The 2018 NCAC Swimming & Diving Championships return to the Trumbull Aquatics Center on the campus of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, for the fifth year in a row. The nation's top Division III conference meet begins on Wednesday, February 14th, and runs through Saturday, February 17th.
The Denison men’s team is the nine-time defending champions, while the Big Red women's team regained their spot at the top of the conference last year after having its seven-year run as league champions stopped by Kenyon in 2016. The Denison men are the only team to defeat Kenyon at the NCAC meet, claiming titles in 1997, and from 2009-2017. The Denison women snapped the Ladies’ 19-year hold on the league crown in 2004, with KC regaining control of the title from 2005-08. DU then reeled off seven-straight championships from 2009-15, with KC regaining the crown in 2016 and the Big Red taking it back last winter. Overall, Kenyon has won 24 of the 33 NCAC titles contested in women’s competition and 23 total titles on the men's side.
Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference consists of 10 academically selective colleges and universities - Allegheny College, Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and the College of Wooster along with affiliate member Earlham College (field hockey). The NCAC sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.
|NCAC Nightly Recaps, Photo Galleries & Interviews
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|Recap||Recap||Recap||Recap (Men) -- Recap (Women)|
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|FINAL TEAM STANDINGS|
|6.||OHIO WESLEYAN||755.0||6.||OHIO WESLEYAN||806.0|
DENISON, which enters the conference meet ranked third in the nation in the TYR/CSCAA Top-25, will rely on an extremely young group of athletes over the course of the four-day meet as its roster is comprised of just three seniors, one junior, 19 sophomores and six freshmen. While the majority of DU's top times this season have been logged by swimmers in the sophomore class, senior Halli Garza (Stockton, CA/Brookside Christian) returns for her final NCAC meet as a four-time conference champion that is also aiming to become the first female swimmer in league history to win four-straight titles in the 200 fly. Leading the way for the star-studded sophomore class is KT Kustritz (St. Paul, MN/Insight School) with seven NCAC titles already to her name from a year ago. Kustritz, who also won six all-American awards last spring, enters the meet with the league's top seed time in two different events, including the 100 breast (1:00.50) and 200 IM (2:01.66), while classmate Zoe Whalen (Memphis, TN/St. Agnes Acad.) is in search of her first-career NCAC title with the league's second-best time to date in both the 100 fly (55.83) and 200 fly (2:04.03). Three additional swimmers from the sophomore class enter the meet with the second-best seed time in an individual event, including Gabriella Nutter (Johannesburg, South Africa/St. Mary's School) in the 50 free (23.51), Casey Kirby (Long Grove, IL/Stevenson) in the 100 back (55.41) and Erica Hsu (Iowa City, IA/West) in the 400 IM (4:25.40). Finally, sophomore diver Allison Fitzgerald (Grand Rapids, MI/Forest Hills Central) will also be expected to score key points for the Big Red as the defending NCAC champion on both the one- and three-meter boards.
KENYON, the top team in the nation in the TYR/CSCAA National Poll, has a loaded roster for the 2018 NCAC Championships that will be anchored by the senior duo of Kanchi Desai (Mumbai, India/Lilavatibai Podar) and Julia Wilson (Bethesda, MD/Sidwell Friends). Desai has positioned herself well to collect her first career NCAC title in an individual event with the league's top time to date in three different events, including the 100 fly (55.61), 200 fly (2:02.51) and 400 IM (4:24.59), while Wilson, a three-time NCAC champion, is again one of the league's top breaststroke specialists with the top time in the 200 (2:14.09) and the second-fastest time in the 100 (1:01.35). A trio of junior swimmers have been the Ladies' top freestyle swimmers this season, led by Hannah Orbach-Mandel (Tucson, AZ/Catalina Foothills) holding the top spot among NCAC swimmers in both the 200 (1:48.43) and 500 (4:56.13). Abby Wilson (Westerville, OH/Columbus Acad.), the 2016 NCAC champion in the 200 free, owns a top-five seed time in three different freestyle events, ranking second in the 100 (51.08), second in the 200 (1:48.94) and fifth in the 50 (23.81), while three-time NCAC champion Marysol Arce (Chicago, IL/St. Ignatius) has posted the NCAC's only sub 17-minute effort in the 1,650 free this season at 16:57.57. Sophomore Kendall Vanderhoof (Glenwood Springs, CO/Glenwood Springs) will challenge that junior trio in the distance freestyle events, ranking second in the NCAC in the 500 (4:57.79), third in the 1,650 (17:11.94) and fourth in the 200 (1:51.29). Freshman Crile Hart (Pepper Pike, OH/Hawken School) has arguably been the top rookie in the NCAC this season with the league's top time to date in both the 100 back (55.01) and 200 back (1:58.90), as well as the second-fastest time in the 200 IM (2:02.83) and the third-best time in the 100 fly (55.98).
