It should be an interesting season once again in the ODAC, though the great interest won’t be at the top of the ranks where we expect Washington & Lee to roll to both titles once again. The race for second, however, between Randolph-Macon and up-and-coming Roanoke, should be very interesting on both sides, and the order of the teams in the bottom half of both races could come down to who has the better relay finishes.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Washington & Lee – The Generals dominated the ODAC in 2017-18, and that’s not going to change in the slightest in 2018-19. Eleven of the top 12 individual scorers at the ODAC Championships were from WLU, and all 18 Generals scored 37 points or more at the league meet. Only two of those 18 scorers graduated in Cassidy Fuller (47 pts., 2 relays, 3 HMAA relays) and Mara Tynan (40). Returning among the Generals’ abundance of riches is 2018 ODAC Swimmer of the Meet Emily Hageboeck (60, 2r, 2IM/1BR/2BR champ), a First Team All-American in the 200 Breast (7th) and Honorable Mention in the 100 Breast and 200 Medley Relay. Ali MacQueen (54, 4r, 1FL champ) was the lone other WLU swimmer to garner individual All-America honors with an HM honor in the 100 Fly (also earned HMAA on three relays), while Elle Chancey (60, 4r, 50/100/200 champ, 4 HMAA), Kelly Amar (54, 1r, 2FL champ, 2 HMAA), Ashley Johnston (49, 2r, 1 HMAA), Caroline Florence (41, 1r, 1HMAA), and Tori Hester (37, 1r, 1 HMAA) all also earned HM All-America honors on General relays. Along with All those All-Americans, WLU also returns Taylor Ecleberry (52, 1r, 4IM champ) and ODAC Rookie of the Meet Mattie Grant (51, 500/1650 champ) and gets 2017 ODAC 2FL champ Laura Bruce back after missing 17-18. All seven newcomers could score 40+ points right away but will be fighting each other and teammates for scoring roster spots. Caroline Baber (23.94/52.59/1:53.47, 1:00.87/2:12.8 BA, 1:04.3/2:21.4 BR, 57.69 FL, 2:04.6/4:25.8 IM) is the best of the crop on paper and could win multiple conference titles, while Claudia Barnett (24.24/52.19/1:58/5:38, 1:08/2:27.9 BR, 1:00.4 FL, 2:12.6/4:53 IM), Turner Bobbitt (24.8/53.1/1:56.7/5:18.2, 57.67/2:07.1 BA, 57.99/2:14.9 FL, 2:10.9/4:41.5 IM), Elle Boyd (25.17/52.67/1:57.2, 58.29 BA, 59.67 FL), Erika Ehret (25.84/54.42/1:59.1/5:24.9, 1:09.9/2:31.4 BR, 1:00.2/2:10.5 FL, 2:12.5/4:39 IM), and Anna Jamieson (24.62/53.68/1:59.57, 58.1/2:05.8 BA, 1:00 FL, 2:11.7 IM) all add unmatched depth.
- Randolph-Macon – The distance behind Washington & Lee is vast. We’re keeping Randolph-Macon in the #2-slot once again this year but expect the Yellow Jackets to be challenged by the team immediately below them on this list. RMC does return 10 of its top 11 scorers from the 2018 ODACs. Natalia Perdomo (45, 2r) leads the way after a great freshman season while senior Kata Kyllainen (42, 4r), Kacey Pool (42, 3r), Haylie Moore (35, 1r), and Laney Sanchez (35) are also among the team’s top returners. The Yellow Jackets’ recruiting class is deep but doesn’t have any top-end talent on paper. Look for Becca Lazerson (26.19/57.27/2:04.38, 1:08.8/2:33.6 BR, 1:07.19 FL, 2:17.1 IM), Emma Kate Russell (26.16/57.8, 1:08.34 BA, 1:01.5/2:26 FL), and Jordan Shearer (26.49/57.19/2:04.4, 1:05.2/2:26.6 BA, 1:00.9 FL, 2:17 IM) to make the most immediate impacts.
- Roanoke – Coach Scott Thacker has this second-year program continuing in the right direction, as the Maroons have the league’s deepest crop of freshman coming alongside a strong group of returners – something that the Maroons couldn’t say a year ago during their inaugural season. ODAC 100 Back champ Reilly Bird (50, 4r) leads the way after an outstanding freshman season while Francisca Cifuentes (26, 4r), Hannah Sells (25, 3r), Sarah Virginia Scott (24, 3r), and Margaret Riggan (9, 1r) all return after gaining invaluable experience a year ago. Maria Vinson (55.9/1:57/5:09.2/17:45, 1;04/2:11.8 BA, 1:02/2:13.8 FL, 2:10.5/4:34.5 IM) is the cream of a 13-woman crop of freshmen, while Izzy Mack (58.48/2:02.2/5:16/18:11, 1:03.5/2:14.8 BA, 2:17.8/4:49 IM) and Hannah Petty (25.08/53.9/1:56.3/5:11.6, 1:01.4/2:14 BA, 1:12/2:36 BR, 59.66 FL, 2:13.5/4:44 IM) give RC a top-tier trio of newcomers. Hadley Baker (27.4/58.5/2:06.1, 1:02.8/2:13.8 BA), Grace Fountain (26.35/56.25/2:00.4/5:23, 1:05.9/2:17.4 BA), and Caylyn McNaul (26.17/57.04/2:08.3, 1:09.9/2:31.8 BR) are a great second-tier among the freshman class, while several others are already capable of scoring, as well. The difference between RMC and RC could be close enough to come down to which team scores more points in relays.
- Bridgewater – The dropoff from the top three to Bridgewater in fourth might be close to as big as the margin from first to second, but the Eagles should find themselves as the team solidly in fourth place. They return their top four scorers in Kelley Hilliker (43, 4r), Emma Daw (39, 4r), Rachael King (31, 2r), and Genevieve Young. Among their seven newcomers, Zoe Moore (25.85/56.80/2:02.3/5:15.5/18:19, 1:07.98/2:25 BR, 2:16.8/4:49 IM) is top flight, and Jessica Touve (57.65/2:06.1, 1:10.3 BA, 2:45.8 BR, 1:04.3/2:24.7 FL, 5:04.5 IM) should be able to score significant points, too.
- Emory & Henry – Emory & Henry lost more than any team in the ODAC but still should have just enough to hold onto fifth. Four of the Wasps top five scorers graduated in Bri Chessock (43, 4r), Holly Roth (35, 2r), Mackenzie Lingle (30, 4r), and Kelsey Jones (22, 2r). Olivia Anson (42, 4r) and Savannah Scarbrough (20, 1r) are the team’s only returning scorers as their other two returners didn’t compete at ODACs a year ago. All three recruits should be able to contribute, with Anne-Louise Tunstall (26.91/56.7/2:04/5:29, 1:12.1/2:34 BR, 1:03.4 FL, 2:17.8 IM) the best of the three.
- Hollins – Hollins remains in sixth in our rankings primarily based on the returns of Hanna DeVarona (22, 4r), who is coming off a strong freshman season, and senior Maya Schattgen (17, 4r). Having Emily Miehlke (3, 4r) and Molly Sullivan (2) back also give the Green and Gold bigger relay potential than many of the teams below them, in spite of the fact that their three newcomers are unproven thus far.
- Sweet Briar – The Vixens return three of their top four scorers, including Sarah Ahson (18, 4r) – the top of just three double-digit returners in the bottom half of our rankings. Theresa Carriveau, Lauren Graham, and Dharma Kear also return for Sweet Briar, and all four of those ladies will look to build off experience gained as freshmen. None of the team’s six recruits are proven, but Bailey Jones (27.55 50) should make the biggest impact on relays.
- Virginia Wesleyan – VWU didn’t score a single individual point a year ago, but they do return 16 of their 20 relay swims. Four of their five relays finished ninth a year ago, so the Marlins will be the biggest benefactor of Greensboro’s inability to compose relays (see more below). Sarah Conley (25.92/58.66) is a big addition for VWU, as she has individual scoring ability and will also improve the team’s relays.
- Randolph – Randolph also didn’t score a single individual point at the 2018 ODAC meet and returns only two swimmers in Golden Dennison (4r) and Leah Dorman. Brice Creel (25.51/56.25/2:03.3, 1:05.2 FL, 2:20.5/5:34 IM) will be a huge boost for the Wildcats, but they will need some of their other freshmen to develop to have a chance of rising higher and to assure that they hold off the teams below.
- Ferrum – Ferrum has just two returners in Katie Shoaf (11, 4r) and Courtney Moyer (1, 4r), so the Panthers will be heavily reliant upon freshmen this season. Hunter Tharpe (1:09.5 FL) is the best of the five newcomers on paper, but the ability of the rest of those newcomers to develop will tell the story for Ferrum.
- Guilford – Carolyn O’Halloran (13, 2r) is back, and Courtney Packer (0, 1r) also returns, but the real reason that we have the Quakers above Greensboro is roster size. With six newcomers, they have the ability to compose relays, and any relays score more points than no relays. The team’s six newcomers are raw at this point.
- Greensboro – As we write this, Greensboro has just three swimmers on their roster, which, as you know, means no relays. Lauren Spencer (18 pts., 4r) is back after a solid freshman season, but neither other returner scored and Spencer can’t possibly outscore even four relays. If the Pride could perhaps pickup a mid-season addition from among their student body, they could move up one or even two spots.
- Washington & Lee – Unlike in the women’s race, the Washington & Lee men should face a little more pressure than they did in their nearly 400-point victory at last year’s ODAC Championships, but their margin should still be fairly comfortable – somewhere in the 150-200 point range. At the top, they lose two-time ODAC Swimmer of the Meet and 15-time All-American Tommy Thetford (57, 3r), who as a First Team AA in the 50 and HMAA in the 100 and three relays in 2018. Relay HM All-Americans Corey Connelly (48, 4r) and Evan Kramer (41, 2r) are also gone, as are Ethan Fischer (49, 2r, 1BR/2BR champ), Thomas Caldwell (48, 1r), Noah Schammel (45, 2r, 1FL champ), and Wade Patterson (43). That said, the Generals do return a pair of individual conference champs in Jared Nickodem (55, 200/400 IM champ) and 2018 ODAC Rookie of the Meet Patrick Sullivan (54, 3r, 200 champ), an individual HMAA in the 200 free and 3x HMAA on General relays. Danny Lynch (50, 1r) and Fritz Rawls (48) will also look to build off tremendous freshman seasons, and Ben Brown (48), Brian Legarth (45, 1r), Patrick Lawrence (44), Sam Childress (42), and Jonathan Tucker (34) all earned top-three finishes at the league meet a year ago. The Generals have several swimmers among their returners who didn’t make last year’s conference roster who are capable of filling some of their losses, which is key with a smaller freshman class this year. Jack Donahue (49.27/1:45.68, 1:00.6/2:11.3 BR, 52.86/1:55.76 FL, 1:56.8/4:08.2 IM), Jackson Mathis (21.52/48.07, 53.77 FL), and Steve Warren (50.59 100, 56.73/2:03.77 BR, 2:05.61 IM) are the most ready of the five newcomers to make major impacts.
