Kustritz, Hedman, Wang Lead Big Red to Denison Invite Victories

Photo Courtesy: Denison Athletics communications

This weekend the Denison men and women won their home invitational. Both teams put up a significant margin of victory over the next best Division III competition, Emory. The Eagles were notably without distance sensation Tom Gordon.

Denison junior KT Kustritz beat Eastern Michigan’s Division I breaststroking All-American Delaney Duncan as the two went head to head in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Kustritz came up just .07 shy of her own NCAA Division III record in the 100 breast, finishing in 59.84. She posted a 2:13.72 in the 200 breaststroke.

Emory freshman Clio Hancock put together a 4:17.06 400 IM. That time would have won a National Title at last year’s meet. Another Emory freshman, Gaige Elms, put together a noteworthy 200 back, touching in 2:00.06.

Her senior teammate Fiona Muir led the way in her individual event lineup, dipping under 23 in the 50 free with a 22.98, winning the 200 freestyle in 1:48.51, less than a second off her 2018 NCAA finals time, and touching first in the 100 free in 49.50.

A trio of Division III women cleared five minutes in the 500 free: Emory’s Maria Turcanu (4:56.16) and Denison’s Hannah Ruskino (4:56.75) and Caroline Colville (4:58.98). Ruskino had the leading DIII mile of the meet in 17:09.75.

Big Red senior Matt Hedman continued to excel, winning the 500 free in 4:26.83, just off his time from NCAA last year. Sophomore teammate Drake Horton wasn’t far back, touching in 4:28.96, just ahead of junior teammate James Baker in 4:29.16. Hedman blasted a 15:18.98 in the 1650 on Saturday night.

Horton won the 200 free in 1:38.87 while teammate Matt McHugh finished runner up (1:38.99).

Denison junior Bebe Wang was also just off his NCAA times from last year, winning the 200 IM in 1:47.85. WashU’s senior Kevin Van Cleave was also impressive, finishing in 1:48.80. Wang won the 200 backstroke in 1:45.47. As he was at NCAAs, WashU’s Peyton Wilson was just behind, this time in 1:46.77.

Emory’s Trey Kolleck neared his best, touching second in the 50 free in 20.19. He won the 100 free in 44.09, .02 faster than he went at NCAA finals last year.

Emory had dominant freshmen in both genders in the 400 IM. Zach Lorson clocked a 3:51.86, a time that would have been third in 2018. Another freshman, Jason Hamilton went a 1:59.59 to win the 200 breaststroke.

Defending NCAA Champion Sage Ono of Emory was the top DIII swimmer in the 100 back with a 48.92, over a second off his time from last March.

In the final individual event of the weekend, Denison junior Mitch Williams beat his 200 fly NCAA finals time from last year, touching in 1:46.65. After beating Williams by a few hundredths last March, WashU’s Brandon Lum was a second back this weekend, touching second in 1:47.61.

Full results. 

A full recap of this weekend’s Division III action will be available Monday.

Press Releases:


GRANVILLE, Ohio–  The Big Red women’s swimming & diving team entered the 2018 Denison Invitational as the top-ranked team in Division III and after three days of stellar performances that national ranking was verified.  The Big Red won the Invitational with 2,479 team points.  Division I Eastern Michigan placed second with 2,046 and Emory University checked in third with 1,704 points.  Division II Wayne State placed fourth (1,263) followed by Washington-St. Louis (1,043), Ohio State (113) and Thomas More (51).

One pool record fell on Saturday night as KT Kustritz posted a rock solid ‘B’ cut time of 2:13.72 to win the 200 breaststroke.  Kate Mesaros finished fifth after a season-best ‘B’ cut of 2:17.91 in preliminaries.  Natalie Zaravella made her cut in prelims at 2:21.09 and out of the B-Final, Olivia Lantry notched a cut after a time of 2:21.70.

In the 1,650 freestyle, Hannah Rusinko paced Denison with a fourth-place finish and a time of 17:09.75.  Zaravella touched fifth in 17:16.04 while Caroline Colville placed sixth (17:20.65) and Grace Kacmarek finished eighth in 17:30.61.  All four times were ‘B’ cuts.  Finishing just outside the provisional qualifying standard was first-year Megan Balbo who touched ninth with a time of 17:35.03.

Zoe Whelan led a crew of seven Denison swimmers who posted top-16 finishes in the 200 butterfly.  Whelan placed fifth after posting a 2:03.30 ‘B’ cut in prelims. She returned with a time of 2:05.23 in the finals.  Colville placed seventh in 2:08.31 and Becca Taylor finished ninth in 2:14.35.