DEPAUW will be aiming to post a top-three finish at the NCAC meet for the sixth year in a row, but the Tigers must take a different approach this winter as they enter the championship with one of the youngest rosters in the league. Despite entering the meet with 13 freshmen on the roster, senior Jeanne Cullen (Maplewood, NJ/Willa Maria Acad.) and junior Mary Woods (Carmel, IN/Carmel) will still be expected to produce key points for the Tigers over the four-day stretch. Cullen enters the meet with the 15th-best time in the NCAC in the 400 IM (4:44.09), while Woods owns top-20 seed times in six different individual events, ranking third in the 100 IM (1:01.81), seventh in the 100 breast (1:06.72), 15th in the 200 IM (2:10.75), 16th in the 100 fly (58.45), 17th in the 200 breast (2:34.63) and 19th in the 200 fly (2:16.08). The sophomore duo of Allison Lund (Roseville, CA/Woodcreek) and Olivia Neff (New Albany, OH/New Albany) are the Tigers' top sprint freestyle swimmers this season with Lund owning the league's 21st-fastest time in the 50 (24.52) and Neff sitting 19th among NCAC swimmers in the 100 (53.29), while rookie Rachel Graves (Plainfield, IN/Plainfield) has been the top distance freestyle swimmer, ranking 21st in the league in the 500 (5:12.43) and 14th in the 1,650 (18:01.68). Several other freshmen are expected to make an immediate impact for the Tigers at this year's meet, including Ali Tallen (Mound, MN/Orono), Grance Lund (Roseville, CA/Woodcreek) and Julia Keller (Riverside, IL/Riverside Brookfield).
WOOSTER senior Maggie Layde (Kennesaw, GA/Kennesaw Mtn.) and junior Emma Fikse (Byron Center, MI/Byron Center) will once again lead the Scots at the NCAC Championships. Layde enters her final championship meet with a top-30 seed time in three different events, sitting ninth in the 200 fly (2:10.16), 14th in the 100 fly (58.27) and 30th in the 50 free (25.04), while Fikse sits in the top-30 in four of the freestyle events, ranking 30th in the 100 (54.16), 18th in the 200 (1:55.55), 20th in the 500 (5:11.63) and 15th in the 1,650 (18:03.92). Sophomore Alison Hsu (Iowa City, IA/West) will challenge NCAC opponents in the IM events, ranking 18th in the 200 (2:13.14) and 16th in the 400 (4:46.35), while backstroke specialist Hannah Langer (Prides Crossing, MA/Northfield Mount Herman) leads a strong grouping of Wooster first-year athletes with the league's 22nd-best time in the 100 (1:00.96) and the 19th-fastest time in the 200 (2:11.15).