- Randolph-Macon – Also much like in the women’s race, we currently have Randolph-Macon second but wouldn’t be surprised to see Roanoke behind them give them a serious challenge for second. While they lost three key scorers in Ivan Fadeyev (51), Ealon Mann (41, 4r), and Alex Daube (30, 3r), the Yellow Jackets do return a pair of ODAC champs in Victor Kontopanos (54, 4r, 2FL champ) and Jordan Witherow (54, 2r, 500/1650 champ). RMC also has a very strong recruiting class, highlighted by potential conference champs Wyatt Boyer (22.43/47.52/1:42.1/4:38/16:27, 59.79/2:08 BR, 1:55.2/4:05.9 IM) and Joe Stephens (22.39/49.5/1:50.7/5:08.9, 52.36/1:55.3 BA, 1:04 BR, 2:01.8/4:30.9 IM). Justin Gregory (1:51.4/5:00.6/17:26, 57.5/2:05 BA, 2:07 FL, 2:08.6/4:31 IM), Shane Morison (22.48/48.74/1:46.3/4:58.8/17:47, 1:01.4/2:14 BR, 53.69 FL, 2:00.5/4:24 IM), and Matthew Parisi (1:51.3/5:04/17:15, 2:01.6 BA, 1:06.4 BR, 2:04.7/4:18.8 IM) all should be able to score major points, too.
- Roanoke – The Roanoke men also continue their rapid ascension up the ODAC ranks in their second year as a program, and the Maroons strength is more in their depth than their top-end talent. Top-three scorers Nick McGrath (33, 4r), Jacob David (31, 2r), and Ethan Gordon (31, 4r) all return, and all 12 freshmen are capable of scoring, with as many as nine having the potential to score 30+ points. Connor Kinkema (49.55/1:49.6/5:00.6, 58.6/2:15.5 BA, 59.7/2:06.3 BR, 2:00.3/4:23 IM), Sutton Schonfelder (1:01/2:13 BR, 53.8/1:57.6 FL, 2:00.4/4:23.4 IM), Ben Tate (48.6/1:46.2/4:48, 56.7/2:09.4 BA, 53.1/1:56.4 FL, 2:00.2/4:16.6 IM), and Jack Vaughn (1:51.2/4:56.5, 1:00.8/2:14.3 BR, 55.7/2:02.7 FL, 2:02.3/4:22.9 IM) have the slight edge on paper of such an incredibly deep crew while Parker Devillier (21.83/47.77) may have the biggest relay-impact potential.
- Hampden-Sydney – Hampden-Sydney’s slip to fourth says more about Roanoke than it does about HSC, as the Tigers might actually be a stronger program than they were a year ago. They return their top five of their top six scorers in Hudson Elmore (36, 2r), Zach Stephan (34, 4r), Jack Dickerson (29, 2r), AJ Howard (27, 4r), and Anthony Vinson (23, 2r). Woody Parsons (22.56/48.79/1:43.85/4:42.9/16:58, 52.11/1:55.5 FL, 2:01.3/4:30 IM) is a huge pickup, and Jason Covaney (49.57/1:52.3, 59.45 BA, 55.43 FL, 2:08.4 IM) should help immediately, too.
- Randolph – Randolph should improve enough this year to create a significant gap between the two halves of the ODAC this year, and they are trending in the right direction, as all four returning scorers were just freshmen a year ago. Oscar Onoszko (27, 4r), Jeffrey Oliveri (22, 4r), Daniel Bennett-Blake (16, 2r), an Andrew Scales (16, 4r) are all back, and their two best swimmers might be a pair of freshmen in Chris Verastek (21.74/46.93/1:47, 53.8/2:01.3 BA, 56.24/2:06 BR, 52.62 FL, 1:53.46/4:15 IM) and Mike Christou (21.65/48.79, 53.16/2:15.7 BA, 1:00.8 BR, 53.44 FL). The addition of those two should also allow the Wildcats to compose a strong fifth relay, something they couldn’t do last year, which will only increase that gap between them and the teams below.
- Emory & Henry – E&H loses its lone point scorer from last year’s ODACs in Wilson Naff (40), but they do bring in seven freshmen, all of whom are at least on the fringe of being able to score points, which should give the Wasps a leg up on the teams below them in terms of relays – and relays are really where the difference exists between these bottom five teams. Blake Madaris (1:55.3/5:09, 58.7/2:03.68 BA, 2:12.6 FL, 2:13 IM) is the clear best of the crop, while Braxton Justice (22.53/53.68) and Mack Henningsen (52.68/1:53.45/5:16.27) should impact relays.
- Bridgewater – Bridgewater returns a pair of scorers in Tito Alcazar (15, 4r) and Jarratt Davis (4, 4r), and the addition of Austin Bacon (1:53/5:05 FR, 1:00.5/2:10.7 BA, 2:30 BR, 56.1/2:04.5 FL, 2:05/4:35.8 IM) and Kevin Whalen (22.33/50.12, 1:02.44 BA, 57.55 FL) give the Eagles a strong core.
- Ferrum – Taylor Darnell (32, 4r) is the big difference that keeps Ferrum above VWU on this list, while the return of Jacob Blaukovitch (9, 4r) also helps. The addition of one freshman means that Ferrum can compose five relays if it chooses.
- Virginia Wesleyan – VWU returns just four individual points from a year ago from Patrick McKneely (2, 2r), Matthew Bavuso (1, 2r), and Kyle Woolf (1, 4r). Tyler Strong (57.05 BA, 2:11.4 IM) is the biggest addition among the five freshmen, but, if others can drop some time, they could challenge the teams ahead of them.
- Greensboro – The Greensboro men are in the same unfortunate place that their women are in that they only have three swimmers on their roster, meaning they can’t copose relays at this point. Anis Yahi (37, 4r) and Matt Rogers (16, 4r) are two of the top returners on the bottom half of these rankings, and freshman Ethan Wilson (1:02.30 BA) is a fringe scorer, but without a fourth swimmer, they have no hope of climbing out of this spot. That said, if they could find a fourth, these other three are decent enough to jump them several spots on this list.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Emily Hageboeck, Washington & Lee
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Caroline Baber, Washington & Lee
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Patrick Sullivan, Washington & Lee
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Wyatt Boyer, Randolph-Macon
There were two incredibly close races in the OAC in 2017-18, as the John Carroll men edged Ohio Northern for the league title by a mere three points – one of the closest title races in conference history – and the Baldwin Wallace women edged Ohio Northern for third by a single point, well behind John Carroll’s dominant title run. We expect JCU to sweep the titles once again this year and fairly comfortably, but the race for second on the women’s side should be very tight between three teams.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- John Carroll – JCU lost a lot, but, fortunately, their biggest threat from a year ago in Mount Union lost even more, which should keep the Blue Streaks comfortably in the top spot once again this year. Gwyn Ledrick (57 pts., 4 relays) is back after a monster freshman year that saw her sweep the breaststroke events and earn HM All-America honors in the 200 Breast, and Olivia Talamo (48, 3r, 100 champ), Hope Scherger (46, 1r), and Victoria Vale (42, 2r) will also look to build off of great rookie campaigns. Add in three more 40-point scorers in Shelbi Shearer (42.5, 4r), Maddie Dolce (41, 2r), and Chloe Ruggiero (41), and the losses of Carly Adams (56, 2r, 4IM/1BA champ), OAC Diver of the Year Ashley Creasap (40), and six other scorers, as big as they are, become a little easier to swallow. It is a smaller recruiting class for the Blue Streaks this year with only five newcomers, but Katelin Laure Avenir (56.15/2:03.8 FR, 1:02.5/2:15.7 BA, 1:10.9/2:34 BR, 1:02.7/2:36.4 FL, 2:15.5/4:48 IM) and Kyleah Gaydos (24.85/54.89/2;04.7/5:29.8, 1:04.3/2:23.4 BA, 1:18.1/2:51.7) should be able to help right away.
- Ohio Northern – The battle for 2-through-4 in the OAC this year could be incredibly tight, and right now, we are picking the Polar Bears in the two spot, given that they lost the least among that middle three and brought in a strong recruiting class. Sydney Veon (49 pts., 4 relays) is the only loss among the team’s top 11 scorers, and ONU returns top scorer Lauren Halle (57, 4r), who won OAC titles in the 2IM and 200 Fly. Senior Kierra Watson (47, 4r), Marissa Taylor (46, 4r), and diver Libby Sartschev (30) are all back, as well, and they add a deep 10-woman recruiting class. Megan Lubinski (24.21/53.17/2:00.16, 1:01/2:11.5 BA, 1:12.5 BR, 2:15.7 IM) leads the way and is one of the league favorites in the sprints, while Kylee Meredith (2:03.6 200, 1:01.1/2:16.6 BA, 1:00.7 FL, 5:03 IM) and Mya Parsons (57.4/1:59.2/5:27, 1:01.6/2:13.9 BA, 59.3/2:11 FL, 2:20 IM) are both very strong on paper as well.
- Mount Union – While the Mount Union women were very comfortably in second a year ago, they lost a massive amount to graduation – 50 percent of their 542 individual points and 14 of their 20 relay swims. Three-time OAC Swimmer of the Year Dana Lautenschleger (60 pts., 4 relays, 200/500/1650 champ) is gone, as are Megan Leibensperger (48, 1r), Jessica Hirsh (40, 2r), Ann Zielasko (33.5, 3r), and five other scorers. Seniors Lauren Oktavec (47), Regina Saxon (42, 1r), and Sarah Gonda (41, 1r) are all back as 40-point scorers a year ago, and the Purple Raiders do add a deep recruiting class. Lindsey Collins (25.06/55.86/2:03, 1:01.8/2:22.2 BA, 1:14.5/2:45.8 BR), Aurelia Incristi (25.04/54.65/1:58.9/5:39, 1:02.1/2:24 BA, 1:11.6/2:34 BR, 2:20/5:03 IM), and Callie Landry (2:03.5/5:26.9/18:38, 2:19.6 BA, 2:47.7 BR, 2:22 FL, 4:52 IM) are among the best of the newcomers on paper.
- Baldwin Wallace – BW sliding to fourth is less about what they did and more about what the teams around them did, as the Yellow Jackets recruiting class appears on paper to be the weakest of the three teams in the middle of the league. They return seven of their top eight scorers, including 100 Fly champ Erika Nockengost (51 pts., 4 relays), Olivia Jacob (49, 1r), Marissa Kural (46, 3r), Allie Thorson (40, 1r), swimmer/diver Ellie Clymer (36, 2r), and diver Lauren Franz (31). Madeleine Pierce (25.15/55.25/2:05/5:24, 1:01.3 BA, 1:16.7 BR, 1:02 FL, 5:03 IM) and Kayla McClintock (58.55/2:05.2/5:25.7, 1:04.1/2:23.1 BA, 5:06.7 IM) should both be able to contribute, as should diver Kaylee Beyer.
- Wilmington – The Quakers will greatly miss Samantha Glish (52 pts., 4 relays) this season, as she accounted for more than 40 percent of the team’s individual points from a year ago. Macki Leon (23, 4r) and Margaret Hover (11, 2r) both will look to build off solid freshman seasons, and senior Rachel O’Donnell (10, 1r) also returns for her senior season. Of six newcomers, Kassidy Rogers (1:15.77 BR) appears to be the most ready to contribute.
