Marist Teams Move to Top of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

BALTIMORE, Maryland, February 9. THE Marist Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving team took the lead on the second day of the 2006-07 MAAC Championships. On the men's side, the Foxes hold a 529-466.5 advantage over the Broncs heading into the final day of competition, while the women extended their lead over second place Rider with its day two performance and now leads by a margin of 586-487 over the Broncs.

Marist opened with a fourth place finish in the 200-yard medley relay on Friday evening. The team of Dan Garaffa (Manchester, Conn.), Mark Esolen (Archbald, Pa.), Will Shearouse (Milford, N.H.) and Ed Gurka III (Pompton Plains, N.J.) touched out with a time of 1:37.30.

Marist then took the top three spots in the 1,000-yard freestyle. Spencer Hartmann (Windsor, Conn.) won the event, swimming a time of 9:39.39. He was followed by Ralph Rienzo (Wallingford, Conn.) in second place in a time of 9:40.61 and Nick Chevalier (Milford, N.H.) in third with a time of 9:49.66. Greg Pfeifer (Middle Village, N.Y.) also had a strong showing for the Red Foxes, finishing 17th.

Greg Jablonski (Massapequa, N.Y.) picked up his first individual win of the championships by finishing the 400-yard individual medley in a time of 4:01.48. He was followed in the event by senior captain Brandon Youse (Boyertown, Pa.) in fifth and Pfeifer in eighth. Youse and Pfeifer showed times of 4:11.26 and 4:31.09, respectively.

Marist continued a successful day two, placing three swimmers in the top ten in the 100-yard butterfly. Esolen led the Red Foxes with a third place finish in a time of 52.08 seconds. He was followed by Shearouse in seventh with a time of 53.32 seconds and Kevin Quinn (Neponsit, N.Y.) in ninth, showing a time of 53.19.
In the 200-yard freestyle Garaffa was Marist's top finisher, taking sixth place with a time of 1:46.18. Luke Johnson (Pensacola, Fla.) followed in 13th position with a time of 1:46.22.

Esolen came back to led the Marist charge in the 100-yard breaststroke on Friday, as he finished in sixth place with a time of 1:00.92. Gurka and Matt Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y.) were next for Marist in 13th and 15th place, respectively.

Marist would keep up its consistency in the 100-yard backstroke, taking second, fourth and fifth place in the event. Pat Collins (Nutley, N.J.) took second place for the Foxes in 51.57 and was followed by Garaffa and Johnson in fourth and fifth with times of 52.92 and 53.90, respectively.

The Red Foxes closed out day two with a victory in the 800-freestyle relay. The squad of Garaffa, Hartmann, Jablonski and Collins swam to the victory in a time of 6:53.20.

In diving Marist was led by Devon O'Nalty (East Hartford, Conn.) who finished third with a final score of 446.95. He was followed by Jesus Santos (Haverstraw, N.Y.) in fourth with a total of 380.20 and Mitchell Katz (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) in fifth, posting a score of 373.00. John Luboja (New York, N.Y.) also had a strong showing for the Red Foxes, finishing seventh with a total of 347.90.

On the women's side, the Red Foxes started day two of the MAAC Championships off in record setting fashion. For the second straight day the Red Foxes broke a MAAC record in a relay event, this time the 200-yard medley. The foursome of Falco, Malski, Lyndsay Martin (Schenectady, N.Y.) and Kim Koehler (Narragansett, R.I.) took first and the record with a time of 1:45.86. Sandra Bujalski (Thomaston, Conn.) also set a school mark in the 100-yard butterfly on day two of the MAAC Championships.

In the 1,000-yard freestyle, two freshmen led a Marist charge that put three swimmers in the top ten. Jenell Walsh-Thomas (Medford, N.J.) won her second MAAC gold medal in as many days and she was followed by classmate Emily Hammang (Barrington, R.I) in second place. Walsh-Thomas bested the field with a winning time of 10:25.41 and was followed by Hammang's time of 10:27.10. Catherine Hartford (Merrick, N.Y.) took tenth place for Marist, with Jennifer Silva (Seekonk, Mass.) also having a strong swim and finishing in 14th place.

Marist also had three finishers in the top ten in the 400-yard individual medley. Savannah Puca (Huntington, N.Y.) led the charge with a time of 4:38.29. She was followed by Ashley Papuga (Branford, Conn.) in eighth place, as she finished with a time of 4:51.53. The Red Foxes also got strong swims from Lindsay Marotto (South Windsor, Conn.) in 10th place, Victoria Kemp (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) in 14th place and Cindy Spiecker (Warrington, Pa.) in 15th position.
In the 100-yard butterfly, Bujalski continued her strong day by breaking the Marist school record in the event with a time of 57.22 seconds. She was followed by Martin in fifth and Koehler in ninth with times of 58.16 and 1:01.20, respectively. Kemp and senior Victoria Fresolone (East Setauket, N.Y.) rounded out the Marist contingent in 10th and 16th place.

Falco would continue her dominance of the championships in the 200-yard free, finishing first in the 200-yard freestyle in a MAAC and school record time of 1:52.52. Bujalski was again near the front of the field, finishing third in a time of 1:56.02. Alyssa Hewitt (Pittsfield, Mass.) and Kelsea Fortner (Mystic, Conn.) also contributed solid swims, placing 10th and 14th for the Red Foxes.

Another MAAC record fell to a Marist swimmer when Malski topped her own league mark by swimming a time of 1:03.55 in the 100-yard breaststroke. Following the winner for Marist were Martin in third place with a time of 1:08.49 and Spiecker in 13th.

The Foxes then placed two swimmers in the top five in the 100-yard backstroke, with Papuga taking second place in 1:00.21 and Hewitt finishing up in fifth place, showing a time of 1:00.84.

In the final swimming event of the night, the Foxes took the win in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The team of Hammang, Walsh-Thomas, Bujalski and Falco took first place in a time of 7:45.69.

Marist will close out the championships tomorrow and is in search of its third straight crown on the men's side and fourth on the women's side. Check back to for results from the final day of the 2006-07 MAAC Championships.

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