In the 100 freestyle, Mia Chiappe placed fourth with a ‘B’ cut time of 51.41.  Maddie Hopkins touched in 51.75 in prelims for her ‘B’ cut.  She returned to finish seventh in the finals with a time of 51.84.

Erica Hsu turned in a ‘B’ cut in the 200 backstroke after a fifth-place finish and time of 2:03.13.  Bridget Horton (2:05.36), Sydney Lenz(2:07.13) and Devin Javens (2:08.02) rounded out the event in 13th, 16th, and 18th place, respectively.

Four Big Red divers competed on the 3-meter board led by Allison Fitzgerald who placed eighth with a six-dive score of 236.20.  Emma Weber followed in ninth place with a score of 232.50.  Naomi Clayton finished 11th at 213.05 and Mattie Stauss checked in 12th at 190.00.

The meet was wrapped up by a third-place performance in the 400 free relay by Chiappe, Hopkins, Sophia Gaguzis and KT Kustritz.  The foursome combined for a time of 3:26.81 which is a season-best ‘B’ cut for the Big Red.

Zaravella led Denison with 113 points across the three-day meet. In five events, Zaravella placed second in the 200 IM (2:03.79), third in the 400 IM (4:21.74), fifth in the 1,650 free (17:16.04), ninth in the 200 breast (2:23.37) and was a part of the third-place 800 free relay. Kustritz totaled 105 points and Colville followed with 103.

In lieu of admission to the Denison Invitational donations and non-perishable food items were collected at the gate. Over three days nearly $2,000 was collected along with 478 food items.  Donations will be made to the Market Street Pantry and the Licking County Food Pantry.


GRANVILLE, Ohio–  Top-ranked Denison men’s swimming and diving walked away from the 2018 Denison Invitational with the team championship. The Big Red totaled 2,936 points to win the event by 1,064 points over second-place, Emory University.  Third place went to Washington University-St. Louis with 1,530 points.  Fourth-place belonged to Division II Wayne State at 1,403 points and Thomas More placed fifth with 193 points.

The Big Red racked up 19 more NCAA ‘B’ cut times on Saturday to go along with four event titles.  Denison’s distance free depth was on full display in the 1,650 free as Matt Hedman broke his own pool record with a time of 15.18.98.  First-year Lukas Gately placed third and he did it out of the B-Final as he won the heat with a ‘B’ cut time of 15:38.64.  James Baker checked in fourth at 15:44.13. Dayen Wilson (15:53.77) and Jackson Berman (16:10.16) placed eighth and 10th, respectively.  Baker, Wilson, and Berman all posted provisional qualifying times.

Another pool record fell in the 200 butterfly as five-time All-American and last year’s third-place finisher in the 200 fly Mitch Williams won the event with a personal best time of 1:46.65.  Noah Houskeeper followed in fourth at 1:49.87.  He posted a career-best ‘B’ cut time of 1:49.17 in prelims.  Matt Reed and Kymani Senior finished in fifth and ninth place respectively.  Both logged ‘B’ cuts in prelims as Reed touched in 1:50.14 and Senior posted 1:50.66.

The 2018 NCAA Division III national champion in the 200 backstroke, Bebe Wang, set a new pool record with a winning time of 1:45.47.  John Stauffer improved his ‘B’ cut time by 0.48 seconds after touching sixth in 1:49.17.  Nick Froemming posted a 1:49.18 ‘B’ cut in prelims and finished seventh in the finals.  In the B-Final, Samuel Jo placed 10th (1:49.81) and Chas Sigloh was 13th (1:51.65).

In the 100 freestyle, Denison placed 10 swimmers in the top-18 led by Drake Horton‘s third-place finish in 44.88.  In prelims, Matt McHugh and Senior both posted ‘B’ cut times of 45.00. They went on to place sixth and ninth in the finals, respectively.

Three more provisional qualifying times were logged in the 200 breaststroke, led by Richie Kurlich‘s time of 2:00.44 that landed him in second place.  Tiernan Foster Smith was fifth in 2:02.67 and Ryan Stevenson place ninth in 2:04.04.

On the 3-meter dive, Liam Simmons placed second with a six-dive score of 216.65.  Brendan Downey placed fourth with a score of 169.10.

The Big Red capped off the three-day invitational with a resounding victory in the 400 free relay as McHugh, Wang, Horton, and Gerlach touched in 2:57.52.

Denison was led in scoring by Senior who finished with 103.5 points over the course of the three-day meet.

In lieu of admission to the Denison Invitational donations and non-perishable food items were collected at the gate. Over three days nearly $2,000 was collected along with 478 food items.  Donations will be made to the Market Street Pantry and the Licking County Food Pantry.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Denison University. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.