NCAA Division II Preview: St. Cloud State, Grand Valley State Debut Saturday

PHOENIX, Arizona, October 10. AFTER a light weekend of competition last weekend, many more Division II schools will be in action this weekend, including several top-20 teams from last year’s NCAA Division II Championships.

Grand Valley State, which finished 14th in the women’s team standings at last March’s NCAA Division II Championships, will take on Northern Michigan on Saturday in their first competition of the season. The Lakers boast six returning All-Americans on the women’s side in Caitlyn Madsen, Sarah Roeser, Olivia Schultz, Danielle Vallier, Katie Vulpetti and Taylor Wiercinski and will be looking to build momentum early on in what promises to be another outstanding season.

St. Cloud State will also get their season underway this weekend, as the men travel to Grand Forks, N.D. to challenge the University of North Dakota on Saturday. The St. Cloud State men finished 12th at last year’s NCAAs and will bring a strong team to Grand Forks that includes distance ace Alex Bryson, a returning NCAA All-American and school record-holder in the 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle.

LIU Post, last year’s eighth-place finisher at women’s Division II NCAAs, will head to New Britain, Conn. on Saturday for an afternoon meet against Central Connecticut State University. The Pioneers are coming off a loss to Wagner last weekend and will look to rebound. Sophomore Joyce Kwok recorded NCAA B cuts in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly last weekend and could be in the hunt to upgrade those to A standards.

Delta State will host Division I Western Kentucky on Saturday in the team’s first meet since falling to the University of Alabama on Sept. 20th. Vlad Zinca posted the Statesmen’s only win of that meet in the 200-yard fly. His 1:52.23 is ranked second overall in Division II this season. On the women’s side, backstroker Kierstin Page owns top-six times nationally in the 100 (59.56) and 200 back (2:09.67).

A couple of invitationals are also on the slate for this weekend. Colorado Mesa University will host the Intermountain Shootout in Grand Junction on Friday and Saturday, while Converse College will host the All-Women’s Invite in Spartanburg, S.C. on Friday and Saturday.

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