OBERLIN will depend on youth in the pool and a veteran presence in the diving well as it wraps up its hectic season of travel at the NCAC Championships. The Yeowomen were pushed off campus for both practice and competition this year due to the renovations of the Carr Pool as part of the construction of the brand new Patricia '61 & Merril '61 Shanks Health & Wellness Center. In the diving well, the senior duo of Rachael Andrews (Oberlin, OH/West Acad. of Beijing) and Sofia Moscovitz (Guilford, CT/Guilford) will be aiming to capture All-NCAC honors for the first time in their careers. Between the lane lines, Oberlin will look for immediate production from the rookie tandem of Molly Marshall (Reno, NV/Reno) and Tesla Waters (Greenville, SC/Governor's School) in their first career conference meet. Waters, who enters the meet with the sixth-fastest seed time in the 100 IM at 1:02.33, will also compete for a finals position in the sprint freestyle events, ranking 24th in the NCAC in both the 50 (24.56) and 100 (53.65), while Marshall enters the competition with top-30 seed times in three different events, including the 400 IM (4:47.94 - 17th), 200 IM (2:17.13 - 29th) and 200 fly (2:24.81 - 30th).
ALLEGHENY will rely on a youth movement at this year's championship meet with just three seniors and one junior on the roster, compared to eight sophomores and seven freshmen. Leading the charge for the upperclassmen will be senior diver Rachel Steiner (Bethlehem, PA/Liberty) who recently posted a regional-qualifying score in the one-meter competition at the Chatham Invitational with a score of 462.30. While sophomore Miranda Farley (Cleveland, OH/North Royalton) is the Gators' top mid-distance freestyle swimmer with seed times of 1:57.70 (200) and 5:17.47 (500), the freshmen duo of twin sisters Aimee & Anna Verardi (Pittsburgh, PA/North Allegheny) are expected to be the top point scorers for the Gators this season. The duo's top event this season has been the 100 IM with Aimee holding the league's top seed time at 1:01.33 and Anna just one spot behind in second with a time of 1:01.60. Individually, Anna holds top-15 seed times in both backstroke events, ranking 11th in the 100 (58.51) and 13th in the 200 (2:07.42), while Aimee and classmate Megan Corletti (Monroeville, PA/Oakland Catholic) rank 14th (1:09.49) and 15th (1:09.87), respectively, among NCAC athletes in the 100 breast.
WITTENBERG heads to Granville with senior Samantha Petruzzi (Medina, OH/Medina) looking to close out her career on a high note with the Tigers. She has been one of the top butterfly specialists in the NCAC this season with the 26th-best time in the 100 (1:00.03) and the eighth-fastest time overall in the 200 at 2:10.11. A trio of sophomore swimmers also enter the meet with top-30 seed times for the Tigers, led by Annelise Gibson (Springfield, OH/Kenton Ridge) ranking 23rd in the 100 breast (1:11.27) and 28th in the 200 breast (2:42.60). In addition to Gibson, Joy Longley (Atlanta, GA/North Atlanta) owns the NCAC's 26th-best time in the 100 back (1:01.53) and Marita Banta-Long (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Chesterton) ranks 30th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:18.05.
OHIO WESLEYAN brings one of its largest rosters to the NCAC Championships in recent history and will be looking to make that pay off over the four-day stretch. Sophomore Ty Mansfield (Columbus, OH/Bexley) is the Bishops' top threat heading into the meet with the NCAC's fourth-fastest time this season in the 100 IM (1:02.13), the 14th-best time stamp in the 50 free (24.20) and the 22nd-quickest time in the 100 free (53.61). Mansfield will not be alone in the 100 IM as a pair of her teammates also rank in the top-10 in the event, including junior Alicia Margello (Powell, OH/Bishop Watterson) in ninth (1:03.50) and sophomore Liz Mayio (Bethesda, MD/The Siena School) in 10th (1:03.57). Margello also owns top-15 seed times in both breaststroke events, sitting 13th in the 100 (1:09.37) and 16th in the 200 (2:33.14), while Mayio could also be a factor in the butterfly events with the 22nd-best time in the league in the 200 at 2:16.44. Junior Shannon Bermingham (Orchard Park, NY/Orchard Park) also ranks in the top-30 in both breaststroke events, sitting 21st in the 100 (1:10.93) and 22nd in the 200 (2:38.47). Among its six-member freshmen class, Abby Culbertson (Lawrenceville, GA/Brookwood) is in line to make a splash for OWU with top-30 seed times in both backstroke events and the 400 IM.
