PREVIEW: Middle Atlantic Conference

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:

MIAC WOMEN:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

MAC MEN:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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

PREVIEW: Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

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:

MIAC WOMEN:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

MIAC MEN:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

PREVIEW: Capital Athletic Conference

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:

CAPITAL WOMEN:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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).

CAPITAL MEN:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

PREVIEW: Landmark Conference

Both the Susquehanna women and Catholic men defended their Landmark titles in 2018, and we think that both will do the same in 2019. Both the Catholic and Scranton women should close the gap on Susquehanna, however, and on the men’s side, the exciting race will be between Scranton and Drew for third place. We aren’t sure if this will be Marywood’s last year in the Landmark, as the institution joined the newly-formed Atlantic East, which is hosting its own swimming and diving championships for the first time this year, but, at least for this year, the Pacers have the Landmark Championships on their schedule.

Here are our projected standings with previews:

LANDMARK WOMEN:

  1. Susquehanna – The River Hawks’ bid for a ninth-straight conference title isn’t quite a sure thing, as the losses of Joann Butkus (46.5 pts, 4 relays), Jess Jozefiak (44.5, 3r), and diver Rachael Wood (24) are significant. By their times on CollegeSwimming.com, the recruiting class doesn’t seem to have enough to offset those losses, but D-I St. Francis (PA) transfer Olivia Fravel (25.67/54.79/1:58.97, 1:05.47/2:22.84 BR, 1:00.1 FL, 2:11.95 IM) will help. Senior Katie Willis will lead the way and look to take the next step from the B-cut she earned last year, and SU also returns four other 40-points scorers from last year’s league meet: Caitlin Kelly (48), Megan Shaffer (47), Tori Weems (47), and Abby Condon (41).
  2. Catholic – Like the CUA men, the Catholic women lost more than any other team in the conference, as graduates Madison Amann, Basira Knight, Riley Hawblitzel, Rachel Chain, and Brooke Krajewski combined for 135 points last year. The Cardinals do return six of their top seven scorers, however, including 40-point scorers Caroline Beal (48, 4 relays), Rachael Zarlinski (46, 3r), and Morgan James (40, 4r). Their 20 (yes, 20!) woman recruiting class is also has the deepest talent level in the league. Angela Castano (24.41/55.48/2:07.19, 59.18 FL) should be one of the best newcomers in the league, while Cagney Boyle (2:03.91 200, 1:03/2:12 BA, 1:10.4/2:30 BR, 2:17.2 IM), Megan Leibfreid (24.69 50, 59.66 BA), Margaret Angotti (25.41/55.3/2:00.5, 1:01.6 BA), Kelly Smith (57.2/2:06 FR, 1:02.7/2:17.4 BA, 1:03.8 FL, 2:21.7/4:57.7 IM), and Kate Von Heeringen (56.2/2:00 FR, 1:12/2:38 BR, 2:19.9 IM) should all fight for scoring roster spots come February. We still don’t think it’s quite enough to catch Susquehanna, but it should be a much closer race.
  3. Scranton – Lauren Byrne is back after a sensational freshman year that saw her win a trio of LC titles (2IM, 1BR, 1BA), as are seniors Claire Mason (50 pts., 2BR champ) and Susan Neggia (38) and junior Jenna Harper (45). In fact, the Royals return their top 12 scorers and lose just 29 individual points in total. Add in two of the league’s top newcomers, and Scranton is poised to greatly close the gap between them and Catholic. DI Duquesne transfer Audrey Campo (24.06/53.5/1:58.1, 1:04.2/2:17.5 BR, 59.75/2:16.2 FL, 2:06.5/4:36.6 IM) could win multiple conference titles, as could freshman Amber Diehl (24.06/54.48/2:04.47, 1:04.1/2:24.3 BR), and both will greatly improve Scranton’s relays.
  4. Drew – Drew returns three of its top four scorers in LC Swimmer of the Year and HM All-American Mal Vishwanath (200/500/1650 champ, 4 relays), Stephanie Cushman (54 pts, 2BA champ, 2 relays), and Katie Jefferson (37, 4 relays), but the Rangers did lose swimmer/diver Jenny Stein (53, 1M champ, 4 relays) and Jamie Riffel (31, 3 relays). Six newcomers will help to make up those points, led by Sydney Everhart (56.97/2:06.62 FR, 1:03.28 BA, 58.28/2:12.72 FL, 2:21 IM), Mackenzie Garcia Hynds (24.59/53.46/1:56.96, 59.69/2:19.16 FL, 2:12.55 IM), and Abby Shapiro (54.85/1:59.40/5:11.9/18:19, 1:03.6/2:14 BA, 4:53 IM) should all make an impact at the league championships immediately.
  5. Marywood – Marywood returns its top two individual scorers in Mia Nardone (51 pts., 2FL champ) and Julia Randolph (39) and also has 18 of its 20 relay slots back. The loss of diver Courtney Snyder is significant and could prevent the Pacers for challenging Drew ahead of them, but Maia Clasby (1:08.42/2:39 BR, diver) and Emily Bubel (1:03.9/2:20.3 FL, 5:07.7 IM) should both help to offset those points.
  6. Juniata – Sophomore Alex Fontes will look to take the next step after leading the team in individual scoring in 2018, but it’s a pair of freshmen that will be the biggest difference in the Eagles being able to move out of the Landmark basement. Tabi Dettelback (1:03.95/2:22.2 BA, 1:10.8/2:33 BR) will certainly score. Cassie Sanidad is an interesting case – her top times (25.59 50, 1:05.28/2:26.9 BR, 1:02.6/2:23.9 FL, 4:46 IM) would earn major points at the Landmark Championships, but they are all from the 16-17 season or earlier. Juniata will need her to return to that form to make the leap to sixth.
  7. Elizabethtown – Sara Lingo (47 pts., 3 relays) is back after a breakout sophomore year that saw her win the Landmark 400 IM title and finish top-6 in both the 500 and 1650. However, the rest of the team scored just 16 individual points, and graduate Dru Schneider earned seven of them. Freshman Marin Adams (5:30.8 500, 1:04.4/2:19.2 FL, 2:21.9/5:14 IM) has the potential to score in several events.
  8. Goucher – Goucher lost four of its top eight scorers to graduation – none more important than senior Alexis Regopoulos (42 pts., 1 relay) – and also saw Alexis Liszewski (28 pts., 4 relays) leave after her freshman year for DI Saint Louis. Those losses mean the Gophers return just 45 of the 128 individual points they scored last season, with 36 of those belonging to senior Ila Jackson. Hallie Stewart (2:04.47 FR, 2:17.79 BA, 2:19.87 IM) and Caitlin Cunningham (2:04.67/5:26 FR) lead an eight-woman recruiting class.