- John Carroll – Of the real contenders for the conference title, JCU lost the least and brought in the most, so their road to repeat should have a little more breathing room than it did a year ago. The Blue Streaks return nine of their top 10 scorers from the 2018 OACs, losing just Brian Hulseman (44 pts., 2 relays) to graduation among that group. Two-time OAC Diver of the Year Ryan McClelland (40) leads the way after earning First Team All-America honors on both boards a year ago, and JCU also returns three conference champion swimmers in Matt Ramsey (55, 4r, 50/100 champ), James Pacak (51, 3r, 200FR champ), and Mason Beck (51, 3r, 2BR champ). Patrick Folan (44, 1r), Jack Garrow (42, 2r), and Colin Burke (40) are all back as 40-point scorers, as well. Freshman Forrest Campbell (21.07/46.83, 51.31/1:58.7 BA, 50.03/2:02.5 FL) is on paper the league favorite in the 100 Fly and could contend for other titles, too, while Westin Fishel (21.75/48.69/1:45.5, 2:14.6 BA, 2:06.9 IM), Adam Lenz (21.34/48.54/1:47.1/18:16, 53.7/2:07.4 BA, 59.3/2:10.5 BR, 1:57.1 IM), Matthew Pietsch (50.63/1:47.25/4:45.2, 2:08.7 BA, 2:03.3 IM), Benjamin Rancillo (49.79/1:48.5/4:53.5, 52.9/1:56.6 FL, 1:58.4/4:21.5 IM), and Erik Sriubas (50.0/1:44.9/4:40/16:05, 56.8/2:05.4 BA, 54.1/1:55.7 FL, 2:01.8/4:11 IM) all are capable of scoring major points, as well.
- Ohio Northern – After finishing just three points behind JCU a year ago with a devastating relay DQ a factor in the loss, Ohio Northern likely will take a small step back this season, as they lost more than 200 points to graduation. Ian Simpson (46 pts., 4 relays), Conor Cassara (38), Thomas Golba (37, 1r), Braden Kuhn (34), and Duggan Trenary (19) all are significant losses, but the Polar Bears do return six of their top seven scorers, including a pair of conference champs in 2018 OAC Swimmer of the Year Nolan Huey (60, 4r, 2BA/2IM/4IM champ) and Pete He (56, 4r, 1FL/2FL champ). Ryan Mow (46, 1r), Grant Pfeifer (43, 1r), Ryan Groehl (39) and Patrick Reed (39) are all back as well, and while ONU’s recruiting class lacks major top-end talent, it is deep, as all eight men come in with times capable of scoring at OACs. Jeremy Adams (48.90/1:47.2/4:56.6, 56.1 BA, 59.4/2:09.2 BR, 54.9 FL, 2:01.7/4:31.8 IM) is the top of the group with Justin DeLano (17:41.4, 53.99/2:06 BA, 52.9/2:08.6 FL, 4:41.3 IM), Connor Rettammel (49.9/1:52.4/5:06.8, 57.6/2:06.4 BA, 1:03.9/2:18 BR, 54.2/2:02.2 FL, 2:03.7/4:18 IM), and Chris Walton (17:23, 57.3/2:01.7 BA) are also solid.
- Mount Union – While the Purple Raiders return top scorer and OAC 500 and 1650 champ Cole Ellsworth (57 pts., 3 relays) and Logan Palochak (45, 4r), they lose six of their top eight scorers, amounting to 244 points – the biggest loss in the league. Gone are graduates Tyler Fry (54, 4r) and Brian Walker (49), and four other key scorers aren’t on this year’s roster in Jack Ineson (45, 3r), Will Turnbull (35), Zachary Grebert (33), and Nic Hoffman (28). UMU does have a strong and deep recruiting class that is right there with JCU’s, led by Isaiah Acosta (49.44/1:46.6/4:51.9/17:28, 1:00.9/2:11.6 BR, 1:56.8/4:14.7 IM), Brian Regovich (50.13/1:47.1/4:51.4/17:01, 2:06.2 BA, 2:04.3 IM), Brett Scheib (50.08/1:47.7/4:44/16:26, 55.0/1:58.4 BA, 2:00/4:27 IM), and Owen Zimmerman (50.88 100, 53.8/1:57.9 BA, 1:59.9/4:26 IM).
- Baldwin Wallace – OAC 100 Breast champ Tyler Thompson (27 pts., 3 relays) is BW’s only loss from their 17-18 roster, so the Yellow Jackets should be solidly in fourth this year. Diver and leading scorer Evan Rinaldi (32 pts.) is back, as are double-figure scorers Greg Shaw (31.5, 4 relays), Michael Morsch (24.5, 4r), Austin Lockhart (23, 4r), and Matthew Butt (19, 2r). Freshman Michael Lewis (48.28/1:43.43/4:56.5/18:00, 55.89 BA, 59.07/2:14 BR, 55.6/1:59 FL, 1:58.3/4:59 IM) could become the team’s leading scorer right away, and the additions of Christian Velasquez (1:53.6/18:39, 2:08.5 BA, 57.5/2:09.9 FL, 4:32 IM) and diver Tanner Elenbaas will help, too.
- Wilmington – Wilmington lost more than 80% of its individual points and relay slots from the 2018 OAC Championships in Andrew Stewart (42 pts., 4 relays), David Bellus (29, 2r), Cody Nash (25, 3r), Freddie Snowden (24, 2r), and Alex Tillapaugh (17, 4r). Senior Lawrence Daya (9, 3r) is the team’s top returning scorer. Of the 10 newcomers, Isak Alin (1:02.6 BR, 55.7 FL this season) of Sweden, Aaron Polk (55.25 FL), and Logan Schroer (50.2/1:49.6/5:04.9) seem to be the best bets.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Gwyn Ledrick, John Carroll
- Women’s Diver of the Year: Lauren Franz, Baldwin Wallace
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Megan Lubinski, Ohio Northern
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Nolan Huey, Ohio Northern
- Men’s Diver of the Year: Ryan McClelland, John Carroll
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Forrest Campbell, John Carroll
There’s a lot of excitement in the Northwest Conference this season, and it starts with something new, as George Fox will be fielding its first men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams this season, expanding the league’s membership in the sport to nine. Six of the league’s seven NCAA qualifiers are back, and there will be very competitive races among the team’s for championship finishes throughout the league.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Whitman – Whitman defended its NWC title in 2018 and all evidence points to the same happening in 2019. At the top, Whitman returns four great seniors in Mara Selznick (52 pts., 4 relays) – the 2018 NWC 100 Back Champ who went on to earn HM All-America honors in the same event – Sarah Davidson (47, 1r), Abbey Felley (41, 1r), and Gaby Thomas (39, 2r), to go along with leading scorer and NWC 50/100 Free champ Zoe Hill (53, 3r). The Blues also add the most top-end talent in the league in their five-woman freshman class, led by Bella White (1:57.55/5:14 FR, 1:08.34/2:23.3 BR, 57.68/2:04.0 FL, 2:07.68/4:30.79 IM), the league’s top rookie on paper and a should-be NCAA qualifier. Ashley Joe (25.15/54.05/1:56.6/5:18.9, 58.78/2:07.6 BA, 58.66 FL, 2:11.5/4:40.8 IM) isn’t far behind, and Annika Hobson (1:59.1/5:15.3/18:17) should also make a big impact.
- Pacific Lutheran – Kaycee Simpson (57 pts., 4 relays), the 2018 NWC Freshman of the Year, is back after sweeping the fly events at the league championships and qualifying to NCAAs a year ago, and the Lutes also return their next four scorers in Victoria Nguyenle (45, 2r), Taylor Bingea (41, 1r), Lauren Kearney (32, 2r), and Jenna Muller (31, 1r). The departure of sprinter Aspen Monkhouse (31, 4r) to conference new-start George Fox is the biggest loss, as it impacts Pac Lu’s relays, but freshmen Emma Brownrigg (24.74/53.95/1:56.2/5:22/18:45, 1:00.3 FL), Tori Oshiro (5:26/18:45, 2:28.5 BR), Hannah VanHeyningen (1:58.23/5:09.1/18:05, 1:03.3/2:15.8 BA, 4:49.9 IM), and the rest of PLU’s 11-woman class should be able to more than recoup the 76 total individual points lost.
- Linfield – Linfield returns its top five scorers and seven of its top eight, led by senior Evette Dow (60 pts., 4 relays), the 2018 NWC Co-Swimmer of the Year after sweeping the distance free events. Fellow seniors Kaedi Fry (49, 4r) and Tahnijo (35, 4r) are also back, as are junior Molli Hartzell (47, 4r) and sophomore Emily Samudio (37, 1r). The Wildcats also add a pair of really strong recruits in Vianka Hoyer (24.41/55.37/2:02.10, 1:01.6 BA, 57.06/2:12.6 FL, 4:51.4 IM) and Abby Mattern (24.98/53.99/1:58.3, 59.15/2:14.4 BA, 58.3/2:12.5 FL, 2:17.4 IM), but the biggest question for the team is returner Elizabeth Fryer, who missed the 17-18 season. At the 2017 NWC Championships, she reached B-Finals in the 200, 500, and 2BA, but her HS times have her as a top-3 scorer in multiple events. If she can recapture that HS form, Linfield may bump ahead of Pac Lu into the second spot.
- Whitworth – The Pirates don’t have a single senior on this year’s roster and return each of their top five scorers. Junior Hannah Galbraith (42.5 pts., 4 relays) is back after qualifying for NCAAs a year ago, as are Molly Vagt (47, 3r), Livi Cox (38, 1r), Jamie Siegler (32, 4r), and Marissa Gibson (23, 1r). Of their recruits, Jessica Defiesta (5:18/18:29, 2:15.7 BA, 2:30.2 BR, 2:15.3/4:46 IM), Isabella Hackney (25.14/54.3/1:58.9/5:22.3, 1:01 FL, 2:15.9/4:47 IM), and Eve Vetter (1:02.3 BA, 1:08.7/2:31.8 BR, 59.77/2:15.4 FL, 2:15.3/4:46 IM) should all be able to score significant points.
- Lewis & Clark – The Pioneers return the highest percentage of their individual points from last year’s NWC Championships, and that’s a big reason why we have them moving up. Junior Sam Duran (45 pts., 4 relays) and seniors Kassie Kometani (44, 4r) and Eleanor Gerrior (20, 4r) lead the way, and L&C also brings in a pretty strong recruiting class. KK Fiddler (2:00.7/5:26/18:55, 1:00.8/2:07.7 BA, 2:15.4 FL, 2:13.2/4:39.5 IM) is the strongest of the crop on paper, while Alys Chang (2:01.5/5:21 FR, 2:28.7 BR, 2:16.2/4:47.1 IM), Caroline Karson (24.95/55.05 FR, 1:08.3/2:34.9 BR, 58.79/2:13.1 FL), and Ciara Orness (1:08.2/2:29.4 BR, 2:17.4 IM) should all have an impact.
- Puget Sound – Kelli Callahan (60 pts., 4 relays) is back after winning NWC titles in the 100 Breast and both IMs to earn NWC Co-Swimmer of the Year honors and a trip to NCAAs in the 400 IM. Calista Skog (46, 4r) and Kassidy Cook (28, 1r) are back, but the losses of Kayla DiMicco (20, 3r), Melisa Kegans (16, 2r), Carmen Mena (18), and Kaarina Nyman (12) all matter, and, by what was available on CollegeSwimming.com, the Loggers’ recruiting class doesn’t appear to be able to offset those losses. Alex Nadelson (1:08.6/2:32 BR) is the most ready to contribute among 11 newcomers.
- Willamette – Cassie Tallman (40 pts., 2 relays), Ashlyn Witherwax (26, 1r), and Kate Harvey (8, 3r) have all graduated, leaving Kiley Lin (39, 3r), Niki Kates (36, 2r), and Anna Burdine (18, 1r) to carry the scoring load. None of the Bearcats’ five newcomers appears immediately capable of scoring significant points.
