Division III Meet of the Week: Denison Faces Calvin, Carnegie Mellon

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Denison is a national perennial power, so is Calvin and Carnegie Mellon making it a clear choice for the Division III Meet of the Week.

Denison is ranked No. 1 in the women’s poll and No. 2 in the men’s poll. Carnegie Mellon is No. 10 in the men’s poll and No. 12 in the women’s poll. Calvin is No. 15 in the men’s poll and No. 21 in the women’s poll.

That is a ton of talent pooling together for one meet at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

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Denison is coming off of a strong performance at its home invitational in December.

Senior KT Kustritz leads Denison with the nation’s fastest time in the 200 breaststroke (2:16.12) and the second-fastest time in the 100 breast (1:01.27) as of Dec. 13.  Maddie Hopkins boasts the nation’s second-fastest time in the 100 fly (54.92), the No. 3 time in the 50 free (23.21) while first-year Tara Culibrk checks in second in the 200 free at 1:49.55.  Senior Gabriella Nutter is ranked third in the 100 free (50.55) while Natalie Zaravella has the second-best time in the 400 IM at 4:22.57.

In relays, Denison’s women boast the nation’s fastest time in four of five events.  The only relay they are not ranked No. 1 is the 800 free relay where they sit No. 2.

The Denison men totaled 49 NCAA ‘B’ cuts by 23 individuals en route to a victory at last week’s Denison Invitational.  Bebe Wang leads Division III with a time of 1:47.45 in the 200 IM.  Sophomore Noah Houskeeper followed in second at 1:49.26.  Wang also ranks second in the 200 free (1:37.50) and the 200 back (1:46.13).  Sophomore Richie Kurlich boasts the top time in the 200 breaststroke (1:58.90).

Mitch Williams (200 fly – 1:47.43), John Stauffer (400 IM – 354:16), Kymani Senior (100 fly – 48.33) and Trey Ike (100 back – 48.79) also rank third in Division III as of Dec. 13.

Calvin had a strong showing at its home invitational in December as well.

The Knights broke four school records over the three-day meet with Julian Iturbe accounting for three of the new records.

Iturbe had new school records in the 200 freestyle, 400 IM and 100 freestyle during the meet. He had 3:59.60 in the 400 IM, 44.88 in the 100 freestyle and 1:37.92 in in the opening leg of Calvin’s 800 freestyle relay. He helped lead Calvin to a third-place finish in the Calvin Winter Invitational.

In the event, with several Division II powerhouses, Calvin’s Emily Gunderson set a new school record in the 100 butterfly, taking fourth with a time of 57.36, breaking the previous mark of 57.56 set by teammate Jenna Oezer last December. Gunderson also took home a win in the 50 freestyle with a season-best time of 23.65.

For Carnegie Mellon, John McNab has the nation’s second-best time in the 1,650-yard freestyle after finishing the long distance race second overall in a NCAA B Cut time of 1:38.93 at the West Virginia University Invitational. The freshman also earned B Cut times of 4:31.96 in the 500-yard freestyle and 4:00.06 in the 400-yard IM. His 500-yard freestyle time is third best in the nation while his 400-yard IM time is sixth in the nation. McNab also led of the 800-yard freestyle relay that is third in the nation with a time of 6:44.64.

On the women’s side, Bonnie Wang earned two NCAA B Cuts at the West Virginia University Invitational. Her time of 56.44 in the 100-yard backstroke is fourth in the nation and first in the UAA while her time of 2:03.00 in the 200-yard backstroke is seventh best in the nation and second in the UAA.

Three strong teams should make for a memorable Division III Meet of the Week.

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