CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, February 21. FOR years the Wagner Seahawks have been chasing down the leader at the end of day three, but the Seahawks are in the drivers seat of the 2014 Northeast Conference Swimming and Diving Championships.
At the end of the third day of competition, Wagner leads the seven-team field with 562 points. Bryant University jumped into second place, scoring 217.5 points on Friday, bringing the Bulldog total to 431.5. Three points seperate third and fourth place. Moving into third is four-time defending champion Saint Francis U tallying 371 points followed by Central Central Connecticut with 368.
The atmosphere in the Zesiger Aquatic Center was loud and proud. Fans from across the NEC footprint packed the stands. The steaks were high, but Wagner calmed the waters taking first and third in the 400-yard Indiviudal Medley. Amanda Lucia (Easthampton, MA/Easthampton) touched the wall first in 4:22.20, followed by Bryant’s Lauren Doerrman (Oley, PA/Oley Valley) in 4:27.24 and Wagner’s Kara Lacoste (Chicopee,MA/Chicopee Comprehensive) in 4:28.77.
Erin Regan (Ft. Washington, PA/Upper Dublin) made the Mount’s medal debut, taking the gold in the 100-yard Butterfly. Regan led the pack with a time of :55.73. In a blink of an eye, Central Connecticut’s Kellen Power (San Jose, CA/Valley Christian) touched at :55.77 to edge out Saint Francis U’s Libby Francis (Dundee, Scotland/Grove Academy) who came in at :55.78.
The 200 Freestyle thrilled the crowd as Taylor DeBever (Denver, CO/Regis Jesuit) overtook Wagner’s Meredith Ketchmark (Plainsboro, NJ/West Windsor-Plainsboro) to take gold. DeBever finished the eight lengths in 1:50.25, Ketchmark 1:50.42. Sarah Menendez (Land O’Lakes, FL/Wharton) picked up another Seahawk medal, taking bronze at 1:51.21.
Elise Lofgren (Molnlycke, Sweden/Hulebacks) defended her 100 Breaststroke title, clinching the gold medal in 1:02.69. Kristina Gulia (Orange, CT/Amity) stretched for silver to come in ahead of Catherine Rogers (Nokesville, VA/Seton School). The pair finished in 1:04.36 and 1:04.46 respectively.
Freshman standout Anu Nihipali (Honolulu, HI/Hawaii Preparatory Academy) returned to the podium for the second gold of her young career.Nihipali set a NEC record of :53.42 in the 100 Backstroke. Red Flash sophomore Sara Dieterich (Ronkonkoma, NY/Connetquot) followed at :56.58 while Elisabeth Schauer (Pelham, NY/Pelham Memorial) came in at :57.06 for Bronze.
The Seahawks set another pool record in the 400 Medley Relay. The team of Nihipali, Kelsey Thomas (Hammonton, NJ/Holy Spirit), Lucia and S. Menendez crushed the one-year old record with a time of 3:44.69. Saint Francis U took silver, collecting key points to keep the Red Flash in the medal hunt. Dieterich, Lofgren, Francis and Johnson touched at 3:46.84 while the Blue Devil quartet of Stephanie Czulewicz (Norwalk, CT/Norwalk), Gulia, Power and Christine Rasile (Branford, CT/Branford) collected bronze with a time of 3:50.58.
The final day of 2014 NEC Swimming and Diving Championships will begin tomorrow at 11:00 AM.
Team Results After Day Three
1. Wagner College – 562
2. Bryant – 431.5
3. Saint Francis U – 371
4. Central Connecticut – 368
5. Mount St. Mary’s – 221.5
6. Sacred Heart – 137
7. Saint Francis Brooklyn – 123
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