- George Fox – The transfer of Aspen Monkhouse (NWC 50 Runner-up, 5th in 100) from Pac Lu gives George Fox a great building block on which HC Natalie Turner can build her brand-new program. Olivia Gibson (24.94/55.3/2:03.4, 1:02.15 BA, 1:01.1 FL) appears to be the most ready among the team’s freshmen, while Chloe Weber, Gabrielle Wood, and Jamie and Joanna Zuckerman have potential on paper. With essentially all but Monkhouse new to collegiate swimming, this team could bump up another spot if the freshmen respond well and improve.
- Pacific – New HC Beth Whittle has a lot of work in front of her in her first season at Pacific, Leading scorer Kayla Knock (11 pts., 2 relays) graduated, and the Boxers in total lost 14 of their 20 relay swims from a year ago. Lauren McWilliams (9, 2r) and Maya Okamura (3, 1r) are the only returning individual scorers. Freshman Hannah Brandow (59.88/2:10.19 BA, 1:00.96 FL) is a big pickup but still not nearly enough to lift Pacific out of the league basement.
- Whitworth – The Pirates did lose HM All-American backstroker Patrick Wilber (51 pts., 4 relays, HMAA in 1BA/2BA) and Jake McCollough (28) to graduation, but they return six forty-point scorers – twice as many as anyone in the league. Reigning NWC Freshman of the Year Ryan Grady (57, 1r) leads the way after winning league titles in the 4IM and 200 Breast, and Owen Lempert (57, 4r) won a pair of league titles as well in the 50 Free and 100 Breast. Byron Rossmiller (50), Keenan Robinson (45, 1r), Eben Schumann (43, 4r), and Jake Davis (41, 3r) are all back, too, and freshman Logan Todd (48.21/1:43.6/4:40.4, 52.63/1:53.4 FL) is one of the best in the league. Finn McClone (47.6/1:44.4/4:46.7, 53.7/1:57.2 BA, 54.3 FL, 4:21 IM) and Alexander Henderson (59.7/2:07.5 BR) should also be able to help immediately, and three other freshmen come in with times capable of scoring, too. While the race for second should be mighty interesting, Whitworth is a clear cut above the rest this year.
- Whitman – The Blues lost leading scorer Clark Sun (57 pts., 4 relays) and three others among their top six – Keith Nussbaum (38), Kieran Lenssen (33, 2r), Jared Sears (31, 4r) – which amounts more than half the team’s individual points earned a year ago. Jonah Rodewald (43, 2r) and Fisher Munro (39, 3r) are back, and Whitman’s freshman class is fairly deep. Michael Chang (54.16/2:00.9 BA, 50.97/1:52.15 FL, 1:59.1/4:28.4 IM) is great in the fly events, and Jack Schrader (21.79 50, 57.09 BR) is the early favorite to win the 100 Breast, while Brandon Bees (1:44.27 200, 52.30/2:03.4 FL), Aidan Laird (17:24, 2:14.4 BR, 4:21.4 IM), and Evan Marquardt (4:51.3/16:59, 55.0 BA, 4:17.1 IM) all should be able to contribute, but the margin over Linfield could be even closer than the 29 points it was last year.
- Linfield – NWC Swimmer of the Year Noah Cutting (60 pts., 4 relays) is back for his junior season after sweeping the fly events and winning the 2IM at NWCs, but his year finished in disappointment as he took 17th in the 200 Fly and 18th in the 100 Fly at the NCAA Championships, just missing out on adding to his HM All-America honors earned as a freshman. Senior Trevor Gourley (48, 4r) and sophomore Daisuke Fitial (46, 1r) are among the league’s top returners, but the losses of Neirton Oliveira (47, 4r) and Matthew Hanson (33, 4r), among others, will hurt this year. JUCO transfer Matt Lemire (1:46.57/4:44.1/16:23, 54.3/1:59 FL) should make the biggest impact among the team’s newcomers, while Tyler Cook (21.79/47.83/1:47.1, 56.25 BA) and Mitchell Morrison (47.8 100) should also factor in.
- Pacific Lutheran – PLU loses three of it’s top five scorers from 2018 in Paul Jett (46 pts., 4 relays), Bryson Baligad (34, 4r), and Dennis Liu (34, 2r), but they do return seniors Bradley Jerome (46, 1r), Jacob Goodman (40, 3r), and Elijah Singstad (25, 4r). Andrew Kwon (49.33/1:45.1/4:53/17:23, 54.1 BA, 2:04.6 FL, 4:29.4 IM) leads the six-man recruiting class, but it’s not likely enough to recoup the team’s losses.
- Puget Sound – Puget Sound should challenge Pacific Lutheran for fourth, but the 125-point gap from last year might be just a touch too much to overcome. Dylan Reimers (56 pts., 4 relays) is back after winning the 500 and 1650 a year ago, and Ian Conery (29, 3r) returns, too, but the Loggers did lose Nick Mitchell (30, 3r) and Caleb Van Boven (20, 1r). Brett Kolb (47.95/1:44.79/4:42.48/16:58, 56.05/2:02.7 BA, 1:58.5/4:23.6 IM) and Aaron Zevenbergen (51.6/1:57.8 FL) are the best among the team’s six recruits, while Eli Champagne (52.1/2:00.9 FL, 4:34 IM) and Matthew Cole (21.36 50, 54.5 FL) should help, too.
- Willamette – The Bearcats return each of their top four scorers in Ben Hedman (47 pts.), Ben Fritz (42, 4 relays), Derek Ludwig (32, 4r), and Colin Hakeman (31)., but they did lose their fifth double-digit scorer, Mark Yuvienco (29, 4r), to graduation. Their three freshman appear to be pretty raw, but if any surprise, they could climb a spot.
- Lewis & Clark – Lewis & Clark returns their top two scorers in Kyle Monteleone (39 pts., 4 relays) and Andrew Butcher (30, 4r), both of whom will look to build off strong freshman seasons. Senior August Bergh (26, 3r) is also a key returner, but the graduation of Miles French (28, 2r) is key, and we aren’t sure that the Pioneers brought in enough to replace him. There are only two freshmen on the team, with JP Greener (21.94/48.17 FR) the most likely to have an impact.
- George Fox – Nine swimmers are on the roster for the Bruins in their inaugural season, and JUCO transfer Caleb Dean (21.70/49.5/1:46.4 FR, 53.5/1:59.0 BA) and freshman Zach Johnson (59.67/2:12.1 BR, 53.18 FL, 1:58.75 IM) are the best of the lot while Noah Burlingame (55.18 BA) should also be able to contribute. The gap to seventh ahead seems pretty significant, but, like with the women, if the mostly new squad responds to Coach Turner’s training, moving up isn’t impossible.
- Pacific – If it was going to be a long year for the Pacific women, it might be longer for the men, who lost six of the nine athletes on their roster to graduation, including top scorers Raymond Miller (28 pts., 4 relays) and Michael Sakai (9, 4r). Aukai Kea (7, 4r) is the team’s top returner, and Hung Huynh (17:00, 2:15 BR, 1:59.6 FL, 2:00.1/4:18.9 IM) is the best of a five-man recruiting class.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Kelli Callahan, Puget Sound
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Bella White, Whitman
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Noah Cutting, Linfield
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Logan Todd, Whitworth
Grinnell’s stranglehold on the top spot in both men’s and women’s swimming and diving in the Midwest Conference won’t end barring something unforeseeable in 2018-19 while Lake Forest will remain securely behind them on both sides. The battles behind those two, however, could be much more interesting.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Grinnell – Coming off their sixth-straight MWC title, the Pioneers will have to replace more scoring than any other team in the conference, as MWC Swimmer of the Year Maria Venneri (60 pts., 4 relays, 2IM/4IM/2BA champ), MWC Diver of the Year Summer White (37, 3m champ), and seven other senior scorers combined for 318.5 individual points and half of the team’s relay spots. The good news? The Pioneers had a 270 point cushion, return four of their top five scorers, and brought in the league’s strongest freshman class by far. MWC Freshman of the Year Madeline Peak (55, 3r, 50/100 champ), McKynley Larson (54, 3r, 1BA champ), and Marguerite Devine-Mraz (52, 3r, 2FL champ) are all back after tremendous rookie campaigns, and senior Becca Teske (48) is also among the league’s top returners. The Pioneers have a pair of Rookie of the Year candidates in November Brown (24.62/55.50 FR, 1:07.61/2:27.47 BR, 59.0 FL, 2:14 IM) and Nicole Schlegel (24.8/54.4/1:56.1/5:35, 58.47/2:06.46 BA, 1:14.8 BR, 59.9 FL, 2:11/4:44.3 IM), and Maria Eure (1:01.5 BA, 1:20.9 BR, 1:09.3 FL, 2:25.3 IM), Xonzy Gaddis (26.17 50, 1:04/2:20.5 BA, 1:09.6/2:33.8 BR, 1:06.6 FL, 2:19.1/5:03.8 IM), Enya Gamble (24.71/55.21 FR), Helen St. John (1:15.1/2:41.8 BR, 1:07 FL, 2:25.9/5:16.2 IM), and diver Sophie Wojdylo should all be able to score significant points.
- Lake Forest – The Lake Forest women also graduated quite a lot, as three of their top five scorers exhausted their eligibility in Lily McCarthy (57 pts., 3r, 500/1650 champ), Brigit Dunne (47, 3r), and Toni Corbani (41, 1r). Add in the early loss of Corynn Christjansen (38, 3r), and the Foresters have a lot to replace. Susan Guo (51, 4r, 1FL champ) returns after a great freshman year, and juniors Rachel Trevillian (45, 1r) and Ani Karagianis (40), and diver Lizzie Johns (37, 1M champ) are also back. Sarah Burchart (25.06/53.78 FR, 1:14.9 BR, 1:01.2 FL, 2:23 IM) could contend for the 100 free title, and Kylie Morgan (25.61/54.85/2:01.2/5:20, 1:06.2/2:24 BA, 1:17.7 BR, 1:00.4 FL, 2:21/4:57.5 IM) should both score major points. LFC also adds a pair of divers in Missy Bryan and McKinley Scheppler.
- Lawrence – Despite returning their top four scorers in Erin Lengel (47.5 pts., 4 relays), Elise Riggle (46, 1r), Emmi Zheng (44, 2r), and Sarah Schwieckart (35), Lawrence should remain solidly in third and a larger margin from second than last year, as their incoming class doesn’t quite replace their graduates. Emei Thompson (34, 1r), Eryn Blagg (33, 4r), Foley Van Lieshout (28, 2r), Rosemary Bauer (27) and two others combined to score 145 of the team’s 403 individual points last year. Freshmen Caitlyn Lansing (1:08.6/2:30.1 BR, 1:08.4 FL) and Laurel Soderquist (1:15/2:42 BR, 2:25.6/5:08 IM) are both solid, but won’t absorb all of those losses.
- Illinois College – The Lady Blues didn’t graduate anyone, and the four swimmers they did lose accounted for no individual points and just two relay slots at the 2018 MWC Championships. Kate Edelstein (1:04.3/2:20.5 BA, 1:08.5 FL) on paper is the best of IC’s swimming recruits, and the addition of diver Donna Jenkins should also be a valuable difference. Oh, and junior breaststroke standout Hannah Marks (57 pts., 4 relays, 1BR/2BR champ) is back to lead the way. Senior Marcella Jacquemain (27, 4r) and sophomore Hannah Baker (25, 4r) are also among the team’s top returners.
