NCAA Division III Championships: Kenyon Leads Both Men’s, Women’s Meets After First Night

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, March 18. THE first evening of finals at the NCAA Division III Championships featured Kenyon in a familiar position, on top of both the men's and women's team races.

Kenyon's men continued their charge toward a 30th title with 154 points. Emory held second with 101 points, while St. Olaf (78) stood third.

For the women, Kenyon led the way with 142 points while Emory and Denison were tied for second with 111 points.

The women's 500-yard free division record underwent a pair of progressions from prelims and into finals. Emory's Liz Horvat first broke the record with a time of 4:49.24 in finals. That swim eclipsed the 4:52.34 set by Amherst's Kendra Stern last year. Horvat then won the national title with a 4:47.04 to complete a five-second revision of the record. Stern settled for second in 4:48.15, well beyond her previous best, while Denison's Hilary Callen finished third in 4:53.30.

The men's 500-yard free division record also fell when Amherst's Alex Fraser won in 4:21.95. The effort cleared the 4:22.95 set by Kenyon's Elliot Rushton back in 2005. Washington's Alex Beyer took second in 4:23.60, while Denison's David Curtis finished third in 4:23.70.

The women's 200-yard IM record stood up to the challenge. Kenyon's Tina Ertel won the event in 2:02.31, but could not come close to the 2:00.27 that Washington and Jefferson's Kaitlyn Orstein clocked last year. Williams' Amanda Nicholson (2:02.74) and Logan Todhunter (2:03.15) completed the podium.

The men's 200-yard IM record also held up. Nelson Westby of St. Olaf beat teammate Jacob Koch, 1:48.82 to 1:49.21, for the win. CMS's Gary Simon posted a 1:46.97 for the record back in 1998. Kenyon's Blair Withington finished third in 1:49.56.

After setting the division record with a 22.71 during prelims, Kenyon's Elizabeth Carlton settled for just getting her hand on the wall first in the women's 50-yard free with a 22.80. Her prelim swim beat the previous record of 22.78 set by Carleton's Marie Marsman back in 2005. Emory's Ruth Westby touched second in 23.08, while Carthage's Amanda Croix finished third in 23.10.

Kenyon's Zachary Turk led a pair of 19s in the men's 50-yard free finale with a time of 19.93 after qualifying in 19.86. Grove City's Caleb Courage placed second in 19.97, while Tim Whitbeck took third in 20.03. Turk's prelim time just missed the division record of 19.85 set by Washington & Lee's Alex Sweet last year.

During the diving break, SUNY-Fredonia's Kelly Sponholz cruised to victory in the women's three-meter competition with 516.50 points. Calvin's Erica Deur placed second with 495.85 points, while Trinity's Hayley Emerick took third with 467.80 points.

After Kenyon broke the division record of 1:43.19 set by Denison in 2008 with a 1:42.82 during prelims, Denison returned fire in a barn-burner over Kenyon in finals of the women's 200-yard medley relay. Denison's Olivia Zaleski, Ksenia Golovkina, Kate Rich and Kristen Hohl touched out Kenyon's Brittany Hurd, Tracy Menzel, Danielle Arad and Elizabeth Carlton, 1:41.20 to 1:41.50. Emory's Tess Pasternak, Jennifer Aronoff, Lillian Ciardelli and Claire Pavlak placed third in 1:43.32.

Kenyon closed down the first night by downing the men's 200-yard medley relay division record twice. First, Kenyon's 2001 record of 1:28.75 fell by the slimmest of margins during prelims when Kenyon clocked a 1:28.74. The team of Michael Mpitsos, Collin Ohning, Matthew Harris and Turk then completed the rewriting with a winning time of 1:28.45. St. Olaf's Adam Meyer, Westby, Luke Money and Jacob Koch finished second in 1:29.82 with Emory's Harrison Brown, Mason White, Randall Scarborough and Brad Sloan touching third in 1:29.83.