Division III Weekly Recap: Emory Sweeps, Denison and Kenyon Split Conference Titles

Julia Durmer 1
Photo Courtesy: Emory Athletics

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The Division III landscape got a little interesting this past weekend as the top three teams, Emory, Kenyon and Denison were all in action over the weekend at their conference championships. Emory swept the University Athletic Association over NYU, Carnegie Mellon, Chicago and Wash U as they move forward as NCAA favorites in four weeks from tomorrow. Kenyon women and Denison men both won the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships that were held at Denison.

Emory swept perhaps the best conference in Division III as they swam against five other ranked teams in Wash U, Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, NYU and Case Western. Emory was highlighted by Cindy Cheng who won the 500 (4:47.94), 100 back (54.16) and the 200 back (1:57.87) as she posted the fastest time of the weekend in the 500 and 100 back. Cheng was also on four winning relays as she was the lead off on the 200 medley (1:42.06), 400 medley (3:44.34), 800 free (7:25.44) and anchored the 400 free relay (3:21.53). Emory also had the fastest time in Division III on the weekend in the 200 free relay (1:31.93) and the 400.

Julia Durmer had the fastest 400 IM (4:20.38) and Rebecca Upton had the fastest 200 fly (2:03.06) on the weekend. Durmer also won the 1650 (16:57.08) and Fiona Muir won the 50 (23.05), the 100 (50.68) and the 200 free (1:50.28) for Emory at UAA’s as they won every event except for two. Those two non-Emory wins came from Carnegie Mellon’s Kim Hochstedler in the 200 breast (2:18.58) and NYU’s Honroe Collins in the 200 IM (2:01.76).

Emory’s depth will make them tough to beat at NCAA’s in four weeks. But if anyone can beat them, Kenyon might be the team to do so. The Kenyon women have had a great season and could play spoiler when we get to NCAA’s in Indianapolis in four weeks.

Kenyon had a big weekend out of Crile Hart and Hannah Orbach-Mandel. Hart had the fastest 200 IM (1:59.70) and 200 back (1:56.86) and won the 100 back as well (56.07). Orbach-Mandel had the fastest 200 free over the weekend with a 1:49.14 and also won the 100 free at NCAC’s (50.82).

Orbach-Mandel also anchored Kenyon’s 800 free relay with a 1:48.74 and the 200 medley relay with a 22.99 as Kenyon had the quickest time on the weekend with a 1:41.18 in the 200 medley and 7:24.71 in the 800 free. Kenyon’s medley relay of Hart (25.48), Makena Market (28.33), Emmie Mirus (24.38) and Orbach-Mandel (22.99) now sits second behind Denison in the national rankings. Denison was disqualified in the 200 medley relay at NCAC’s but did win the 400 medley relay.

Casey Kirby (57.20), KT Kustritz (1:00.76), Maddie Hopkins (54.83) and Mia Chiappe (51.24) won with a 3:44.03 to hold off Kenyon by 0.01. Kenyon had Hart (55.02), Market (1:02.74), Myanna Cook (56.60) and Orbach-Mandel (49.68) swimming for them.

Denison was highlighted on the weekend by Kustritz, who was a little off her NCAA record in the 100 breast with a 1:01.74. She was also second in the 200 IM behind Hart with a 2:02.51.

Denison also got wins on the weekend from Zoe Whelan in the 200 fly (2:03.10), Hannah Rusinko in the 500 (4:53.10), Natalie Zaravella in the 400 IM (4:26.71) and Kate Mesaros in the 200 breast (2:19.27). Overall, Kenyon won the meet over Denison 1953-1860.

The third big meet on the weekend was the NESCAC meet at Williams. Williams won the meet over Amherst by over 300 points. Williams came up big with Emma WaddellCaroline White and Laura Westphal. Waddell ended up winning the 50 (22.98), 100 free (50.45) and 100 fly (53.74) and posted the fastest time in Division III in all three events on the weekend. Waddell is one of the best swimmers in Division III and proved why this weekend with her swims. Waddell helped Williams on four of the five relays the team won. Waddell anchored the 200 free (22.28), 200 medley (22.56) and the 400 free (49.87) and swam fly on the 400 medley (53.28) relays.

Caroline White had the fastest 200 breast on the weekend with a 2:16.44 and Westphal won the 1650 (16:53.92) for the fastest times on the weekend in each. White also won the 100 breast (1:03.46) and Westphal also won the 500 (4:52.09) and the 200 free (1:49.16).