HIRAM first-year head coach Austin Veltman will look for key production at the championship meet from junior Sierra Daniels (Mesa, AZ/Dobson) and sophomore Jenna Nelson (Bellevue, WA/Homeschool). Nelson has been Hiram's top threat in numerous different events this season, but her strengths lie in the freestyles as she owns the team's top time to date in all but one of the events, while Daniels has posted the squad's best time this season in three different events, including the 100 fly (1:13.26), 200 fly (2:38.23) and 400 IM (5:42.44). The Terriers also have high expectations for the freshmen duo of Mallory Best (Hilliard, OH/Grove City) and Nicki Prentler (Jenison, MI/Jenison) in their conference meet debut.
DENISON, the top team in the nation in the TYR/CSCAA National Poll, is in search of its 10th-straight NCAC men's swimming & diving championship with a balanced roster that will feature key contributors from both veterans and underclassmen. The senior class is anchored by the duo of Zach Wagner (Seattle, WA/Lakeside) and Jason Wesseling (Hudsonville, MI/Jenison) with 12 combined NCAC titles under their belts. Wagner, who won all five of his titles in 2017, enters the meet with the conference's best time to date in both the 50 free (20.33) and 100 free (44.83), while Wesseling is going for the sweep of the backstroke events for the second year in a row with the second-best seed time in both the 100 (49.29) and 200 (1:48.46). In addition, classmate Stuart Hohm (Springfield, IL/Glenwood), a four-time NCAC champion, is the Big Red's top mid-distance freestyle specialist this season, trailing only Wagner in the 100 with a seed time of 44.94 and owning the league's third-best time in the 500 (4:28.08) and the fifth-fastest time in the 200 (1:38.65). Two members of the junior class own the NCAC's top time to date in an individual event, including Matthew Hedman (Anoka, MN/Anoka) in the 1,650 free (15:36.30) and Kenny Fox (Juneau, AK/Thunder Mountain) in the 100 fly (48.15). Two-time NCAC champion Ryan Stevenson (Madeira, OH/Madeira) and Tiernan Foster-Smith (Edina, MN/The Blake School) are also expected to make key contributions from the junior class, with Foster-Smith owning the second-best time in the 100 breast (55.13) and Stevenson posting the third-fastest time in both the 200 breast (2:01.24) and 200 IM (1:50.86). Finally, sophomore Bebe Wang (Naperville, IL/Metea Valley) is the top underclassmen on the Big Red's roster with the NCAC's top seed time in the 200 back (1:47.48), and the second-best time in both the 200 IM (1:48.87) and 400 IM (3:55.55).
KENYON, ranked second in the nation in the TYR/CSCAA Top-25, has its sights set on breaking Denison's 10-year run as NCAC men's champions as the Lords enter the meet with the league's top seed time in six of the 13 swimming events. Senior Matt Leenhouts (Blandon, PA/Fleetwood Area) owns two of the top time stamps in the 200 free (1:37.69) and 200 IM (1:48.72), while junior Jon Zimdars (Whitewater, WI/Whitewater), the 2016 NCAC champion in the 200 fly, owns the top time in that event again this season at 1:46.43. Sophomore Connor Rumpit (Brookfield, WI/Central), the 2017 NCAC Newcomer of the Year, is looking to secure his second-straight title in the 500 free with a seed time of 4:27.33, while classmates Ben Baturka (Drexel Hill, PA/Episcopal Acad.) and Mick Bartholomew (Boulder, CO/Boulder) sit atop the NCAC rankings in the 100 back (48.15) and 400 IM (3:53.36), respectively. Six KC swimmers also rank second in the NCAC in an individual event this season, including Rumpit in the 1,650 free (15:43.79), junior Robert Williams (Gambier, OH/Mt. Vernon) in the 200 free (1:38.15), freshman Tim Hagemeister (Mason, OH/Seven Hills) in the 500 free (4:27.39), junior Humphrey Pruett (Minneapolis, MN/Blake School) in the 200 breast (2:00.65), junior A.J. Reid (North Bay Village, FL/Design & Architecture) in the 100 IM (53.20) and freshman David Fitch (Conway, MA/Williston Northampton) in the 100 fly (48.49).