- Ripon – Ripon loses its top three scorers in Lateesha Hiser (41.5, 4r), Abby Hilker (21, 3r) and Megan Pieper (18). Laryssa Vaclavik (15.5), Kim Frisque (14), and Erin Barrie (13.5) are the only returners to reach double-figures last year. The additions of McKenna Bartelme (1:10.3 BA, 1:08.9 FL, 2:22.5 IM, this season) and Morgan Blaha (1:20.6/2:52 BR) should enough to keep them from falling below fifth.
- Beloit – The Buccaneers took a big hit as their top three scorers from the 2018 Midwest Championships all departed early in Briana (37 pts., 4 relays) and Somer (27, 4r) Stoffregen and Morgan Nicholson (22, 4r). Add on the graduations of Heather Warner and Kathleen Kennedy and senior Alexandria Kohn (16, 4r) is the team’s only returning individual scorer. Freshman Eliana Ritt (25.74/54.85/2:02.75/5:23.5, 1:03.3 BA, 1:01 FL, 2:14.3 IM) is a huge addition while Padyn O’Keefe (1:18.97 BR) and backstroker Anna Bunzel both should be able to score.
- Knox – Diver Meredith Beck (15 pts.), the team’s leading scorer in 2018, isn’t on this year’s roster, so the Prairie Fire will relay on Sylvia Bowen-Bailey (6, 4 relays) and Zuri Peterson (6, 3r) as their top returners. Melissa Wood (25.76/56.71/2:03.8 FR, 1:04.9 BA, 1:01 FL, 2:17 IM) has potential to more than make up for the loss of Beck’s points.
- Monmouth – Monmouth lost more than half of last year’s MWC individual points in the graduation of Michelle Nafziger (23, 2r) and loss of Emily Mathews (11, 4r), but they do have Miranda Pasky (28, 4r) back after a solid freshman season. Marissa Logan (2:05.4/5:40.6 FR, 1:23.2 BR) appears to be the most ready among a five-woman freshman class.
- Grinnell – The Pioneer men also have a MWC title streak to defend, and their run to number four in a row shouldn’t be too close. Nick Roberson (45 pts.) is the lone loss among the team’s top 11 scorers from the 2018 MWC meet, and the team returns both the 2018 MWC Swimmer of the Year in Paul Cover (60 pts., 2r, 500/1FL/2FL champ) and Rookie of the Year in Mitch Sevier (57, 4r, 50/100 champ), as well as seniors Will Lindell (57, 4IM/2BR champ) and Ben Grubb (49, 3r). Christopher Zhang (49.22/1:48.5/4:49.6/17:32, 1:02/2:15.9 BR, 55.6/2:04.1 FL, 2:00.9/4:17.1 IM) is the best of Grinnell’s recruiting class, while Sean Hopkins (1:55.95/5:04 FR, 55.7/2:02.2 FL, 4:51.89 IM), Dante Smith (59.26/2:17.85 BR, 2:01.5 IM), and Alexander Wurtz (1:55 200, 56.64/2:10.8 BA, 57.5 FL) all can help.
- Lake Forest – The Foresters return one thing that no other team in the MWC (or any of the conferences we’ve covered so far, for that matter) does: a national champion. In fact, they return the CSCAA NCAA Division III Diver of the Year in senior Heath Ogawa, who won the 3-Meter title back in March to go with a third-place finish on the 1-Meter board, running his total of overall All-America honors to six (3 1st, 3 HM). The Foresters did lose their top two swimmers in David Bunting (54, 4r, 2IM/200FR champ) and Ethan Hare (50, 4r, 1BR champ), but they return a trio of standout sophomores in Max Rowland (50, 1r), Evan Weller (48), and Nathan Ulm (39, 3r) and two seniors – Blake Rhodes (39, 3r) and Frederick Weichmann (37, 2r). They also have the league’s best recruiting class on the men’s side which collectively is incredibly strong in the distance events. Alec Pittman (50.0/1:46.8/4:40.1/16:33, 2:04/4:15 IM) has an ever-so-slight edge on the rest, but Aaron Helms (1:45.8/4:45/16:31, 54.4/1:56.4 FL, 4:21 IM) and Sebastian Wagoner (48.88/1:44.2/4:42/16:34, 58.3 BA, 2:21.8 BR, 2:01.1/4:26 IM) are right there with him. Jeffrey Nebel (1:50.7/4:52/16:41) and Graeme Witte (22.35/48.14/1:48.5/4:54, 54.4 FL) both should be able to make major contributions, too.
- Ripon – The Ripon roster is the most unchanged in the MWC from a year ago. The Red Hawks lost a pair of swimmers at the bottom of their scoring roster and added one in Joe Maddux (58.05 FL). They do, however, return four very strong seniors in Nate Pakosz (42 pts., 4 relays), Jack Lutter (41, 4r), Alec Sutton (35, 3r), and Carson Rose (34, 3r). Freshmen Ethan Ripp (29, 3r) and Ben Georgia (20, 1r) will look to build off solid freshman seasons.
- Lawrence – Lawrence should remain squarely in the middle of a tight battle in the middle of the MWC. Anton Hutchinson (52 pts., 3 relays) is back after a great freshman season that saw him win the 1650, and Thomas Goldberg (38, 4r), Charlie Phillips (36, 1r), and Max Stahl (30, 4r) are all also back. However, the graduation of Travis Charlow (26, 3r) and loss of Akio Yamamoto (18, 4r) both make a dent, and neither of Lawrence’s recruits appear ready to help immediately.
- Monmouth – Preston Bocchi (56 pts., 4 relays) is coming off a fantastic freshman season that saw him sweep the backstroke events at the MWC Championships, and Rik Doornenbal (38, 1r) and Jake Hall (25, 4r) are also back. The losses of Tom Cangelosi (30, 2r) and Riley Hess (17, 4r) to graduation hurt, but Andrew Shie (22.23/47.58/1:50.5, 1:01.5 BR, 57.7 FL, 2:04.8 IM) and Daniel Kadlec (1:55.3 200, 1:00.4 BA, 57.5 FL, 2:10.9 IM) should help.
- Beloit – Beloit lost just one scorer from a year ago in Matthew Shea (13 pts., 1 relay), but their top four scorers are back in Joseph Stephenson (23, 4r), diver Wil Kangas-Olson (16), Meshach Roberts (16, 4r), and Aaron Jolly (14, 4r). The Buccaneers brought in just one freshman, Tenah Gaitor (1:56.41 200, 1:04.88/2:30.75 BR, 56.77 FL, 2:15.44 IM). The difference between Beloit and Illinois could come down to who gets the edge in relays and whether Kangas-Olson adds 3-Meter diving to his repertoire.
- Illinois College – The Blueboys lose significant points with the graduations of Elijah Rhoad (28, 4r) and Oak Wattanasirakul (26, 3r), and Ben Allen (40, 4r), the team’s top scorer a year ago, isn’t on this year’s roster. Second-leading scorer Martin Ambre (39, 3r) is back, as is senior Mike Weisenfelder (15, 4r), and three of IC’s recruits – Isaac Daigle (22.64/48.72/1:45.96/4:59, 59.9/2:09.2 BA), Jake Howey (50.1/1:48.1/4:55.5/16:59, 57.2/2:17.9 FL), and Steven Lorett (1:55.1 FR, 55.48 FL) – should be able to contribute.
- Knox – Knox lost the majority of their scoring with the graduations of Harry Carpenter (12 pts., 4 relays), Chris Colburn (7, 3r), and Andrew Jacobs (1, 3r). Sophomore Sam Lisec (2, 4r) is the team’s only returning MWC scorer, and there are no obvious points coming among the freshman class.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Nicole Schlegel, Grinnell
- Women’s Diver of the Year: Lizzie Johns, Lake Forest
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: November Brown, Grinnell
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Paul Cover, Grinnell
- Men’s Diver of the Year: Heath Ogawa, Lake Forest
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Alec Pittman, Lake Forest
The Messiah women continued their stronghold on the Middle Atlantic Conference in 2018 while the Albright men returned to the top, and we don’t see either of those things changing in the 2018-19 season. The league returns a pair of All-Americans at the top of their talent pool in Messiah’s Cassie Cotton and Widener’s Aaron Green.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Messiah – The Kaitlin Wingert (60 pts., 4r) era has come to an end, and Messiah’s run for their sixth-straight conference title gets a bit more difficult without the two-time MAC Swimmer of the Year and NCAA Qualifier. The Falcons also graduated four other seniors who combined for 83 individual points, but they do return four of their top five in now-sophomores Kaylee Hollenbach (57, 4r, 1BA/2BA champ) and Maelyn Elder (38, 1r) and seniors Cassie Cotton (54, 4r, 1FL champ). Cotton became the first swimmer in Messiah history to earn All-America honors last year, garnering HM status with her 15th-place finish in the 100 Fly. The Falcons do have one of the best recruiting classes in the conference, led by freshmen Jaclyn Lenhart (56.24 FR, 1:14.4 BR, 1:00.78/2:16 FL) and Nancie Ziegler (55.85/1:57.52/5:14.99) and Alfred State transfer Alley Sell (1:08.25/2:31.85 BR, 2:15.41/4:59.47 IM).
- Widener – Christine Kunzler (41 pts., 4 relays) is the only loss among the team’s top nine scorers, and juniors Jill Bujanowski (54, 4r, 2IM champ) and Nikky Mowry (48, 2r) give the Pride a great 1-2 punch at the top of their scoring. Seniors Kaylin Augustine (36, 4r), Jackie Hammill (28), Eva Partridge (26) and Lauren Griffith (24.5, 3r), and junior Sammy Grogan (32, 2r) are all back, too. Joining them are potentially the top two freshmen in the conference. Angelina Franceschini (25.43/55.36/1:56.45/5:13.99, 1:00.88 BA, 58.3/2:07.8 FL, 2:17.5 IM) is a pretty sure thing, while Emma Reistle (1:58.48/5:07.4/17:39, 59.1/2:09.1 BA, 2:15.7) is an interesting case, as all of her top times are from 2014. Widener should be solidly ahead of Misericordia either way, but if Reistle can find her previous form, the Pride could make things close with Messiah.
- Misericordia – The Cougars, already a team on the rise, bring in arguably the league’s deepest recruiting class, as both Kate Bernauer (25.3/54.68/2:01.82, 1:04 BA, 1:12.5 BR, 58.72/2:15.3 FL, 2:16.5/4:54 IM) and Alex Keeny (55.8/2:03.8/5:17.6, 1:02.7/2:14.3 BA, 1:04.4/2:16.2 FL, 4:44.9 IM) are among the league’s top rookies. Andrea Carlson (56.6/2:03.2 FR, 1:01.5/2:13.9 BA, 1:13.2 BR, 1:04.4 FL) and Mary-T Nikolski (56.59/2:01.6/5:33) should both be able to right away, as well. And don’t forget, Misericordia, who doesn’t have a senior on their roster, returns seven of their top eight scorers, led by double breaststroke champion Grace Nikolski (51.5 pts., 4 relays). Sierra Schertler (31, 4r), Rileigh Ellis (27, 2r), and Maggie Yount (24, 3r) will look to continue to build off last year’s experience.