LANDMARK MEN:

  1. Catholic – Yes, Catholic lost more than any team in the conference, and the losses of Peter Bajorek (43 pts) and diver Joseph Soraghan (37pts, 1M Champ) to graduation and Olivier Nguyen (46.5, 4 relays) and David Lindros (38) to early departure are not to be scoffed at, but they aren’t going to offset the Cardinals’ 300-point victory at last year’s league meet. Conference Swimmer of the Year Gregory McCarthy (2IM/4IM/2BR champ) will look to take the next step as a sophomore after a somewhat disappointing NCAA Championships, as will classmates Matt Mahon (50/100/200 FR champ) and James Verby (500/1650 champ). Three other 40-point scorers – Sam Hicks (46), Kevin Jay (46), and Luke Nicholson (42) – are also back, and the Cardinals added one of the league’s top recruits in Daniel Taylor (22.05/47.27/1:43.4, 58.8/2:13.3 BR, 54.69 FL, 1:55.8/4:14.9 IM). Jeffery Schriefer-Flores (21.65/48.1/1:46.2/4:57, 54.5/1:59 BA, 53.1 FL, 1:58 IM) and Lenny Brown (50.0/1:48/4:52/18:08) are two of several other newcomers who should be able to factor into Catholic’s scoring lineup.
  2. Susquehanna – The River Hawks should close the gap a bit on Catholic this year and gain a little more distance from Scranton in third, but they are probably locked into second at this point. SU does return its top 11 scorers from the ’18 Landmark Championships, led by double backstroke champion David Grove (54.5 pts., 4 relays), triple runner-up James Orzolek (51, 4r), Owen Madden (46, 1r), and Brett Walker (44, 4r). A deep recruiting class, led by Eric Towse (1:54.8 200, 54.3/1:57.3 BA, 1:02.9/2:17.5 BR, 2:03.2/4:20.7 IM) and Tanner Kronski (1:00.69/2:19.9 BR, 2:02.9 IM), should make the team better. Ryan King (1:50.44 200, 56.6/2:03.4 BA), Mian Laubscher (21.84 50), and Diego Mendieta (22.7/50.06/1:51.6, 55.8 BA, 52.75 FL) should all factor in, as well.
  3. Scranton – Scranton likely won’t make any moves in the conference standings this year, as their freshman class doesn’t seem poised to do much more than offset the losses of graduates Patrick Blaser (36 pts., 3 relays) and Joseph Vannucci (36). Junior Tim Quigley (1FL, 1BR champ, 54pts.) is back to lead the way, as are sophomores Matthew Mills (47) and John Fimmano (42) and junior diver Michael Diana (3M champ). Jack Donnelly (22.23/50.09/1:52.96, 57.1 BA, 58.05/2:08.4 BR, 2:02.2 IM) and Caleb Vreeland (22.39, 59.91 BR, 2:01.25 IM) are the best of a six-man recruiting class.
  4. Drew – Without a single senior on the roster, Drew will turn to a trio of juniors – its top three scores at 2018 Landmarks – to lead the way in Michael Ma (46 pts, 4 relays), Jack Mahoney (46, 4r) and Garrett Pilkington (44, 1r). Four of their five freshmen should be able to make an impact and more than offset the loss of Mack Fox (34, 1r). Josh Roberts (21.97/48.11/1:44.8/4:52.4, 55.6/1:59.9 BA) and Jacob Zajdzinksi (21.95/47.45/1:57.6) should have the biggest impact, with Patrick Nowak (1:00.4/2:23.6 BR, 2:01.9 IM) and Ben Garratt (49.7/1:48.2, 53.57/2:03.9 FL) not far behind.
  5. Elizabethtown – The Blue Jays will likely be in pretty much the same place they found themselves last year – solidly ahead of sixth but far behind fourth. Alex Pecher (26 pts., 4 relays), Nick Petrella (23, 1 relay), and Casey Marshall (22, 4 relays) are all back, but there are no evident immediate helps among the freshmen class – Brock Culver (1:58 200) and Alex Patterson (1:55.4 200) appear to have the most potential early on.
  6. Marywood – Nick Dubinski (32 pts., 3 relays) will look to build on a terrific freshman season and Blake Burlingame (29, 4 relays) returns as a grad student as the Pacers return their top five scorers from the 2018 Landmark meet. Marywood added just two newcomers; diver Carson Barry, if he can put together a 3-meter list, could be one of the team’s top scorers.
  7. Juniata – Juniata didn’t score a single point at the Landmark Championships last year, as they only had three swimmers, preventing them from composing relays. Six newcomers takes care of that problem, meaning they should have an automatic 110 upon which to build. Two of those six newcomers should be able to do some damage individually, with Hunter Mona (1:52.36/4:56 FR, 2:09.6 BA, 2:23.6 BR, 4:23 IM) being the most sure thing. Much like with Sanidad for the Eagle women, Brady Ott (21.41/46.97/1:46.78, 55.27/1:58.6 BA, 52.8/2:05.3 FL, 2:00.4 IM) has best times that could score significant points in a variety of events, but they are from a few years ago. If he returns to form, Juniata will have a few building blocks for the years to come; if not, they’ll be neck and neck with Goucher for the seven-spot.
  8. Goucher – Goucher returns just three swimmers from last season, as their top two scorers in Jerel McCored (23 pts., 3 relays) and Ian Furst (9, 3 relays) both graduated. Jacy MacConvery and Andrew Ackerman lead the way for the Gophers, while Marcus Montisano (1:05.85 BR) and Jackson Penner (22.76/1:51.4 FR, 1:03.9 BR) should be the first to contribute among the team’s seven newcomers.