DEPAUW, ranked 18th in the nation in the TYR/CSCAA Top-25, will rely on an eight-member senior class to lead an otherwise young roster at the 2018 NCAC Championships. Sam McManus (Terrace Park, OH/Mariemont), the 2017 NCAC runner-up in the 100 breast, leads the Tigers' senior contingent this year as he enters the meet as the NCAC's top performer to date in both the 100 breast (54.31) and 200 breast (1:59.86), while Kurt Swieter (East Grand Rapids, MI/East) and Mitchell Davis (St. Joseph, MI/St. Joseph) will also be key contributors from the senior class. Swieter looks to make an impact in mid-distance freestyle events, ranking 15th in the 500 (4:37.87) and 18th in the 200 (1:41.37), while Davis is the squad's top IM specialist with the 15th-best time in the league in the 200 (1:55.53) and the 21st-fastest time in the 400 (4:11.41). Outside of McManus, sophomore Aidan Schurig (Shelby Twp., MI/Notre Dame Prep) ranks ninth among NCAC swimmers in the 50 free at 20.96 seconds. In addition, junior Adam Pircon (Hinsdale, IL/Central) has shown his versatility in the pool this season with a top-30 seed time in five different events, ranking sixth in the 100 IM (54.23), 15th in the 200 back (1:53.86), 22nd in the 500 free (4:41.65), 24th in the 1,650 free (17:22.93) and 27th in the 100 free (1:42.92).
WOOSTER, which finished fourth at the NCAC Championships last year for its highest finish since 2007, must rely on a strong junior class to maintain its position in the top-four this winter. Among that grouping of juniors, Griffin Campbell (Williamston, MI/Williamston) owns the top ranking in an individual event among NCAC swimmers as he sits third in the 100 IM at 53.67, while Garrett Layde (Kennesaw, GA/Kennesaw Mtn.) ranks in the top-20 in the NCAC in two different events with the 12th-best time in the 200 fly (1:53.14) and the 18th-fastest time in the 200 IM (1:56.49). Classmate Cameron Gelwicks (Zionsville, IN/Community), the NCAC Athlete of the Week selection on January 22nd, ranks 15th in the NCAC in the 200 free (1:40.81) and 21st in the 100 free (46.60), while sophomore Trey Schopen (McHenry, IL/Community) looks to score points for the Scots in the butterfly events, ranking 23rd in the 100 (51.96) and 21st in the 200 (1:56.51).
WABASH junior diver Aaron Embree (Springville, IN/Bedford North Lawrence) anchors the 2018 Little Giant squad as the lone returning All-NCAC performer from a year ago. He finished third overall last winter in the one-meter diving competition with a score of 425.60 points. In the pool, junior Chris Dabrowski (Highland, IN/Highland) sits in the top-10 in the NCAC in the 1,650 free with the eighth-fastest seed time of 16:05.49, while rookie Jan Dziadek (Warsaw, Poland) enters the meet with the league's top time to date in the 100 IM (51.56) and the seventh-quickest time in the 200 IM (1:53.49). Sophomore Hunter Jones (Champaign, IL/Central) has established himself as the squad's top breaststroke specialist, ranking ninth in the league in the 100 (57.07) and 10th overall in the 200 (2:05.50), while freshman Ben Klimczak (La Porte, IN/La Porte) has mastered the backstroke in his rookie campaign with the conference's 14th-best mark in the 100 (51.97) and the 13th-best time in the 200 (1:53.11).
ALLEGHENY is another NCAC squad that enters the conference meet with a youth-filled roster this season. In fact, the 14-man Gator roster features just two uppclassmen in senior Joe Tingley (Queensbury, NY/Queensbury) and junior Brian Corletti (Monroeville, PA/Catholic Central). Like its women's squad, Allegheny must rely on the underclassmen duo of sophomore Justin Katchur (Irwin, PA/Hempfield) and freshman Logan Indest (Columbus, OH/Worthington Kilbourne) to log key points over the four-day meet. Katchur will vie for a finals spot in both breaststroke events, holding the league's 13th-best time in the 100 (58.15) and the 16th-fastest time in the 200 (2:10.00), while Indest enters the meet with the NCAC's 15th-best time in the 200 fly (1:55.12) and the 16th-best time stamp in the 1,650 free (16:39.88).
