CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, February 20. THE Wagner Seahawks swam to a large lead in Day two of the 2014 Northeast Conference thanks to seven medal performances for a team score of 297, 83 points ahead of the next team.
Central Connecticut jumped three spots after the diving competition with a score of 214. Right on its heels is Bryant at 207 points. Saint Francis U falls in fourth with 205 points and Mount St. Mary’s follows scoring 131. St. Francis College (86) and Sacred Heart (85) close out the field.
In the night’s first final, Wagner freshman Grace Baird (Lexington, NC/West Davidson) took home the first gold medal of her career in the 500 yard freestyle. Baird broke her own program record with a time of 4:55.34, leading the entire race. Teammate Amanda Lucia (Easthampton, MA/Easthampton) got the silver in 4:57.41. Bryant’s Taylor DeBever (Denver, CO/Regis Jesuit) made the podium with a 4:58.54 performance.
The deck felt a momentum shift when freshman Anu Nihipali (Honolulu, HI/Hawaii Preparatory Academy) left her mark in the 200 Individual medley. Nihipali dethroned two-time champion Elise Lofgren (Molnlycke, Sweden/Hulebacks) with a time of 2:02.78, just four one-hundredths of a second off the NEC Record. Saint Francis U’s Lofgren came in at 2:03.10 and Wagner’s Kara Lacoste (Chicopee, MA/Chicopee Comprehensive) earned bronze with a time of 2:04.93.
In the 50 freestyle Redflash sophomore Danyel Johnson (Dansville, NY/Dansville) earned gold with a time of 23.46. Christine Rasile (Branford, CT/Branford) earned Central Connecticut’s first medal of the night, taking silver with a time of 23.74. Wagner’s Sarah Menendez (Land O’Lakes, FL/Wharton) came in at 23.83 for bronze.
Eleven divers competed in the One Meter Dive preliminaries, the largest field to date. Eight finalists shined in the spotlight Thursday night. Central Connecticut sophomore Jessica Goldman (Newington, CT/Newington/Trinity College) defended her one meter tile scoring 211.55. Goldman edged out teammate Kaitlyn Beaver (Hamden, CT/Sacred Heart Academy) who scored 208.00 for silver. Wagner’s Erica Curry (Fountain Valley, CA/Fountain Valley) scored 203.95 for the bronze.
The Red Flash quartet of Catherine Rogers (Nokesville, VA/Seton School), Jessica Reilly (Pittsburgh, PA/Upper St. Clair), Libby Francis (Dundee, Scotland/Grove Academy), and Johnson defended Saint Francis U’s 200 Freestyle Relay title. The Red Flash came in at 1:34.35, touching the wall hundreths of a second before Wagner. The Seahawks took the silver in 1:34.88 behind the effort of Menendez, Corinne Rondina (Staten Island, NY/Notre Dame Academy), Sam Sides (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) and Meredith Ketchmark (Plainsboro, NJ/West Windsor-Plainsboro). The Bronze went to Taylor Poliseno (Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch), Dana Yu (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan), Kaitlin Buckley (Duxbury, MA/Duxbury), and DeBever of Bryant with a time of 1:35.52.
The 2014 NEC Swimming and Diving Championships will resume tomorrow at 11:00 AM.
Team Results After Day One
1. Wagner College – 297
2. Central Connecticut – 214
3. Bryant – 207
4. Saint Francis U – 205
5. Mount St. Mary’s – 131
6. St. Francis Brooklyn – 86
7. Sacred Heart – 85
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