- Arcadia – The battle between Misericordia, Arcadia, and Albright for the 3-5 spots should be tight, but we see the Knights falling in the middle, as they have the weakest recruiting class of the three. Back are the Knights’ trio of outstanding juniors in Megan Hupp (56 pts., 4 relays) – the 2018 MAC Champ in the 500 and 1650 – Rachel Samson (44, 4r) and Bailey Babarksy (36, 3r) and a pair of seniors in Alyssa D’Esposito (35) and Taylor Byers (31, 2r). Arcadia does lose two key pieces in graduate Rose Georgias (38) and Eunice Ardamoy (26, 3r), and Kira Alderman (1:12.49/2:43.69 BR) is the only freshman who comes in with scoring times. The Knights do add three returners capable of scoring in Rylee Cella, Gaby Hartney, and Caroline Patterson.
- Albright – The early losses of Ashlyn Chermol (51 pts., 4 relays) and Juli Hyatt (41, 3r), but Maggie Jones (36.5, 4r) returns after a good freshman year, as are juniors Alexis Willis (33, 4r) and Sammy Murphy (18, 4r). Alaina Ricci (55.82/1:59.50/5:18.2, 1:00.99/2:11.1 BA, 1:00.75/2:18.22 FL) is the best of a strong freshman class, and Allyson Kraff (2:03.3/5:20/18:10) and Regina McCarter (19:12, 2:20.88 FL, 4:55.5 IM) should both be able to score solid points.
- King’s – Junior Kirsten Siwy (54.5 pts., 4 relays) is back after winning MAC titles in both the 400 IM and the 200 Breast last year, and Kaelyn Gardner (21, 3r) and Noelle Pedersen (10.5, 1r) both return from strong freshman seasons. The Monarchs did lose a pair of swimmers to early departure in Amanda Schwerdtman (21, 1r) and Shannon Dolan (20), but Elizabeth Savidge (55.87 FR, 1:00.1/2:10.8 BA) and Claire Coe (25.74/56.04/2:01.2), the best two of nine newcomers, should be able to absorb most of those losses.
- Stevenson – The Mustangs should have at least one more really strong year before a potential dropoff, as leading scorer Melanie Milam (48 pts., 4 relays) is back alongside a terrific trio of seniors in Isabelle Ramsland (43, 4r), Julianna Burnett (38, 4r), and Colby Stein (38, 4r). Unfortunately, Stevenson still doesn’t have any scoring depth alongside those four, and this year’s recruiting class doesn’t appear to change that.
- Hood – Hood returns its only two individual scorers from 2018 MACs in senior Brianna Hand-Solomon (28 pts., 4 relays) and junior Kate Sanborn (11, 4r), but a pair of newcomers is the real reason that we move them up three spots from last year’s 11th-place conference finish. Freshman Danielle Pong (24.32/55.48 FR, 1:04.7/2:26.1 BR, 1:00 FL, 2:16.1 IM) should be in the title conversation in the breaststroke events, and Rhode Island transfer Ann Coleman (1:01.8/2:14.7 BA, 1:03.4 FL) will be a big help as well; both will greatly improve the Blazers’ relays.
- Lycoming – Matt McGuriman takes over as head coach for the retired Jerry Hammaker after serving for several years as an assistant at Ursinus. In terms of scoring, Lycoming should essentially be the same team as they were at MACs in 2018, as Brianna Zawadzki (3 relays) was the only loss from any of the team’s scoring. McKenna Zeller (30, 4r) and Mikayla Wright (20, 3r) are back after strong freshman seasons, and Emilie Kramer (23, 3r) will look to make her senior year a great one – she has the potential to reach three A-finals. The Warriors have two newcomers in Laura Grada and Devon Kaiser, but they appear to be at least a year away from contributing to scoring.
- FDU-Florham – Molly Miller (48 pts., 4 relays) returns after an outstanding freshman year, but she is the team’s only returner. Both Sarah Bennett (15, 4r) and Samantha Irace (13, 4r) graduated, and Mackenzie Doherty (26, 4r) and three others did not return. Three freshmen join Miller, but none has HS/club times that indicate scoring potential.
- Wilkes – Abby Keating (34 pts., 4 relays) is back after a terrific freshman season that saw her earn runner-up honors in the 400 IM, but she was the only Colonel to score an individual point last season The roster is mostly intact, and Wilkes did bring in two recruits, but new HC Thomas Limouze has a lot of work in front of him.
- Lebanon Valley – Despite competing in one meet already, LVC’s rosters still aren’t on their website, but, based on their roster on CollegeSwimming.com from their first meet, they lost quite a number of swimmers, including Kaitlyn Welch (5 pts., 3 relays). Their two other scorers from last year, Courtney Betsock (6, 4r) and Sarah Wolfe (3, 1r) are back as sophomores. The Dutchmen add seven newcomers, but none appears to have immediate scoring potential.
- Albright – The Lions’ recruiting class is, on paper, the clear best in the conference, and that factor should offset their losses to keep them on top of the MAC once again this year. Bryce Schaffer (57 pts., 2r) returns after sweeping the butterfly events as a freshman and triple runner-up Teag Culver (51, 2r) is also back. The Lions get an enormous boost with the return of 2x 100 Breast and 2017 200 Breast Champion Tyler Chamberlin. That addition, along with the addition of freshman Joseph Guiliano (22.37/48.03/1:47.65, 52.64/1:56.88 BA) should greatly improve Albright’s relays, particularly their medley relays. Albright does lose to big pieces early in Will Griffith (41, 1r) and Jay Deschamps (35, 4r), but seniors Brendan Mackey-Wood (35), Conor Hassard (33), and Sean Riddle (32) and junior Maliq Williams (30) give the Lions a second-tier like none other in the league.
- Arcadia – The losses of Grant Fisher (54 pts., 2r, 500/1650 champ) and Jacob Schedllinger (35, 3r) to graduation, as well as the early departure of Justin Reed (16), are enough to take the Knights out of the title race, but there is still plenty of talent. TJ Dalton (57, 3r), the 2018 MAC 400 IM and 200 Breast champion, will continue to be a force, and seniors Michael Melissen (43, 4r) and Andrew Givone (39, 1r) and juniors Mark Preedy (47, 4r) and Tristan Highet (37, 3r) join Dalton to give Arcadia a very strong core. The Knights have six newcomers, led by Joe Pedisich (53.64/2:02.81 FL) and Jack Cashin (57.63/2:05.19 BA, 1:03.3/2:19.5 BR).
- Widener – Two-time Honorable Mention All-American and 2018 MAC Swimmer of the Year Aaron Green (57 pts., 4 relays) is back to lead the way for the Pride after taking 9th in the 50 and 11th in the 100 at NCAAs in March. The Pride also return a trio of strong juniors in Martin Bohdan (41, 4r), JP Luksic (29.5, 2r), and Paolo Cortez (21.5, 3r). Daniel Parker (57.09/2:04.3 BA, 54.5/1:58 FL, 4:23 IM) should make big contributions as a freshman, but Widener’s lack of depth still keeps them from moving into the top two.
- Messiah – The Messiah men are likely to continue their downward trend in 2018-19, as leading scorer Nolan McArdle (49 pts., 4 relays) graduated, and two other key pieces in 200 free champion Drew Wolfe (47, 4r) and Jeffrey Gao (35.5) aren’t on this year’s roster. Ridge Hagar (44, 4r) and Daniel Logan (41) both return from great rookie campaigns, and Andrew Leeper (29, 3r) and Kurtis Plateel (25) are also back, but the Falcons have only two freshmen. Of those two, Tyler Wilkinson (48.66/1:47.5 FR, 55.16/2:03.4 BA) should make an impact.
- King’s – King’s returns nine of their top 10 scorers, including a trio of seniors in Bryce Groshardt (37 pts., 4 relays), Chris Soutter (30, 1r), and Dan Weekes (27, 4r) and junior 100 Breast MAC champ Rhyce Hammaker (37, 4r). Freshmen Kris Boxter (1:00.49/2:17.6 BR) and Shawn Parrott (57.67 BA, 54.85 FL), the best of the team’s six freshmen, should be able to replace the points lost by the early departures of Chris Michael and Chris Kwasizur.
- Misericordia – The Misericordia men will take a step back this year, as the final of the Grzech siblings is gone with the graduation of leading scorer Joe Grzech (46 pts., 4 relays). Juniors Ricky Averill (41, 4r) and Aidan Bergan (39, 4r) are back to lead the way, and Logan Fluegel (18, 4r) is coming off a solid freshman season. Of the team’s six freshmen, Jason Winters (1:02.06/2:18 BR) and Danny Chlebove (49.85/1:50.29) should be able to contribute.
- Wilkes – Wilkes should take a small jump up the MAC standings this year with new HC Thomas Limouze, as two of the Colonels’ recruits should be among their top scorers in Connor Brought (21.86/48.13/1:45.67, 2:04.12 IM) and Trey Harloff (1:02.8 BR, 2:03.6 FL, 2:03/4:32 IM). Jared Byrne (22 pts., 4 relays) is also back after a strong freshman season.
- Lycoming – Lyco takes a big hit with the graduation of second-leading scorer Andrew Canavan (24 pts., 3 relays), but 100 Back champion Callan Jordan (35, 4r) is back for his senior season to lead the way for the Warriors. Only two newcomers on this year’s roster, and Jake Booth (55.45 BA) appears to be the better of the two.
- Hood – Hood returns its only three individual scorers from a year ago in seniors Max Riedel (21 pts., 4 relays) and Matt Ball (17, 4r) and junior Gaby Hernandez-Paese (19, 4r). The addition of Jon Foley (22.29/49.01) adds individual scoring and should help the Blazers’ relays, potentially enough to challenge the two teams ranked ahead of them.
- FDU-Florham – The Devils took a big hit with the early loss of leading scorer Bohdan Semak (44 pts., 4 relays), who scored more than two-thirds of the team’s individual points. Eric Bang (17, 4r) returns after a strong freshman season, and Nicholas DiBenedetto (2, 3r) also scored, but that’s it. Seven newcomers join the team, but none has evident immediate scoring potential coming in.
- Lebanon Valley – LVC graduated one of the program’s all-time greats in 200 IM champ Ian Lloyd (53 pts., 4 relays) and also graduated their only other individual scorer in Chris Kurtz (15, 4r). According to CollegeSwimming.com, they had just four swimmers on this year’s roster with no freshmen. At the very least, they will be able to compose relays.
- Stevenson – The Mustangs had only three athletes on last year’s roster, and Zachery Cather (21 pts.), the team’s lone scorer, graduated. This year, they still only have three athletes and zero freshman, but the team does get Stephen Kratzer (1:48.54 200, 53.30 FL) after missing last year, and he should be capable of keeping Stevenson on the board.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Cassie Cotton, Messiah
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Angelina Franceschini, Widener
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Aaron Green, Widener
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Joseph Giuliano, Albright
The 2018-19 season figures to be an exciting one for the MIAC, both on the conference level and the national level. From the returning depth of the top two programs in St. Thomas and Gustavus Adolphus to the sensational recruiting class of St. Catherine’s, talent abounds in this league.