Projected Award Winners:

  • Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Mal Vishwanath, Drew
  • Women’s Diver of the Year: Krista White, Susquehanna
  • Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Audrey Campo, Scranton
  • Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Gregory McCarthy, Catholic
  • Men’s Diver of the Year: Michael Diana, Scranton
  • Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Daniel Taylor, Catholic

PREVIEW: Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association

The 2018-19 season will be one of transition in the MIAA as one offseason coaching move led to another within the conference. First, let’s give a shoutout to longtime Hope HC Dr. John Patnott, who founded the Hope program in 1978. Patnott will coach his 39th and final season at Hope this year before retiring, and will look to make it a great one for the Flying Dutch(men). Patnott has no shortage of accolades on his resume, highlighted by his three National Coach of the Year honors in the late 80s and early 90s. This offseason, former Hope swimmer Jake Taber ’04 was hired as Patnott’s successor and will spend the 18-19 campaign as co-HC/HC in waiting. Taber’s departure from Albion – where he led the men’s team to it’s first MIAA title in 46 years in 2017 and a narrow runner-up finish last year – allowed for another former Hope swimmer to return to the conference as a HC in Nick Stone.

Last season, Calvin swept the team titles, albeit in very different fashions, as the women won by a sizable 183 points while the men entered the 400 Free Relay tied with Albion, needing to win that final event to squeak out a six-point victory over the Brits. Can the Knights repeat the sweep in 18-19?

Here are our projected standings with previews:

MIAA WOMEN:

  1. Calvin – The Abby Van Harn era has officially come to a close, as the 2x MIAA Most Valuable Swimmer, 18x All-American, and league record-holder in the 50 and 100 Free has finally exhausted her eligibility, but the cupboard is far from bare for the Knights, as seniors Anna Serino (50 pts, 3 relays), Kendall Murphy (47), and Madelyn Smith (46, 2 relays) are back in an attempt to earn their fourth-straight MIAA titles and number 15 in a row for the Knights. Also back are Hannah Chao (47, 2 relays), Abbey Wellman (45, 1 relay), Emily Gunderson (44, 1 relay), and Libby Engle (41, 2 relays). Serino, Smith, Gunderson, and Engle all joined Van Harn and graduate Rachel Mattson as All-Americans in relay events in 2018 and will look to make the trip to Greensboro in 2019. Most of Calvin’s 13-woman recruiting class should be able to contribute; Grace Ann Delcompare (56.0/2:00.5 FR, 59.15/2:09.3 FL, 2:14.2 IM), Valerie Edewaard (53.8/1:57.6 FR, 58.1 FL, 2:22.6 IM), diver Paige Lynch, Samantha Sonday (2:01/5:25 FR, 1:07.4/2:28.4 BR, 2:19.9 FL, 2:15.9 IM), and Anna Weber (24.68/54.78/2:00.96, 58.9/2:17.8 FL, 2:18.3/4:49 IM) should make the most immediate and significant impacts.
  2. Hope –  Hope beat Albion by just 53 points last season, and, while we think that the Flying Dutch will close the gap on Calvin a bit, their margin over the Lady Brits may be even thinner. Chloe Palajac (57 pts., 1FL/2IM champ) is the team’s lone loss among their top 13 scorers, so Hope has a lot back for Coaches Patnott and Taber, led by Paula Nolte (55, 1BR/2BR), Emma Schaefer (53, 4IM), Meg Peel (52, 1BA/2BA), and Erin Emmert (50, 2FL). Peel will look to bounce back after a disappointing NCAAs, and she will be pushed in her best events by new teammate and Sioux Falls transfer Allison Eppinga (23.62/51.16/1:56.81, 56.18/2:05.3 BA, 59.52 FL), who could take over Van Harn’s role as the league’s top sprinter. Aubrey East (1:07.7/2:29.9 BR, 2:16.1 IM), Alyssa Potyraj (1:08.3/2:33 BR, 2:16.3 IM), Paige Kuhn (1:59.6/5:19 FR) and Abigail LaDuke (1:59.9/5:16 FR) all are freshmen who should make a difference.
  3. Albion – Junior Rileigh Eding (50pts, 4 relays) leads the way for Albion, who return 11 of their top 12 scorers from the 2018 MIAAs. Sarah Kilbride (43, 1 relay) is the team’s lone key loss, and the Brits have a talented eight-woman recruiting class, all of whom should be able to contribute right away. Samantha (1:59.31/5:18.8/18:28, 1:00.8/2:12.8 FL, 2:14.4/4:40 IM) and Courtney (2:03.4/5:27/19:18, 1:11.6/2:34 BR, 2:15.8/4:50.8 IM) lead the way among the freshmen, and Elizabeth Cavataio (1:00.98 BA, 2:15/4:48.8 IM), Emily Merucci (1:57.97/5:19 FR, 1:01.8/2:12.6 BA, 1:02/2:21 FL, 2:16 IM), Allison Dasky (24.9/53.8/1:58.2), and Jena Wager (1:00.7 BA, 1:11.3 BR, 2:16.7 IM) should all score significant points.
  4. Kalamazoo – The Hornets will continue to be led by their strong sophomore class in 2018-19. NCAA qualifier Maddie Woods has graduated, but All-American Nicki Bailey, the 2018 MIAA Most Valuable Diver as a freshman, is back, as are fellow NCAA qualifying diver Maddie Jump, Molly Roberts (30 pts), and Steph Rauhoff (30 pts). The Hornets get a big boost with the return of Malak Ghazal, who scored 41 points at the 2017 MIAA Championships in the distance free events. Emily Tenniswood (1:58.1/5:11 FR, 1:08.8/2:27.2 BR, 1:00.6/2:12 FL, 2:15/4:43 IM) appears to be the star of a 12-woman recruiting class. Olivia Anderson (57.58/2:10.6 BA, 59.23 FL, 2:15.87 IM) should be a major scorer, as well, and Eve Petrie should join the Maddies as the next in line in K’Zoo’s strong diving tradition.
  5. Alma – The Scots didn’t lose a single individual point from the 2018 MIAA Championships and lost just two relay slots. Senior Kate Lehman (2FL), sophomore Haven Westra (2BR), and junior Sydney Louis-Ferdinand (1650) lead the team after each reaching an A-final last year. An impressive 17 freshman are on the team’s roster currently. Diver Andrea Van Nuil and swimmers Sarah Gaines (2:02.7 200, 1:12.6/2:35.7 BR, 2:17.5 IM) and Jennifer Ostrowski (1:08.67 BR) should be the best of the crop. Diver Zoie Tranquilla also returns to the team after last competing during the 16-17 season.
  6. Olivet – Olivet took an enormous hit when Ana Paula Montes de Oca Zapiai transferred to DI St. Francis (NY). The NCAA qualifier and 2x MIAA champ (would have been 3x had she not DQd the 200 Fly in prelims) as a freshman earned 40 of Olivet’s 70 individual points earned and swam on four relays. Olivet’s top returning is junior diver Abbie Slater (14 pts.) and the Comets don’t return a single swimmer who reached double-figures. Freshman Kayla Eichaker (25.05/54.74 FR, 1:01.5 FL, 2:23/5:07 IM) should make an immediate impact both in individual events and on relays.

