NCAA Div. I: ASU Men, Arizona Women Win in Cactus State Showdown

TEMPE, Ariz., Feb. 16. IT was a split decision in this year's annual ASU-U of A shootout for Cactus State bragging rights. In a battle on two men's and two women's teams–all ranked in the nation's top ten–ASU took the men's decision 171.5-128.5, while the Lady Wildcats rolled over the Lady Sun Devils 199-101.

Men's Meet
In front of more than 250 fans at Mona Plummer Aquatic
Center, Arizona State's No. 7 men's swimming and diving squad defeated No. 8 Arizona, 171.5-128.5, earning their sixth win over the Wildcats in the last seven years, Saturday. The Sun Devils completed
their dual season with a 6-3 record, while Arizona dropped to 3-5.

While the Wildcats took both diving events, ASU claimed first-place points in nine of 14 swimming events, including both relays. In fact, the Sun Devils got an extra boost in the scoring when Arizona's top two relay squads were disqualified in the opening event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay.

But the spotlight was on the final event of the meet, the 200y freestyle relay, where Arizona came in with the fastest collegiate time in the nation this year, followed by ASU in the No. 2 spot. Arizona's Roland Schoeman took the Wildcats out in 19.78, compared to
Simon MacDonald's opening leg of 20.33 for ASU. But in the second leg, ASU junior Justin Mathias chased down Arizona's Eric LaFleur to give ASU a 39.96 to 40.21 edge at the halfway point. Junior Bobby
Zaabadich and sophomore Nick Brunelli never relinquished ASU's lead, as the Sun Devils touched in 1:19.70, besting Arizona's 1:20.17 by almost half a second.

ASU also demonstrated its depth in the sprints in the 50y free. Schoeman gave UA first-place points in 19.74, but Brunelli (20.12), Zaabadich (20.12) and Mathias (20:43) grabbed the next three spots for the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils had a pair of double-winners Saturday
afternoon. Senior Gavin Meadows, one of five men making their final home appearances, led freshman Derek Miller (9:22.37) to a one-two finish in the 1000y free with a time of 9:21.74 and then claimed the
500y free in 4:30.06. Meanwhile, Ahmed Hussein raced to victories in the 100y (49.38) and 200y backstroke (1:45.97), followed each time by teammate Christian Harcsas (100 back: 49.49, 200 back 1:46.38).

Like Meadows, MacDonald also closed out his Sun Devil dual career with an individual win, touching the wall in the 100y butterfly in 49.12 to edge UA's Jeff Dash at 49.15. Fellow senior Bo West finished runner-up to teammate Anders Lyrbring (1:39.42) in the 200y free with a time of 1:39.96. Mike Dowling placed fourth in the 500y free (4:35.65) and fifth in the 1000y free (9;32.07), and Christian Rasmussen placed sixth in the 200y breaststroke in the final home meets of their ASU careers.

It's now on to the post-season, where the diving will take place at the Pac-10 Championships, February 28 through March 2 from Tucson, Ariz. The men's swimming portion from Long Beach, Calif, is scheduled for March 7-9.

Women's Meet
In the final home meet of the season, Arizona State's
10th-ranked women's swimming and diving team lost to No. 7 Arizona for the eighth time in as many years, 199-101, Saturday afternoon at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. The Sun Devils wrapped their dual season with a 6-4 record, while Arizona moved to 7-2.

Making their last home appearances as Sun Devils, school record holders Sarah Baham and Natalie Burgess were the only ASU athletes to earn first-place points. Baham, who holds the ASU record in both
butterfly events, won the 100-yard fly in 55.70 and finished runner-up in the 200y fly in 2:00.54, which was her fastest effort since the Texas Invitational.

Burgess, a diver out of Phoenix, Ariz., who is ASU's record holder in the 1-meter optionals and the 3-meter six-dive format, placed third in the 3-meter Saturday with a total of 294.45. In the 1-meter optionals, Burgess finished runner-up to Arizona's Claire Febvay
(267.68) at 262.28.

Other seniors turning in top performances included Amanda Stanford in the 1000y freestyle. While UA's Artemis Daphnis placed first in 9:57.83, Stanford and sophomore Brooke Towsend gave ASU a two-three finish with respective times of 10:03.47 and 10:04.93.

Likewise, senior Riley Mants finished runner-up in both breaststroke events. In the 100y breast, Mants' 1:04.54 was well off Jessica Wagner's victorious pace of 1:02.95, but the 200y breast saw Mants touch the
wall just a few tenths shy of a win, 2:16.82 compared to Wagner's 2:16.34.

ASU was swimming without freshman sensation, Agnes Kovacs, the nation's leader in the 200 breaststroke. Kovacs, the 2000 Olympic champion and 2001 world champion, was held back due to a challenge about here eligibility to compete.

It's now on to the post-season, starting with the Pac-10 Championships. The women's swimming portion will run February 28 through March 2, from Long Beach, Calif. The women's diving portion will be contested over the same dates from Tucson, Ariz.

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