Three schools will have new head coaches at the helm this season. Following the retirement of Bill Saxton, Reed Fujan makes his head coaching debut at St. John’s following a year as a volunteer assistant at Indiana and a stellar career as an athlete at Notre Dame. Kyllian Griffin takes over at Macalester after four years at Illinois Tech, replacing Beth Whittle, who departed for Pacific U, and Lindsay Mikkelson takes over at Augsburg following two seasons as HC at Stevens.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- St. Thomas – MIAC Swimmer of the Year and All-American Katelyn Strauss (60 pts., 4 relays, 500/1FL/2FL champ) is back for her senior season after taking fifth in DIII in the 200 Fly in March, and two of her three teammates who joined her on the Tommies’ Honorable Mention All-America 400 Free Relay are back as well in Kate Smarjesse (48, 4r) and Alex Howard (45, 4r). The fourth member of that relay, Tiana Molitor (45, 3r) graduated, as did Nicole Herrli (57, 2BR/2IM Champ), but they were the only two losses among the team’s top 15 scorers. Kirsten Nelson (53, 1r, 2BA champ) returns, and Kasey Ericson (43, 1r) and Gretchen Behrens (42) will look to build on great freshman seasons. The Tommies’ recruiting class doesn’t have the top-end talent of some of the other teams in the conference, but Ann Van Hout (25.59/55.05/1:59.6/5:09, 59.7/2:11 BA, 58.8 FL), Anna Astrup (1:00.7 BA, 57.85/2:19.5 FL, 2:13 IM), and Isabelle Schneider (25.65/54.34/1:57, 1:08.6/2:34 BR, 1:03.3 FL, 2:17 IM) should all be able to score significant points.
- Gustavus – While Gustavus and St. Thomas lost similar amounts in terms of points, the gap between the two is likely to grow this year, as the Gusties’ recruiting class just isn’t quite as strong. Kate Reilly (46 pts., 4 relays) and Kennedy Holwerda (45, 4r), Honorable Mention All-American’s on GAC’s 200 Free Relay, both graduated, but there’s plenty left in the tank for GAC, who will be led by a trio of seniors. Maggie Webster, an HM All-American in the 50 Free and 200 Free Relay and MIAC Champ in both the 50 and 100, is back for her senior season, as are Haley Pesik (46, 2r) and Sydney Hallmark (43, 1r). Alyssa Lokensgard (20, 2r) was the fourth member of the Gusties’ HM All-America 2FR, and she is back as well, but it may be difficult for them to return to nationals this year. There are no evident stars in the freshman class, but Elizabeth Speedling (1:01.29 FL, 2:17/4:47 IM) and diver Theadosia Cox should be the most ready to contribute.
- St. Catherine – Mary Jane Voss (40 pts., 3 relays) is gone, but Franceska Hernandez-Nietling (47, 4r) is back looking to build upon a sensational freshman season and St. Kate’s has the best recruiting class in the MIAC. Jordyn Wentzel (24.34/51.69/1:51/4:56/17:50, 58.8 BA, 1:02.4/2:15 BR, 57.1/2:04.3 FL, 2:05.6/4:33.8) already has NCAA DIII top-8 times in the breaststroke events and could win several different events as a third at the MIAC Championships while Maggie Menso (53.94/1:53/4:51.6/16:39, 2:17/4:34.9 IM) is a national champion contender in the 500 and 1650. Oh, and don’t forget fellow newcomers Hannah Svendsen (5:18.5 500, 1:00.8/2:09 BA, 1:10.7 BR, 1:02.4 FL, 2:12.2/4:34.8 IM) and Macy Klein (23.71/52.03, 1:00.7 FL), both of whom should be able to score significant points. A lack of depth will keep them from reaching the top two teams at MIACs, but St. Kate’s could score the most points at NCAAs.
- St. Olaf – St. Olaf returns their top four scorers and nine of their top 10 overall, with standout diver Rose Peterson – the 2018 MIAC Champ on both boards – the only key loss. Marissa Wolff (52.5 pts., 4 relays) is back after a sensational freshman season that saw her win the 200 free title, and Helen Jensen (49, 4r, 4IM champ), Linnea Rizzo (45, 2r), and NCAA-qualifier Caitlin Croasdell (42, 1r, 1650 champ) all return, too. Maya Knutson (24.66/52.47/1:55/5:08, 2:14 BA, 2:28.9 BR, 59.7 FL, 2:12/4:37 IM) is the gem of a five-woman recruiting class and should reach multiple A-finals.
- Carleton – Senior Caroline Mather (46.5 pts., 4 relays) is back for a final run, and graduated diver Amy Roach (32) is the only departure from the team’s top seven scorers. Ada Meyer (29, 3r) and Kyle Fraser-Mines (22, 2r) were the other two Knights to reach A-finals last season, and the team will be bolstered by a recruiting class of 13 women, highlighted by Alison Cameron (1:59.3/5:20.8 FR< 1:01.4/2:13.6 FL, 4:44.2 IM) and diver Andrea Tartaglia.
- St. Benedict – CSB graduated its top two scorers in Kenzie Young (30 pts., 3r) and Kristina Rudin (29, 3r), and the Bennies lost another 20 points to early departure. Talented diver Mallory Jarvi (26) is back, however, as are swimmers Lauren Christiansen (23, 1r), Ashley Groebner (18, 2r), and Claudia Mahoney (16, 2r). Ana Birklid (25.28/54.65/1:53.2/5:02/10:54, 59.48/2:08.19 BA, 2:15.74 IM) may be one of the league’s top newcomers, and Izzy Sonday (1:58.78/5:13/18:08) and Mikayla Von Wahlde (55.45 FR, 58.16 BA, 2:14 IM) both should be able to score significant points. The Bennies also have a pair of divers (Kylie Egger, Kathryn Ellingson) among their 10 freshmen.
- Hamline – The good news for Hamline is that backstroke standout Taylor Martinek is back for her senior year after winning the 100 Back title last year, and junior Bryce White, the team’s only other scorer at MIACs, is also back. The bad news? The Pipers lost three swimmers to graduation and four more to early departures. Among their five recruits are a pair of divers in Alexandra Lopez-Rivera and Spencer Brady, leaving just six swimmers on the roster – a thin margin to compose five relays. Alex Torgrimson (1:02.96/2:13.9 BA, 1:02.6/2:17.4 FL, 2:16.9/4:46 IM) is the best of Hamline’s newcomers.
- Macalester – Macalester will be battling closely with Hamline for seventh, and junior Ana Thompson (32 pts., 4 relays) will be leading the way once again. Junior diver Francesca Gillis (14) and sophomore Zoe Schopick (14) are also back, but the team does lose a pair of grads in Kaia Lund (19, 4r) and diver Molly Lloyd (9). Betsy Foy (1:09.27 BR) leads a six-woman recruiting class, which includes one diver in Lydia Yoder.
- Concordia-Moorhead – The Cobbers return their two multi-event scorers in senior Ciara White (7 pts., 3r) and Amy Warren (6, 4r). Last year, the difference between Concordia-Moorhead and the teams below them on this list was their relay finishes, and we don’t see that changing this year. Freshmen Abby Bartosiewski (1:03.73 FL) and Alexandra Rasmussen (1:10.2 BR) both will have a change of scoring at MIACs.
- Augsburg – Morgan Mangel scored Augsburg’s only three individual points at last year’s MIAC Championships, and she is one of three swimmers back this season. The return of diver Cassie Lehman, who scored 12 points at the MIACs in 2017, is what lifts the Auggies above St. Mary’s, as the team’s seven freshmen are unproven.
- St. Mary’s – Diver Kierra Walske (6 pts.) was the team’s lone individual scorer last year, and she’s back for her senior season. Junior Kizzy Bell (1:10.86 BR) has a chance to score in the breaststroke events.
- St. Thomas – The Tommies suffered massive losses to graduation and one early departure – none bigger than 2018 MIAC Swimmer of the Year and HM All-American Bailey Biwer- and they return just 395 of their 748 individual points scored last season and 10 of 20 relay slots. That said, the Tommies’ tremendous depth makes them the best suited to deal with such losses. Seniors Tom Negaard (57 pts., 4 relays) – the 2018 MIAC Champ in both the 50 and 100 and part of St. Thomas’s NCAA-qualifying 200 Free Relay – and Maximilian Larson (52, 1r, 4IM champ) are back to lead the way, and Adam Boerner (46, 1r) returns after a strong freshman year. Joe Herrli (41) and Hunter Nielsen (41, 2r) were both 40-point scorers, as well. The Tommies will likely replace some of their 353 points lost from within, as seniors James Bussey and Jason Tri both reached multiple MIAC A-finals in 2017 before failing to make the conference roster a year ago. Bryce Hoppe, Collin Moon, and Jacob Rear are other returners who will strongly contend to score this year, and the Tommies’ 12-man freshman class is likely the top in the league from top to bottom. Logan Shafer (17:38, 2:05 BA, 57.8/2:04.1 BR, 53.9 FL, 1:57.8/4:19 IM) will be a big factor in the breaststroke and IM events, and John Gahns (1:45/4:54 FR, 51.86/1:52.84, 53.1 FL, 1:57 IM) should score big points in the backstroke events. Joey Vacura (1:46.9 200, 59.26/2:11 BR, 54.9 FL), Noah Faldet (57.36/2:18 BR, 53.9 FL), and Garrett Riley (21.33/47.89 FR) all will compete for spots as well.
- Gustavus Adolphus – While we still favor the Tommies to win the title, Gustavus should make it closer than it was a year ago. Tanner Sonnek, a repeat All-American in the 100 Breast (7th) and MIAC Champ in both breaststroke events, is back for his senior season to lead the way, and sophomores Nolan Larson (54 pts., 4 relays, 2IM Champ) and Josh Muntifering (48, 4r) are both back after terrific rookie campaigns. Zach Dawson (46, 1r), Ryan Sklar (44, 1r), and Riley Fairbanks (42) all broke the 40-point mark, and diver Logan Bican (33) should be one of the favorites for the league’s Diver of the Year honor. The Gusties also get a huge boost from the return of junior Matthew Allison, the 2017 MIAC Champ in the 50 Free and runner-up in both the 100 and 200 and an NCAA qualifier. If back to his 2017 form, he should make an enormous impact on GAC’s relays. Dutch Franko-Dynes (47.26/1:45.98, 55.77 BA), Luke Bergstrom (21.66 50, 1:02 BR), and Ryan Kawlewski (1:48/4:48 FR) are the best of 12 newcomers.
- Carleton – Sophomore Stevie Fitch (39 pts., 4 relays) is back after a breakout freshman season that saw him lead the Knights in scoring last year, while Jacob Dalluge (31, 4r) and Nick Reeves (31, 4 r) are also back. Carleton and St. Olaf will be embroiled in a neck-and-neck battle for third place once again this year where every single point will matter, but a slightly stronger recruiting class should be the difference. Adam Nik (58.52/2:12 BR, 52.1/1:59.6 FL, 4:21.8 IM) could reach A-finals in several different events, and Allen Yuan (1:49.6/4:56.4/17:09, 55.6/2:03.1 FL, 4:28 IM) should make an impact, too.
- St. Olaf – The Oles didn’t lose a single point or relay slot from last year’s MIAC Championships squad and return several strong scorers at the top of their lineup, highlighted by junior John Loepfe (54 pts., 4r) – the 2018 MIAC Champ in both backstroke events. Seniors Abe Casey (38, 3r), Gus Reynolds (38, 4r), and diver Leif Jorgensen Duus (32) all return, and Marcel Hones (35, 4r) is back coming off a strong freshman season. Sjon Greseth (21.74/51.72/1:47/4:41/16:32, 1:59 BA, 4:17 IM) leads a group of five St. Olaf newcomers, which also includes Ben Schaefers (53.96 FL) and Colorado College transfer Fritz Swearingen (18:02 1650).