MIAA MEN:

  1. Calvin – The Knights graduated three key pieces from last year’s title team in HM All-American diver Michael Moentmann and relay HM All-Americans Tanner Vincent (MIAA Champ in 2FL, IMs) and Max DeYoung and also saw Levi Nelesen and Alex Bergsma depart early, but Calvin does return six of its top seven scorers and 13 of their top 16. Ben Holstege (50/1BA/2BA Champ), the 2018 MIAA Most Valuable Swimmer, returns for his senior season after taking fifth at NCAAs in the 100 Back and helping the Knights to a trio of consolation final relay finishes last year. Fellow seniors Skyler Fish (53, 100FR Champ) and Jared Britton (51) and freshman Julian Iturbe (54, 200/500 Champ) are back after earning HM All-America honors on a pair of relays each, and juniors Tim Randall (46) and Fear Churchwell (45) also are among the league’s top returners. While Calvin’s recruiting class doesn’t have any one swimmer that appears to be an instant sensation, it is perhaps the deepest class in terms of talent. Noah Holstege (20.96/47.45 FR, 54.09 BA, 1:01.2 BR, 54.8 FL) joins his brothers as part of the Holstege legacy at Calvin, while Bryce Miner (22.48/47.96/1:46.91/4:57.9/17:38, 2:14.6 2BR, 1:58.65/4:31 IM), Nicholas Peeps (56.1/2:05.7 BA, 59.22/2:15 BR, 1:59.67 IM), Trevor Sparks (22.23/47.24/1:44.69/5:00.8), Joake Boender (21.56/48.31/1:49.05. 53.77/1:56.97 BA), and Matthew Creeks (22.43/48.69/1:46.59, 1:00.97 BR) should all score significant points.
  2. Albion – After winning the MIAA title in 2017 and just missing out last year, the first year of the Nick Stone era will be a small step back, as the Brits lost more than any team in the league. The losses of Parker Belmore (50 pts, 4 relays), Lucas Harder (40), and NCAA qualifying diver Jake Maurer (29), among others, to graduation were expected, but the added departure of six non-seniors – most importantly Alec Nyboer (42, 1 relay), Seth Fleming (33), and divers Tai Sims and O’Shea Swinton – gives the Brits a total of 279.5 individual points to replace. The good news? Senior All-American Nate Kozycki (51 pts, 6th at NCAAs in 1FL) is back to lead the squad, as are Tyler Kimbrell (51) and Len Ciemniecki (45) – who joined Kozycki on Albion’s HM All-America 400 Medley Relay) – and Jake Huttenlocher (48) and Mac Robertson (48). Add in MIAA Most Valuable Diver Jake Burris – an HM All-American on both boards – and there’s plenty to be excited about. Connor Robertson (22.1/1:47 FR, 58.5/2:10.5 BR, 1:53.5/4:19.9 IM) and Thomas Treaux (1:43.36/4:41/16:39, 4:24.5 IM) are the team’s top recruits, while Erik Halboth (52.97/1:59 BA, 57.9/2:02.8 FL, 1:58.5/4:18.6 IM) and Robert Hagner (50.1 FR, 51.7 BA, 52.7 FL) should make big contributions, as well.
  3. Hope – Hope lost nearly one third of their points from last year to graduation, as Charlie Emmert (45 pts., 4 relays), Mike Wurster (41 pts., 4 relays) and their fellow classmates earned 158 individual points and filled 12 of the team’s 20 relay slots. Coach Patnott’s final solo recruiting class looks to be a great one, though, highlighted by a trio of transfers. Daniel Keith (21.30/45.36/1:37.87/4:43.50, 50.6/1:50.85 BA, 50.27 FL, 1:51.75/4:02.7 IM) joins the Flying Dutchmen from Air Force and may be the biggest threat to Ben Holstege for Most Valuable Swimmer honors, while diver Grant Williams comes to Hope from DII Lindenwood. The former 2x Michigan HS champion broke the 500-mark multiple times at Lindenwood and will challenge Albion’s Jake Burris for Most Valuable Diver accolades. Will Benner (4:49.81/16:43, 2:12.7 BR, 2:01.87/4:17 IM) competed for Gettysburg in 2015-16; while he hasn’t competed in two years, he will be a big asset if he can return to form.
  4. Kalamazoo – While K’Zoo didn’t officially score points to count in the team standings last year, scoring the meet out saw the Hornets a mere three points behind Hope for third place. And while the Hornets didn’t lose nearly as much as the Flying Dutchmen, they also didn’t bring in nearly as much projected scoring. Mile champ Matt Howrey returns after a standout freshman season, as does junior Grant Anger. Standout and HM All-American diver Colin Grogan is the team’s biggest loss. Nick Nerhood (22.57/49.23/1:47.56/4:56.61/18:03, 54.88/1:58.98 BA, 54.87 FL, 2:02.5/4:22 IM) is the top recruit, while Luke Durden (22.17/49.01/1:46.77, 56.8 FL) should also be strong contributors.
  5. Olivet – Three underclassmen swimmers didn’t return for the Comets this season, composing 14 individual points and, more importantly, 10 relay slots. However, the team’s top two scorers – Eric Wood (31 pts, 4 relays) and Zach Meharg (22 pts, 2 relays) – are back for their junior seasons, as is diver Dalton Miner (13 pts.). Three freshmen replace the three departed swimmers, and they should more than make up for their loss – look for Cade Erickson (1:48.95/4:51.7/17:06, 1:04.5/2:20.5 BR) and Zachary Knott (1:01.78/2:14.2 BR) to make immediate impacts.
  6. Alma – Alma lost just one relay slot and no individual points from last year’s MIAA Championships. Eric Ferrara (29 pts., 4 relays) returns for his senior season to lead the way for the Scots after reaching a pair of A-finals last season, and Max Carey (13 pts, 4 relays) will look to take the next step in his sophomore campaign. Out of the team’s six newcomers, Will Brown (59.94 BR, 2:03.02 IM) and Leevi Olson (21.94/48.55 FR, 56.69 BA, 1:01.39 BR) should make the biggest impacts.

