Division III Meet of the Week: Denison Invite has Four of Top Five-Ranked Teams

Denison's KT Kustritz. Photo Courtesy: Linda Striggo

Four of the most storied small-school programs will clash at this week’s NCAA Division III Meet of the Week: the Denison Invitational.

Denison (Ohio) University will host, Kenyon, Emory and Washington University-St. Louis (WashU) and will add a strong Division II team in Wayne State University and for the women, Division I Eastern Michigan.

The Denison Invitational runs Dec. 5-7 at Trumbull Aquatics Center in Grandville, Ohio.

Kenyon is No. 1 and Denison is ranked No. 2 in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association (CSCAA) Division III men’s poll, while WashU is not far behind at No. 5.

The Denison women are also ranked No. 2, while Emory is No. 3, Kenyon is No. 4 and WashU is No. 6.

Adding another layer to the meet is Wayne State, which is ranked No. 19 in Division II for the men and No. 20 for the women and a Division I program like EMU adds to the challenge.

Kenyon is led by Connor Rumpit, who recently helped the team to a second-place finish at the West Virginia Invitational with three victories. His first came in the 500-yard freestyle race as he clocked a 4:26.11. He followed that up with another long-distance win in the 1,650 free. Rumpit posted a time of 15:33.43 in that event.

Denison is led by Richie Kurlish, who has the fastest time in Division III in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:00.52). He also is seventh in the 100 breast (56.69). Dayen Wilson, who has the fourth-fastest time in Division III in the 1650 free (15:54.28), while teammate James Baker is sixth (15:59.18).

WashU is led by Nathan Katz, who is versatile and could swim a number of events this weekend.

For the women, KT Kustritz leads Denison. She has the fourth-fastest time in Division III in the 100 breast (1:03.87) and is 11th in the 200 breast (2:22.85). Meanwhile WashU’s Stephanie Li is No. 13 in the 200 breast (2:23.09), which could lead to the individual race of the meet, challenging Kenyon’s Andrea Perttula (2:19.60), who is ranked fourth.

Another showdown could come in the 200 fly where Kenyon’s Ania Axas is No. 3 (2:04.29), Emory’s Clio Hancock is No. 5 (2:05.22), Denison’s Zoe Whelen is ranked No. 9 (2:06.29) and WashU’s Alexandra Meszaros is 10th (2:06.41).

Emory is lead by Nicholas Goudie, who was part of five event victories at the Emory Fall Invitational as the Eagles edged out Wingate and Carson-Newman. Goudie was an individual winner in both the 50 Free (20.80), 100 Free (46.04) and three relays: 200 FR (1:23.66), 200 MR (1:33.05) and 400 FR (3:05.91). His 50 Free mark is the fastest among the Division III ranks so far this season.

If the D-III rivalry isn’t enough, Wayne State has some stellar international swimmers.

In the last Warriors’ meet against Ashland, senior Joao Martimbianco Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) notched a victory in the 400 IM (4:07.66), with classmate Leonardo de Oliveira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) as the runner-up (4:15.57).  Ribeiro also claimed the top spot in the 100 fly (51.56) and was trailed by sophomore Abdelrahman Hassan (Cairo, Egypt) in second place (52.62).

That packed group is why it is the Division III Meet of the Week.

The competition will open on Wednesday at 5 p.m. with a Long Course Meters Time Trial for U.S. Olympic Qualifying that will be observed by USA Swimming.

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