really hard," Shickles said of his rookie teammates. "I think they have picked up things better than I did last year as a rookie. I try to help them with the experience factor about what it will be like on race day and with our race strategy."\nRow 11\nDelta Upsilon (2:49.667)\nThe Delta Upsilon team starts in the same position (31) in which they started last year, when the team was able to move up seven positions and finish 24th.\nJunior captain Christian Blaine and senior Mike Reed are returning riders for the Delta Upsilon squad. They will be joined by rookies Brian Lower and Steve Aksamit, both sophomores.\nBlaine said he hopes the team can get to the front early in an attempt to avoid the wreck likely in the middle or back of the pack.\nPhi Sigma Kappa (2:49.954)\nFour sophomore rookie riders make up the race-day roster for Phi Kappa Sigma. Captain Chris Camerucci and teammates Paul Myrda, Ryan Kane and Rob Lynes will all be making their first Little 500 appearances.\nCamerucci said the team's lack of experience and a coach has led it to seek assistance from experienced riders. He said the team was pleased to qualify and would like to improve on its starting position in the race.\n"We are going to try and do our best on the track," Camerucci said. "We want to place in the teens; that is our goal for the race."\nLambda Chi Alpha (2:50.000)\nThree more rookie riders compose the Lambda Chi Alpha team, including sophomore captain Josh Armstrong. Junior Pat Morrison and senior Nick Jasper are also first-year riders, while senior Josh Caves will be competing in his fourth Little 500.\nArmstrong believes the team can do better than its qualifying effort.\n"Half our team hadn't practiced the week of qualifications and we didn't have it down yet," Armstrong said. "We want to move up quickly and then whoever is on the bike has to pick up a couple of spots and never move back. We think we can finish top 15 if we can stay out of wrecks and penalty problems"

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