- St. John’s – The Johnnies return four of their top five scorers in Mitchell Dockendorf (29 pts., 4 relays), Caleb Birklid (26, 1r), Mick Olson (22, 1r), and Jacob Upton (22, 2r), but the loss of 10 graduates and five early departures amounts to the loss of 96 of the team’s 242 individual points and eight relay slots from the 2018 MIACs. Steven Froehle (21.53/47.60) is the tops of the team’s seven newcomers, while diver Leo Braun will also be able to score.
- Hamline – Hamline lost the most of the teams at the bottom half of last year’s MIAC standings, as Hodd Gorman (46 pts., 4 relays) and Joe Campbell (20) both graduated. Now sophomores, Nicholas Grivna (34, 3r) and Andrew Hobar (25, 2r) are both back, as is classmate Isaac Hanson (18, 4r) and senior Adam Berg (15). Only three recruits joined the team, but Nathan Steeves (1:49.8/4:53/17:08) should be able to contribute right away.
- St. Mary’s – Lone scorer Griffin Rades (33 pts., 4 relays) is back after a strong freshman season, and the other good news for the Cardinals is that five newcomers gives them eight total swimmers on their roster, meaning that they should be able to compose a full five relays this season. Alex Morrow (4:26 IM) and Cole Stepanovich (57.3 BA, 4:44 IM) appear to be the freshmen most capable of scoring at MIACs.
- Macalester – Diver Kieran Cuddy (30 pts.) is back after a terrific freshman season, but he was the only Macalester athlete to score individual points at MIACs in 2018. Sam Gleason is back after a year away from the team, and there are five newcomers, but none appears clearly able to score immediately.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Jordyn Wentzel, St. Catherine’s
- Women’s Diver of the Year: Kellie Pruitt, St. Thomas
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Jordyn Wentzel, St. Catherine’s
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Tanner Sonnek, Gustavus
- Men’s Diver of the Year: Logan Bican, Gustavus
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Logan Shafer, St. Thomas
It’s been an offseason of major transition for the Capital Athletic Conference. Marymount departed for the newly formed Atlantic East Conference, reducing the league to just five members. The coaching carousel also set up shop within the league, as three of the five schools have new head coaches in 2018-19. At York, Greg Doyle’s departure to be an assistant at D-I Wingate eventually brought in Eric Rasmussen as the new HC of the Spartans after a lengthy career in the swimming/aquatics realm that has seen HC stints at NJIT and D-I St. Peter’s and assistant jobs at multiple D-I programs, including national powerhouse Texas. When Mary Washington’s HC Abby Brethauer headed north to become associate HC at Tufts, Justin Anderson returned to his alma mater after five years at Frostburg State. That void allowed Bryan Christiansen to take his first HC job at Frostburg after serving as an assistant at both SUNY-New Paltz and John Carroll over the past few years.
With all that said, what really matters is the same: swim fast in February and March. And when it comes to that, not much should change, as Mary Washington and York should be at the top of the league once again in 2018-19.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Mary Washington – The Eagles lost two major pieces in Megan Murphy – one of just two swimmers to win three titles (1IM/1FL/2FL) at CACs – and Maddy Rymer (49 pts). Junior Julia Geskey (57, 4 relays) is back after winning league titles in the 200 and 400 IM and missing invitation to NCAAs in the 4IM by less than half a second, as is Claudia Keller, who won the 500 and 1650 during a standout freshman season. Every swimmer on UMW’s conference roster scored at least 20 points, including five other 40-point scorers (Callie Dunham, Erin Whitesell, Mary Zagrobelny, Kait Luncher, Grace Gartman), so they should be able to absorb some of their losses. Grace Nicolai (57.89/1:57.1/5:05/18:22, 2:09.5 BA, 1:07.9/2:24.8 BR, 1:01.8/2:09.4/4:30.7 IM) is one of the top freshmen in the league and could challenge for multiple conference titles immediately, while Sally Burkley (26.34/57.68/2:02.9, 1:07.7/2:27.9 BR, 59.94/2:29 FL, 2:21.9/4:51 IM), Ingrid Dizon (25.69/55.81 FR, 1:12.3/2:33.9 BR, 1:02.9/2:18 FL, 2:18.8/4:48 IM), and Macey Lynch (26.29/56.96/1:58.7/5:11.9/17:57, 1:01.1/2:12.6 BA, 2:20.7 IM) should all be able to make the conference roster and score major points.
- York – YCP lost more than any other team in the conference, as Jenna Hufnagle (45 pts, 1 relay) didn’t return to go along with the graduations of Rachel Spaulding (45, 3r), Danielle Werner (43, 2r), and Kacy Banks (30), among others. Junior Justine Wantz (53, 3r), the defending champ in both backstrokes, is back, as are triple runner-up Adrianna Ayala (51, 4r) and Andrea Sturgis (47, 2r). The Spartans also get an enormous boost from the return of Madeline Mann, the 2017 CAC Champ in the 500 and 1650 and runner-up in the 200. Kristin Bria (24.75/56.29, 1:10.6 BR), Taylor Harper (25.98/55.15/2:04.1, 1:04/2:25 BA, 1:10.8/2:33.8 BR, 1:00.9/2:27 FL, 2:14.3/4:52.8 IM), and Colleen Mahoney (25.69/55.59/5:14/11:01, 1:02.5/2:11.6 BA, 2:20 FL, 2:15.5 IM) are the best of York’s six newcomers.
- Frostburg State – The Bobcats finally reached the end of the Macey Nitchie era, as the standout sprinter and two-time CAC Swimmer of the Year graduated last spring after sweeping the sprint free events in 2018. However, Frostburg St. does return its next nine scorers from CACs last year, headlined by senior Maddie Weinberger (52 pts., 4 relays), who swept the breaststroke events a year ago. Haley Benedictis (26.46 50, 1:13.2/2:43.8 BR) and Aubree Morris (26.7/58.1/2:05.3, 1:02.3 FL) are the cream of an eight-woman recruiting crop.
- St. Mary’s – SMC still doesn’t have their 18-19 rosters online on their website, so we were forced to use the roster on CollegeSwimming.com. By that roster, SMC does return five of its top six scorers, including Anna LaPoint (43 pts, 4 relays), Hailley Baughman (40, 4r), and Carolyn Sutton (31, 4r). All six recruits are capbable of scoring at the league meet, led by Rileigh Krell (59.84/2:12.8 BA, 1:01.5 FL), Brenna Litynski (26.3/56.7/1:58.5/5:21/19:05, 2:19.6/4:57 IM), and Holly Smith (26.65/57.7, 1:09.77/2:36 BR, 1:03 FL).
- Salisbury – The Seagulls return their top three scorers in Emma Tarnosky (29, 4 relays), Angela Barzanti (23, 4r), and Jordyn Rowe (23, 4r) but not too much beyond that. SU did bring in 10 newcomers, highlighted by Mary Green (26.48/57.75/2:08.54/5:54.5) and Ryane Porter (26.37/58.00/2:05.68/5:49, 5:06.9 IM).
- Mary Washington – While UMW lost more points to graduation (154) than any other team in the league and will miss Kenyon Huber-Wilker (48, 4 relays), Chris Cassingham (38, 1r), Matt Martinez (36), and Anthony Stephens (32), their incredible depth is well equipped to absorb such losses. All 18 of their scoring swimmers from the 2018 CAC Championships scored at least 23 points, including eight returning 40-point scorers. Senior Jeffrey Leckrone, an NCAA qualifier and last year’s CAC 200 Breast champ, leads the way for the Eagles alongside four juniors in Austin Farrar (50, 1r), Carsen Mumford (48, 1r), Noah Carptenter (47, 1r), and Mark Dye (46, 1r). The league’s best recruiting class will help to make up for the team’s losses; Matt Curran (22.24/48.81/1:45.44/4:58, 51.33/1:51 BA, 59.55/2:12 BR, 1:54.85/4:14 IM), Jonathan Brooks (18:34, 57.67/2:07.8 BR, 1:57.3/4:12.3 IM), and Jeffrey Leckrone’s younger brother Thomas (50.33 FR, 52.2 FL) should make the most immediate impacts.
- York – Barring something unexpected, YCP is a lock to finish in second this year, as the Spartans lost as much as UMW without bringing quite as much in. Keven Stahl is back after a sensational freshman year that saw him win three conference titles (500/1650/4IM), garner CAC Rookie of the Year honors, and become an Honorable Mention All-American in the mile. Junior Jesse Tate also won multiple individual titles (2IM/2FL), and Kaelan Dowdell (44 pts.) had a strong freshman season of his own. Graduate Morgan Schreiber (55 pts., 4 relays, 1BA/2BA champ) was the team’s biggest loss, but Trevor Brinton (35.5, 3r), Glaucio Silva (25), and Gabriel Penn (19) didn’t return to the team this year. Five of the team’s seven recruits should be able to score right away, led by Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Gentry (22.06/48.37/1:44.9/4:45/17:55, 51.49/1:56.3 BA, 50.75/1:57 FL, 4:16 IM) and Kyle Shane (50.3/1:47.7/4:49/17:34, 53.3/1:56.7 BA, 4:28 IM).
- Salisbury – The margin between Salisbury and the two teams above them will likely grow even greater this year, as the Seagulls didn’t bring in enough to offset the losses of graduates Conor Johnston (32 pts., 2 relays), Stephen Arcidiacono (31), and Bill James (20) and three underclassmen (14). Junior Josh Brown is back after joining York’s Stahl as the only two swimmers to win three individual titles at the 2018 CAC Championships (50/1FL/1IM). In fact, SU returns its top four scorers, as seniors Peter Moyer (43, 3r), Jake Ryan (37, 4r), and Richard Baker (34, 4r) are also back. However, Brandon Hoagland (49.38/1:50.1 FR, 57.09/2:02.8 BA, 53.9/2:02.2 FL, 2:07.8/4:25.6 IM) is the only newcomer who comes in with times indicating he’ll make a significant impact.
- Frostburg State – The Bobcats simply won’t be able to replace the loss of Christian March, the 2017 and 2018 CAC Swimmer of the Year and last year’s 100 Breast champion, but their top four returning scorers are all freshman, which is a good sign for the years to come. Luke Holloway, the 2018 100 Free champ, will look to build off a fantastic freshman campaign, as will Anthony Giuseppetti. Adam Stein (1:53/5:01/17:25, 4:29.6 IM) and Cameron Edwards (50.8/1:53.9, 59.4/2:09.5 BA, 5:07.8 IM) are the best of FSU’s six-man recruiting class.
- St. Mary’s – The roster situation is the same for the Seahawk men, and the loss of Kieran Broder, Maxwell Madden and two other swimmers to graduation now seems even worse with the apparent early departure of second-leading scorer Colin Cassady (42 pts., 4 relays). It’s possible that Cassady just missed their first meet, and, if that’s the case, we move the Seahawks ahead of FSU into the four-slot. Distance freestyler Andrew Scott (49 pts, 2 relays) is back after a standout freshman season, and juniors Peter Orban (33, 4r) and Ryan Akhavan (23, 1r) also return. Andrew March (9 pts in BR/IM at ’17 CACs) returns to the team after a year away, and Lucas Wheal (23.0/49.1/1:49.7/5:13, 55.7 FL, 2:05.6 IM) appears to be the team’s top freshman.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Julia Geskey, UMW
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Grace Nicolai, UMW
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Keven Stahl, York
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Matt Curran, UMW/Austin Gentry, York