Williams also got wins in the 200 and 400 IM from Molly Craig (2:03.57), (4:21.66) and the 200 fly from Veronica Wolff (2:03.98). Williams also swept all five of the relays.

  • 200 medley (1:42.80)
  • 200 free (1:33.09)
  • 400 medley (3:25.02)
  • 800 free (7:28.09)
  • 400 free (3:25.26)

The Denison men got the win at NCAC’s over Kenyon in their home pool 1907-1797. A big reason was the Big Red winning all five relays. Matt Hedman was the big star on the weekend for Denison as he won the 1650 (15:27.93) for the fastest time in Division III over the weekend. He also won the 400 IM (3:54.00) and was third in the 500 (4:29.81).

Denison had the fastest free relay in all three distances as they started the meet with a 6:33.03 in the 800, and won the 200 (1:20.57) and the 400 (2:58.89) for the fastest time in Division III.

Denison’s 800 leads the rest of Division III by five full seconds as Drake Horton (1:38.30), Ryan Stevenson (1:37.36), Matt McHugh (1:38.68) and Zach Wagner (1:38.69) were on the relay to kick start the weekend for the Big Red.

They also had big swims out of Kymani Senior in the 100 fly (48.69), Drake Horton in the 200 free (1:38.11), Carson Clear in the 100 back (47.87) and Ryan Stevenson in the 200 breast (2:00.35), who all posted the nation’s fastest times on the weekend. Stevenson also won the 200 IM (1:50.58) and Senior also won the 50 (20.06). Zach WagnerJason Wesseling and Aaron Saccurato also picked up wins in the 100 free (44.58), 200 back (1:47.35) and 200 fly (1:49.81) respectively.

Denison won every single event at the NCAC Championships except for the 100 breast where it was won by DePauw’s Sam McManus (54.95), as well as the 500 where Connor Rumpit held off a slew of Denison swimmers to win at 4:28.03, even though Hedman went faster in prelims at 4:27.68.

Denison put themselves in consideration for the national title with the dominating performance this weekend, even if they indicated they were not fully rested. They will have to get the crown back from defending national champions Emory who won the UAA title over the weekend against four other ranked teams. They won the meet over second place NYU 1724-1519 and won all five relays.

Emory’s big star on the weekend was Oliver Smith, who won the 50 in 19.93. He swam slower than he did earlier in the season but did enough for the win. Smith also won the 100 free (44.53) and was on four of the five winning relays. He anchored the 200 free (19.45) and the 400 medley (43.68) on the first night and then swam fly on the 200 medley (21.40) and anchored the 400 free (44.99) to close out the meet.

Emory had the quickest medley relays with Sage Ono (22.39), Cooper Tollen (24.76), Smith (21.40) and Trey Kolleck (20.08) going 1:28.63 in the 200, and Ono (48.39), John Copses (55.75), Tollen (49.34) and Smith (43.68) going 3:17.16 in the 400. Emory just out-touched Wash U in the 400 who touched second at 3:17.19. Ironically, Denison’s 3:17.17 from NCAC’s would have split the two teams.

Emory also got wins from Tom Gordon in the 500 (4:28.65), 200 free (1:39.34) and 1650 (15:34.65), along with Sage Ono in the 100 back (48.41).

Emory was not quite as dominant in the meet as their women’s team, but the team still got the job done as UAA champs. Wash U had a solid meet placing third as a team with wins from Kevin Van Cleave in the 200 IM (1:48.15), Brandon Lum in the 200 fly (1:47.28) and Peyton Wilson in the 200 back (1:45.52) that would have won the NCAC Championships in Ohio. Wash U’s Andrew Pek also won the 100 fly with a 49.28. Their famous 400 medley relay was swum by Wilson (49.54), Van Cleave (54.70), Pek (48.73) and Chase Van Petten (44.22).

NYU’s Ian Rainey won the 400 IM (3:49.68) and Chicago’s Reona Yamaguchi and Lance Culjat swept the breaststrokes with Yamaguchi going 55.02 and Culjat winning the 200 (2:01.04).

Outside those major meets, Loras’ Ike Casey put up some swift times winning the Liberal Arts Championships with a 19.96 in the 50 and 44.22 in the 100 free.

Carthage women also won their first CCIW team title in school history after finishing second 13 years in a row.