Projected Award Winners:

  • Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Meg Peel, Hope
  • Women’s Diver of the Year: Nicki Bailey, Kalamazoo
  • Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Allison Eppinga, Hope
  • Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Ben Holstege, Calvin
  • Men’s Diver of the Year: Jake Burris, Albion/Grant Williams, Hope
  • Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Daniel Keith, Air Force

PREVIEW: College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin

The CCIW saw a major shakeup at the top in the 2017-18 season. For the first time in 41 years, Jon Lederhouse was not at the helm of the Wheaton program, and for the first time in 20 years, the Wheaton women failed to win the league title as Carthage snapped the Thunder’s two-decade streak to sweep the conference meet alongside their men. Will Carthage carry that success into 2018-19 or will Wheaton be able to fight their way back to the top? And behind them, how will the various pieces of the puzzle shake out? All three of the league’s individual All-Americans return

Here are our projected standings with previews:

CCIW WOMEN:

  1. Carthage – While we don’t think Carthage will match their nearly 300-point victory over Wheaton, the Lady Reds are still the clear favorite heading into 2018-19. Yes, they lost two of their top three scorers in Hannah Miles and Kate Hugo (combined for 110 ind. pts., 5/3 relays). Senior Hannah Pearson leads the returners after winning titles in the 500 and 1650, and sprinter Becca Rutkowski is back, too. The Lady Reds’ recruiting class, while it doesn’t have the most top-end talent, is certainly the deepest in the league with 15 newcomers. Mackinzee Macho (2:10.65/4:52.67 IM, 1:07.7/2:29.6 BR, 5:27 500) perhaps has the most immediate scoring potential, and Elise Merucci (2:13.55/4:52.89 IM, 1:00.18/2:13.45 BA), Maddie Orgill (5:23.77/18:38.67 FR, 1:10.88/2:32 BR, 4:45 4IM), Grace Sakry (5:30 500, 2:12.85/4:45 IM, 1:00/2:16 BA, and diver Julia Cozzi should also be big contributors.
  2. Wheaton – The Thunder should close the gap on Carthage in 2019 – they didn’t lose as much as the Lady Reds and their recruiting class, while not nearly as deep as that of Carthage, has as much top-end talent. In addition, the effects of adjusting to a new HC aren’t something to be undersold, so we thing that Meghan Ayres will have the Thunder in a better place in her second year at the helm. Without a doubt, leading the way for Wheaton is 2018 CCIW Swimmer of the Year Brooke Barnes, who swept the sprint free titles at the 2018 CCIW Championships to be invited to NCAAs in all three events. Juniors Michaela Sandeno and Ashley Bowen both will look to improve from their 40-point seasons last year. Meredith Clarkson (46 pts, 2/2 relays), last year’s 400 IM champ, is the lone departure among the team’s top 10 scorers, but newcomer Priscilla Min – who would have been selected to NCAAs last year in the 200 Breast – could immediately fill that void (2:09/4:34 IM, 1:06.69/2:21.35 BR, 59.87/2:10.8 FL, 1:57.79/5:17.36 FR) and contend for league titles in multiple events. Alexandria McKeaney (24.42/53.93/2:00.6/5:22.6) should be a factor in the sprints and improve the Thunder relays, while Abigail Rutledge (57.90/2:09.35 FL, 4:45 4IM, 54.75/1:58.25/5:15/17:56 FR) and Hannah Stevens (24.86/54.06/1:59.6) both will make an impact. Northern State transfer Gentry Musgrove (4:52 4IM, 1:00.5/2:18 FL) adds even more depth.
  3. Illinois Wesleyan – Much like Wheaton, IWU didn’t lose much – Tori Tiberi (48 pts., 1 B-relay) is the lone loss from among their top 11 scorers – but their recruiting class isn’t quite as deep, which should keep them in the three-slot once again. Kelly Byrne, Alivia Hay, and seniors Lisa Cheng – an HM All-American in the 50 Free – and Claire Michael all return and scored 45 points or more at last year’s championships and combined for 14 of the Titans’ 20 A-relay slots. Ellen Gilbert is one of the top and most versatile freshmen in the conference and enters the year as the league favorite in the butterfly events (56.66/2:04.98 FL, 2:11.1/4:58.5 IM, 1:10/2:33 BR, 24.86/52.67/1:55.75/5:14.77/17:56.06) – she would have been selected to NCAAs in the 200 Fly in 2018 – while Megan Wong (24.92/53.4/1:56.8 FR, 59.06 FL, 2:12.74 IM, 1:09.7/2:32.8 BR) and Amanda Smith (2:00.5/5:25/19:08 FR, 1:01.98/2:10 BA, 5:09 IM) both should contribute.
  4. Carroll – While Carroll returns its top six swimmers, including Kaitlin Squier (49 pts., 4 A-relays) and CCIW Diver of the Meet Ally Osell (champ on both boards), the team did lose 14 total athletes from graduation or other reasons. All seven newcomers, including divers Brightyn Zuelke and Jenny Zieger, should make an impact – Madeline Nelson (2:02.5/5:21.8 FR, 2:17.5 BA, 1:10.7/2:32.9 BR, 1:00.4/2:12.9 FL, 2:15.3/4:48.5 IM) and Emily Wong (54.67/1:59.34 FR, 58.28/2:15 FL, 2:13/5:04 IM) are tops among the freshmen swimmers.
  5. Augustana – Mia Polinski and Gabrielle Ainsworth are the only two swimmers on the roster who scored more than 12 individual points at the 2018 CCIW Championships, but look for Augustana to close the gap with Carroll in 2018-19, powered by what could be the recruiting class in the CCIW. Madelynn Marunde (55.19/1:57.18/5:07/17:43, 1:08/2:26 BR, 2:13/4:39 IM), Lauren Raike (2:08/4:33 IM, 1:07.6/2:23.4 BR, 55.61/2:00/5:07 FR), and Aviana Zahara (24.3/53.1/1:57.1 FR, 56.5/2:07.1 BA) all could challenge for one or more league titles, and  sprinter Isabelle Seten (24.19/53.21) and Alicia Garcia (54.89/1:57.4/5:14 FR, 1:02.9 FL) should both impact multiple relays along with their individual events. The Vikings also add a pair of divers in Emma Gannaway and Olivia Lutz.
  6. North Central – The Cardinals graduated only a single individual point and two B-relays from the 2018 CCIW Championships, but we’re unsure of what exactly they have returning, as they still don’t have a roster online (we have some findings from their season preview and first meet results). We do know the most important thing: Katherine Canfield is back. One of just two 60-point scorers at the league meet last year alongside Wheaton’s Barnes, Canfield will look to make her last year at NCC a fast one after narrowly missing out on a trip to NCAAs last year. Marissa Hoppe and Beth Ryan, both A-finalists last year, also return, but Danai Stylianou and Amy Feltz didn’t appear in their results from the first meet. Four newcomers join the team, but none of special note.
  7. Millikin – Caroline Lodovisi was listed as a junior on last year’s roster but she doesn’t appear on the team’s 2018-19 roster on their website. That loss, combined with the graduation of Felicity Speirs and the departure of two other underclassmen, means that Millikin loses two of its top individual scorers and nine A-relay slots. The Lodovisi departure is even more unfortunate because the Big Blue brought in a solid recruiting class, highlighted by Olivia Marquardt (59.48 1FL, 1:01.84 1BA), Kathryn Cully (56.1 100FR, 1:01.8/2:12.9 BA, 1:02.8 FL), and Brigid Duesterhaus (24.97 50, 1:02.56 1BA, 1:00.4 1FL).

