COLLEGE PARK, Maryland, March 2. THE Colonial Athletic Association Conference Championships took place this weekend on the campus of the University of Maryland with the Towson women and the UNC-Wilmington men taking home the team titles.
UNCW’s win is particularly impressive considering the team is coming back from recently nearly being cut by its athletics department.
UNCW won the 2014 CAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship after garnering 729.50 points, narrowly edging the Tribe of William & Mary men, who totaled 721.50 points. The Seahawks impressively won their 13th straight league title and needed to a victory in the final event of the four-day championships, the 400-yard freestyle, to remain atop the podium for another year.
William & Mary earned runner-up honors, while Towson finished third with 551.50 points. Taking home fourth was Delaware with 440 points. Drexel earned fifth place with 422 points and College of Charleston finished sixth with 335.50 points in the school’s first ever swimming and diving league championships.
Several individual honors were given out at a ceremony following the conclusion of the championships tonight. Earning Diving Coach of the Year was Towson’s Maureen Mead. Winning Swimming Coach of the Year was the Tribe’s Matt Crispino. Towson senior Alex Choen, who won the one and three-meter dive events at the championships, earned Men’s Most Outstanding Diver of the Meet. Tribe senior Andrew Strait ended his college career by winning Most Outstanding Men’s Swimmer of the Meet.
UNCW actually did not win any individual events on the final day of competition at the championships, but, as always, the men’s squad was well represented with depth over many events. When it counted most, though, the Seahawks were ready in the 400 free relay. The team of Gabe Thran, Adam Salzman, Alex Labonge and Joe Gallene not only delivered with the meet-clinching win, but it set a new CAA Championship and top performance record (2:56.69). The Tribe’s valiant effort came up just short, but the performances of its 400-free team of Taegan Clarke, Will Manion, Risten Clarke and Billy Russell didn’t go unnoticed, touching the wall in 2:58.52.
Earlier on Day 4 in the 200-yard back, UNCW’s Eric Conrad and Valtteri Halonen finished second and third, respectively, behind the Tribe’s Manion (1:44.68).
In the 100-yard freestyle, William & Mary’s Russell paced the pack with a first-place, 44.16 showing. However, UNCW accounted for five of the next six spots – including Thran’s second-place finish and Salzman’s fourth-place effort — to collect some important points.
Strait cruised to victory in the 200-yard breast (1:58.46), while UNCW senior Michael Baric and fellow William & Mary athlete Jeremiah O’Donnell trialed behind.
The records fell in the 200 fly thanks to a career performance from Towson’s Matt McKenney, who set a new CAA Championship meet and top performance mark with a time of 1:46.14. Drexel’s Kyle Lukens and CofC’s Pablo Ortiz finished in second and third, respectively.
In the final diving event of the championship, Cohen clinched gold on the three-meter board after collecting 377.45 points. The senior also won the title in the one-meter dive on Thursday. Drexel’s David Sanchez scored 361.30 for second and UNCW freshman Allen Crosby scored 353.15 for third in his first league championship meet.
2014 Championship Meet Award Winners
Men’s Diving Coach of the Year: Maureen Mead, Towson
Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year: Matt Crispino, William & Mary
Men’s Most Outstanding Diver of the Meet: Alex Cohen, Towson
Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet: Andrew Strait, William & Mary
Final Men’s CAA Championship Standings
1. UNCW (729.50)
2. William & Mary (721.50)
3. Towson (551.50)
4. Delaware (440)
5. Drexel (422)
6. College of Charleston (335.50)
Women’s Press Release
Towson University captured its second straight CAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship after totaling 858 points over the course of the four-day event at the Eppley Recreation Center in College Park, Md. The Tigers were led by senior Kaitlin Burke, who was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Women Swimmer and her first-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle on Saturday evening. It’s the Tigers’ sixth title in the last seven years.
James Madison earned runner-up honors for the second straight year, totaling points 653 points, while William & Mary finished third with 462 points. UNCW took home fourth with 408.50 points, Delaware earned fifth place with 329 points. Northeastern, College of Charleston, and Drexel rounded out the remaining three spots.
Following the exciting conclusion of the 2014 championships, a handful of individual honors were awarded via a poolside ceremony. Earning Diving Coach of the Year for the second straight season was Becky Benson of James Madison. Winning Swimming Coach of the Year, again, consecutively, was Pat Mead of Towson. James Madison redshirt freshman Taryn McLaughlin earned Women’s Most Outstanding Diver of the Meet.
Burke kicked off Day 4 of the championships by impressively winning her third career league 1650-yard free title. She posted a time of 16:11.55 to win top honors and was fittingly followed by five Tiger teammates — Cassie Sorna, Liz Saint, Shelby Witham, Macey Arnold and Caroline Hodgins — in order.
In the 200-yard backstroke, College of Charleston senior Sarah Boyle again etched her name in the Cougars’ and league record books by winning the event in a new championships and top performance record time of 1:56.38. William & Mary’s Liz Glenn and Northeastern’s Anna Schegoleva finished in second and third.
In freestyle action, William & Mary freshman Jaimie Miller had a career final, registering first-place honors with a time of 50.14. Her teammate, Megan Howard, came in second place, while Delaware sophomore Dominic Montoya finished third.
Towson earned even more points in the 200-yard breaststroke, as Jenna Van Camp touched the wall first in 2:11.78 after making a impressive comeback in the last 50 yards. James Madison’s Shannon Dubay earned second place, while UNCW’s Jenson Engen followed in third. Tigers’ sophomores Hannah Snyder and Seana Acker placed in sixth and seventh place, respectively.
In the 200-yard fly, Towson earned the clean sweep, with senior Melanie Rowland leading the way. She set a new CAA Championship meet record (1:56.36) before both of her teammates, Kendall Towe and Victoria Oslund followed in second and third.
In the final event of the women’s championship, the Dukes of JMU came away victorious. The team of Kelsey Holmgaard, Carli Molano, Dubay and Susanne Gingher took home top honors in the 400 freestyle relay. The William & Mary team of Miller, Howard, Georgie Crompton and Sara Schad earned second.
2014 Championship Meet Award Winners
Women’s Diving Coach of the Year: Becky Benson, James Madison
Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year: Pat Mead, Towson
Women’s Most Outstanding Diver of the Meet: Taryn McLaughlin, James Madison
Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet: Kaitlin Burke, Towson
Final Women’s CAA Championship Standings
1. Towson (858)
2. James Madison (653)
3. William & Mary (462)
4. UNCW (408.50)
5. Delaware (329)
6. Northeastern (325.50)
7. College of Charleston (269)
8. Drexel (189)