SAN ANTONIO, Texas, February 26. THE University of Wyoming men have established a two-point lead in the team standings after day one of the Western Athletic Conference Championships, while the Northern Arizona women take a three-point lead into tomorrow. Wyoming picked up wins in men’s 3-meter diving and the 800 free relay to boost their point total.
UNLV, competing in the WAC for the first time this year after spending last year in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, opened the meet with an NCAA automatic qualifying time in the men’s 200 medley relay. Henrique Machado (21.53), David Szele (23.97), Dillon Virva (20.55) and Gui Passos (19.28) cruised to the win in 1:25.33, well under this year’s NCAA ‘A’ cut of 1:26.08. Grand Canyon, also competing in the WAC for the first time, took second in 1:27.31, followed by North Dakota in third (1:27.46).
The race for the women’s 200 medley relay title came down to the final leg, as Idaho entered the freestyle leg with a three-tenth advantage over Grand Canyon. GCU freshman Jovanna Koens then pulled off a 22.81 anchor leg to give the Antelopes the win, 1:40.44 to 1:40.93. New Mexico State rounded out the top three in 1:41.49.
Wyoming made a statement in men’s 3-meter diving, as senior Derek Campbell and freshman Jake Rehmeier finished first and third with 361.00 and 317.65 points, respectively. North Dakota’s Rick Eberle finished in between the two Cowboys with 327.50 points.
The Cowboys finished the night in exciting fashion, erasing a three-second deficit in the men’s 800 free relay to barely edge UNLV, 6:24.21 to 6:24.40. That time is just .02 shy of the NCAA ‘A’ cut in the event. Wyoming’s fourth swimmer, Ethan Griffel, posted the fastest split of the entire field (1:33.33) to overtake UNLV’s anchor, Giacomo Gremizzi, for the win and the lead in the team race. Cal State Bakersfield took third in the relay in a time of 6:27.76. Through five events, Wyoming leads with 104 points, followed by North Dakota with 102 and Air Force with 100.
Unlike the men’s relay, it was clear from the start which school had the best women’s 800 free relay. Thanks to a leadoff split of 1:47.33 from Michaela Paige, Cal State Bakersfield’s foursome of Paige, Paola Hernandez, Kelsey Lange and Delise Batiza cruised to the win in 7:16.08, leading the race from start to finish and beating second-place Grand Canyon (7:22.72) by more than six seconds. Northern Arizona rounded out the top three in 7:24.66.
Northern Arizona leads the women’s team standings with 107 points, ahead of Idaho (102) and New Mexico State (100). Results from women’s 1-meter diving were not available.