CCIW MEN:

  1. Wheaton – We went back and forth several times in deciding of the order of our top two on the men’s side before landing here. Wheaton faces the task of replacing significant points, as graduates Jack O’Connor (50 pts, 4 A-Relays), 2017 CCIW Swimmer of the Year Chris Dingfield (46, 2/2 Relays), Addison Coen (34, 1B), and the early departure of diver Tyler Yates (31 pts) leave the Thunder 161 individual points down from last year’s league meet. However, this is still FAR less than what Carthage lost (see below), and Wheaton’s recruiting class may be a touch better from top to bottom. Back are 2018 NCAA HM All-Americans Will Rinne (2IM) – the 2018 CCIW Swimmer of the Year – and Chris Szymczak (2BA), as well as Christian Cameron, who joined Rinne, Szymczak and O’Connor to earn HM All-America honors in three relays. Incoming diver Christopher Haase should be able to replace the points lost by Yates, and while the six incoming swimmers might not be Dingfield or O’Connor just yet, they should help to fill the voids. Ethan Kile (1:53.8/4:09 IM, 57.92/2:11.89 BR, 55.89 BA, 1:47.6 200) may be the best of the lot, and Benjamin Griffith (21.96/47.65/4:52.53 FR, 52.15/1:55 FL, 1:55.6/4:09 IM, 58.4/2:14 BR), Jonathan Schofield (22.0/48.66/1:47.8, 51.44/1:54 BA, 56.51 FL), and Gavin Patton (1:50.8/4:53/17:02, 57.9/2:02.9 BA, 56.6/2:01 FL, 4:21 4IM) are all just behind him. Ultimately, this could come down to relays – both in who wins and who successfully finishes all 10 without a DQ.
  2. Carthage – Carthage loses the most in the conference by a large margin – between the graduation of Chris Russo, Paul Devereux, Nathan Morris, Nate Rodriguez, Pat Sobkowski, and Malcolm Andrew, and the early departures of Mitch Scarski, Nicholas Wolff, and Matt Dynneson, the Red Men lost a total of 354.5 individual points and 16 relay slots (9A/7B). Several top scorers in senior Jack Wallar (54 pts.), Cooper Hawkins (54), Mitchell Mages (49), Nicholas Nevins (45.5) and Nick Seroni (41) do return, and a pair of transfers, two swimmers returning to the team, and five newcomers will help to overcome those losses. David Vowels (20.98/46.75/1:44.46, 52.5 1FL, 1:01.38 1BR) should make the biggest impact after transferring from NCAA DII Northern Michigan, while Lake Forest transfer Ethan Hare (21.95/47.69/1:44.01, 57.6/2:09.96 BR, 52.59 FL, 1:58 IM, 54.2 BA) and freshman Ben Ellstrom (51.76/1:54.2 BA, 1:55.77 IM, 1:49.46 200FR, 55.42 FL) also should reach multiple A-Finals. Ryan Morales  (53.36/1:56.75 FL, 4:53.89 500) and Charles Julius (1:01.3/2:17 BR) return after a year away from the team.
  3. Augustana – Augustana finished third behind Wheaton last year by more than 350 points and that gap could be even larger this year. The Vikings return their top three scorers in Jared Ekberg (46 pts., 4 A-Relays), Bryan Haage (41 pts., 4 A-Relays), and Brett Keefe (33 pts., 2/2 relays), but the loss of Souhail Rhafiri (31 pts., 4 B-Relays) and eight other swimmers amounts to 68 individual points and 11 relays (3A, 8B). Diver Tom Pham returns to the team after competing in 2017, but Aidan McConkey (1:50.6 200, 54.72/2:00.57 BA) is the team’s lone freshman.
  4. Illinois Wesleyan –  The Titans appear poised to finish just where they did in 2018 – squarely in the middle of the CCIW with a pretty significant distance both in front of and behind them. Distance standout Will Garcia (57 pts., 4 A-Relays) is back after winning the 500 and 1650 a year ago, as are Nick Partipilo and Luke Witteveen, both of whom reached an A-Final. Departed graduates Rob Houle, Morgan Bishop, and Jordan Miller leave a big void, as they combined for 66.5 individual points and half of IWU’s A-Relay slots. Mason McCauley appears to be the team’s top newcomer (1:45/4:47/17:32 FR, 1:02/2:17 2BR, 53.8/2:12.2 FL, 2:03/4:36 IM), and Kyle Fox (47.71/1:46.89 FR) divers Alec Marquardt and Ahmad Albzour all will help immediately.
  5. Millikin – All four of the swimmer’s on Millikin’s 2017-18 CCIW Championships roster are back, as are one other returner and five newcomers. What does that mean? Most importantly, RELAYS! At the ’18 CCIWs, the Big Blue were only able to field four A-relays and DQd one of them; if they had scored 10 relays last year, they would have finished ahead of NCC. Senior Cameron Lee, the lone Millikin swimmer to reach an A-final, is back, as are Nicholas Hoerr and Cole Jones. Jacob Williams remains on the roster – he competed early last season but didn’t compete at CCIWs – and would make an impact if he’s back and healthy. Felix Archer (22.03 50, 53.24/2:01.2 BA) should make an impact in his events while Nicholas Nemeth (1:03.3/2:23.7) should be able to score in the breaststroke events.
  6. North Central – Again, North Central’s roster isn’t online, but we do know that Nick Mielke and Ryan Lewellyan, two of the team’s top three scorers from the 2018 CCIW Championships, are back. There is some doubt about a few others, including Cameron Teel and Nicholas Slinkman, but we won’t know for sure until that roster is up. Newcomer Ferdinand Hoerstl is an international student from Germany who should be able to score at the league meet in the breaststroke events.
  7. Carroll –  Seniors Shane Murphy-Pociask and Aaron Talabac will lead the way for the Pioneers after combining to score 34 points at CCIWs last year, but there’s not much beyond that. Gone is James Kelly, who reached three A-finals and earned 35 of Carroll’s 81 individual points scored at the 2018 CCIW Championships. Along with him and fellow graduate Tristan Petrauskas, five other swimmers from 17-18 do not appear on the Pioneers’ 18-19 roster. With only two newcomers, that leaves Carroll with just seven swimmers, meaning they will be unable to field any B relays, and the team chose not to field any 800 Free Relays last year when they had enough swimmers to do so. They’ll need that 800 Free Relay this year to have hope of finishing out of the basement.