OHIO WESLEYAN will rely heavily on junior Chris Ruiyantoro (San Jose, CA/Independence) and sophomore Aman Ngqakayi (Yellow Springs, OH/Yellow Springs) to lead the Bishops at the 2018 conference meet. Ruiyantoro, who will show his strengths in numerous different events over the course of the meet, has his best shot at securing an All-NCAC certificate in the 100 IM with the fourth-best seed time at 53.94 seconds. He also ranks in the top-30 in the NCAC in three other events, including the 100 back (53.45 - 26th), 200 back (1:56.75 - 19th) and 200 fly (2:04.06 - 27th). Ngqakayi has shown his strength in the breaststroke events with the league's 20th-best time in the 100 (59.09) and the 19th-fastest time in the 200 (2:11.87). The Bishops will also look for production from a trio of swimmers that also own top-30 seed times, including senior Cooper Comstock (Fairlawn, OH/Copley), junior Ben Whitbourn (Norwich, UK/Wymondham College) and sophomore Colin Hawes (Delaware, OH/Columbus St. Charles). In addition, freshman Trey Serbin (Sewickley, PA/North Allegheny) will make his debut at the conference meet looking to pick up All-Conference accolades in one of the two diving events.
OBERLIN brings a roster comprised almost entirely of second-year athletes to Granville for the conference meet, highlighted by the duo of Michael Lin (Sugar Land, TX/William P. Clements) and Jack McKeown (University Park, MD/Eleanor Roosevelt). Lin ranks among the league's top performers in three different events, which includes owning the 11th-fastest effort in the 100 IM at 54.67 seconds. He has also posted top-20 seed times in both breaststroke events, ranking 16th in the 100 (58.28) and 12th in the 200 (2:07.36). McKeown looks to make his impact in the sprint freestyle events with the Yeomen's top times this season in both the 100 free (49.49) and 200 free (1:47.53). Oberlin can also look for immediate production from its freshman duo of breaststroke and butterfly specialist Michael Liu (Princeton Junction, NJ/West Windsor-Plainsboro) and distance freestyle specialist Farzad Sarkari (Sugar Land, TX/Dulles).
WITTENBERG senior Lucas George (Brecksville, OH/Independence) and junior Sam Bott (Des Moines, IA/Dowling) both own top-30 seed times to lead the Tigers into competition at the NCAC Championships. Bott posted the NCAC's 20th-best time this season in the 1,650 free at 17:10.76, while George owns the 30th-fastest mark in the 200 breast with a time of 2:16.66. Bott will also be a factor in the 500 free as he is the only Tiger swimmer to post a sub five-minute time this year in the event at 4:54.88. In addition, senior Kyle Smith (Springboro, OH/Springboro) is the squad's top sprint freestyle swimmer with seed times of 21.92 (50) and 49.30 (100), while rookie Connor Flanagan (Columbus, OH/Whetstone) owns Wittenberg's top performances this season in both backstroke events with times of 57.05 (100) and 2:04.94 (200).
HIRAM, under the direction of first-year head coach Austin Veltman, brings a good mix of veteran and rookie performers to the conference meet this season. Seniors Jordan Canevari (Vero Beach, FL/Saint Edward) and Jory Gomes (Elk Grove, CA/Cosmnes Oaks) have combined to post the Terriers' top times this season in five different events, with Canevari leading the charge in the distance freestyle events and Gomes topping the list in both individual medley events. Junior Reeve Bowling (Minneapolis, MN/Thomas Jefferson) and freshman Brady Gunther (Poway, CA/Poway) are also looking to make an impact for the Terriers in Granville. Bowling tops the team's list in the 100 breast, while Gunther owns the top mark on the squad in both backstroke events.