Projected Award Winners:

  • Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Brooke Barnes, Wheaton
  • Women’s Diver of the Year: Ally Osell, Carroll
  • Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Ellen Gilbert, Illinois Wesleyan
  • Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Will Rinne, Wheaton
  • Men’s Diver of the Year: Aaron San Juan, Carthage
  • Men’s Newcomer of the Year: David Vowels, Carthage

PREVIEW: Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference

For our next conference preview, we head westward in Pennsylvania and its bordering states for the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. The AMCC continues to change in its third year holding its own league championships apart from the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, adding SUNY-Delhi and seeing the departure of Cabrini to the newly formed Atlantic East while Alfred State continues into its second year.

In 2018, Penn State Behrend ran away with the men’s title ahead of a tight battle for second between Pitt-Bradford, Cabrini and Alfred State. In the women’s meet, Cabrini held off Behrend and Alfred St. in a close three-way race.

Here are our projected standings with previews:

AMCC WOMEN

  1. Alfred State – The Pioneers lost the least among the three teams who competed for the AMCC crown last year, as graduate Josey Brewer (17 ind. points, 0 relays) and all-conference breaststroker Kaileigh Lehman (29 pts, 4 relays) were the lone losses. Leading the way among returners are junior Sarah Stevens, who swept the diving events to earn AMCC Diver of the Year honors and also impressively took third in the 400 IM (44 points, 4 relays), and another all-conference performer in sophomore distance freestyler Kathryn Lewis (37 points, four relays). Sarah Stevens’ younger sister Rebecca, who split titles with her sister at the 2017 AMCC Championships in a pair of 1-2 finishes for the siblings, returns, and three of the Pioneers’ three other newcomers should make major impacts. Jessie LaRue (55.29/2:02.5 FR, 1:01.80 1BA, 2:24 2IM) leads the trio while Grae Feely (1:16.5 1BR) and Leaha Langerman (Diver/1:09.76 1BA) should both contribute.
  2. Penn State Behrend – The Lions lost two of their top three scorers and a pair of program greats in two-time conference MVP Gwen Lowery (45 points, 4 champ relays) and 2017 AMCC MVP Maryn Horn (45 points, 4 champ relays), but they do have the top two returning scorers from the 2018 AMCC Championships in junior Abigail Witmer (45 pts, 100 Fly/100Back Champ, 1 champ relay) and senior Jessica Wyckoff (45 pts, 100/200 Free Champ, 4 champ relays), individual all-conference sprinter Paola Maldonado (33.5 pts, two champ relays), and league champ relay members Lacey Grinnen and Devon van Rensburg. PSB brought in eight true newcomers to go with one returner and two water polo players joining the squad. Barbie Cessar (1:11.36 1BR, 2:18.69 2IM) should score major points in the breast and IM events and Marcella Puglia (25.77/55.25/1:58.30/5:19/18:12) could contend for league titles in any of the freestyle events while also filling a major relay void, but, based on what we could find on them, don’t expect too much from the rest of the class.
  3. Franciscan – There’s a major dropoff from the top three teams in the AMCC to Francsican in the four-slot, but 10 newcomers give the Lady Barons the advantage over the teams below them. Franciscan loses 63 of the 79 individual points they scored at the 2018 AMCC Championships to graduation, led by one of the program’s all-time greats and 4x AMCC individual champion Elizabeth McNulty (44 pts, 200BR/200FL Champ, 3 relays). Senior Sarah Tohill returns as the conference runner-up in 1-Meter Diving, and incoming freshmen Colleen Farabaugh and Emily Reuwer should make huge impacts immediately. Farabaugh (25.69/55.89/2:00.54 50-200 Free, 1:10.34 1BR, 2:36.9 2BR, 2:18 2IM) could contend for conference titles in a number of events while Emily Reuwer is the league’s only swimmer with a sub-1:00 100 Fly during her life (58.83) and is also strong in the 100 Free (56.14) and Fly (1:01.18).
  4. Penn State Altoona – New HC Bradley Brooks has a lot of work ahead of him, as six of last year’s 10 swimmers left the team in addition to graduate Alexis Franks. Add in just one recruit in Kaitlin Heil, and the Lions have just four swimmers on their roster at the start of the 18-19 campaign. Conference 200 Back champion Emily Booz is the biggest of the losses (39 pts, 4 relays), but Altoona does return 2018 AMCC Newcomer of the Year in Danielle Bye (37.5 pts, 4 relays), who was the league runner-up in both the 100 Fly and 200 IM last year.
  5. Pitt-Bradford – The Panthers have just two swimmers on their roster as of release of this preview, as three non-seniors did not return to the team. Jillian Wright is the biggest of those losses, as she scored 23 points in the breaststroke events, but the bigger factor is that the loss of those three will prohibit the Panthers from composing relays. Junior sprinter Kayla Broad (16 points, 4 relays) returns, and newcomer Alexia Garcia (1:13.94 1BR, 1:04.13 100 Free) should score, but not enough for Bradford to beat anyone but…
  6. SUNY-Delhi – First-year AMCC program SUNY-Dehli has just one female swimmer on its roster at the start of this year in sophomore Julia Witt. Witt could contend for some B-finals in the sprint freestyle events.

AMCC MEN

  1. Penn State Behrend – Behrend’s streak of AMCC titles grew to 12 by a large margin in 2018 and nothing should keep the Lions from stretching the streak to 13 this year, as they return their top seven scorers and 15 of 18 from last year’s title team. Senior conference MVP Mark Patterson (48 pts., 200/500 Free, 200 Back Champ, 4 relays (2 champ)) – the only swimmer in the league to record an NCAA B-Cut time – leads the way for PSB, who also returns three other individual conference champions in Steven Owens (100/200 Fly), Noah Babik (100/200 Breast) and Brady Mattson (1650 Free). Chase Bietz leads a 10-man recruiting class and is the early favorite to win conference titles in the 100 Breast (56.68) and 200 IM (1:52.85) while James Connolly (1:46.5 200 Free, 16:34 1650, 59.88/2:14.3 BR, 2:03 2IM) and Matt Karebauer (52.38/1:59 Fly, 55.68 1BA, 2:00.92 2IM) should compete for titles in multiple events. Breaststroke/IMer Charlie Nesbit (58.81/2:22.7 BR, 2:05 2IM) should be a factor in his events.
  2. Alfred State – With only Bryce Cutler (29 pts, 2 relays) graduating from last year’s squad, the Pioneers seemed poised to leap into the second spot in the AMCC this year, but five underclassmen did not return to the team this year, perhaps none more important than 2018 AMCC Diver of the Year Nick Beach (champ on both boards). Those departures combined for 99 individual points and 11 relay slots. Last years’ 400 IM Champ Nick Beach (38 pts, 3 relays) leads the way among returners while Austin Miller and Jackson Teboe will be counted on, as well. Ryan McDowell, who took 8th in the league in the 100 Fly in 2017, returns after a season away, and he should also contribute in the 2Fly and 2IM. Distance swimmer Austin Eckrich (1:58/5:16/18:27) leads the team’s newcomers, while Alex Gargano can contribute in the breaststroke (1:11).
  3. Pitt-Bradford – After claiming the league’s runner-up spot last year, the Panthers likely will take a major step back in 2018-19. While Bradford graduated just one senior in all-conference backstroker Corey Koss (25 pts, 4 relays (3 champ relays)), six additional swimmers comprising 148 individual points and 13 relays slots did not return, none more important than 2018 AMCC Newcomer of the Year Jared Schwab (50 Free/100 Back Champ) and sprinter Ben Koss (100 Free Champ). Freshman Nathan Kim (1:51.1 200 Free, 55.09 1BA, 1:58.96 2BA, 53.66 1FL, 1:56.87 2FL, 2:02.39 2IM) could contend for titles in multiple events, while Caleb Hansen (22.17/48.39/1:52.08 Free, 55.15 1BA, 2:03.9 2BA, 55.22 1FL, 4:33 4IM) should score well in whichever events he chooses.
  4. Penn State Altoona – Much like their female counterparts, the Lion men have a long hill to climb after nine non-graduates didn’t return from last year’s roster. New HC Bradley Brooks does get back junior flyer Tanner Yaw (21 pts, 4 relays), the team’s top scorer at the 2018 AMCC Championships, and junior Greg Landis and sophomore Andrew Lesnett also return after scoring eight points each. Among the team’s five newcomers, Matt Beam, Michael Begany, and Cooper Gilkey could each score points in some of the league’s weaker events.
  5. SUNY-Delhi – The Broncos have seven swimmers who will compete in their first year in the AMCC, but, without some significant improvements, none will score beyond events that aren’t full.

Projected Award Winners:

  • Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Jessica Wyckoff, Penn State Behrend
  • Women’s Diver of the Year: Sarah Stevens, Alfred State
  • Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Marcella Puglia, Penn State Behrend
  • Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Mark Patterson, Penn State Behrend
  • Men’s Diver of the Year: Matthew Kuchcinski, Penn State Behrend
  • Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Chase Bietz, Penn State Behrend

*Note: Our preview originally included Cabrini, whom we (foolishly) forgot departed for the newly formed Atlantic East Conference following the 2017-18 academic year.