NCAA Division III Championships: Lords Dethroned By Denison After 31-Year Reign; Emory Women Clinch Second Straight Win

By Reed Shimberg

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, March 26. ON the final night of the NCAA Division III National Championships, the Denison men did the impossible as they defeated Kenyon by one-point in the team race, 500.5 to 499.5. After 31 consecutive national championships, Kenyon's streak is over. The Emory ladies easily won their second consecutive national championship defeating second-place Denison, 614-428.

This marks the first time since 1979 that the Kenyon men have not stood atop the team podium at the NCAA Division III Championships. A decade ago, Gregg Parini's women's team ended Kenyon's 17-year streak of victories

Williams (382), Kenyon (351), College Of New Jersey (198), Stevens (184), Claremont MS (133), Johns Hopkins (131.5), Amherst (121), and Carthage (90) finished third through 10th in the women's race. In the men's race, Emory (348.5), MIT (224), Williams (224), Amherst (198), Redlands (180), Kalamazoo (174), Johns Hopkins (161), and Middlebury (126) were third through 10th on the week.

The female diver of the meet was Danica Roskos from the College of New Jersey. Also from TCNJ was the diving coach of the year Jennifer Harnett. The women's swimmer of the meet was Amherst's Kendra Stern, and the women's swimming coach of the meet was Steve Custer from Williams and Jon Howell from Emory.

The male diver of the meet was Nick Halbach from USMMA, and the male diving coach of the year was Kevin Ryan. The male swimmer of the meet was Rory Buck of Whitworth, and the male swimming coach of the year was Parini, who swam for Kenyon.

In the first event of the night Caroline Wilson of Williams won her second event of the meet winning the 1650 in 16:31.34. The time was well off her meet record set last year when she won the event as a freshman. Elizabeth Horvat of Emory finished second in 16:44.27. Both of them were well ahead of the rest of the field as Erin Altenburger of Williams finished third in 16:59.01.

Allen Weik of Denison ran away with the men's 1650 winning in a national record time of 15:06.47. He crushed the seven year-old record by over 8 seconds. Andrew Chevalier of Kenyon finished second in 15:31.83 while Drew Ledwith of Keene St. finished in third in a time of 15:32.89. Last years' winner Ryan Lichtenfels fifth in a time of 15:38.09.

Kendra Stern won her third event of the meet winning the 100 freestyle in 49.50 just ahead of Carthage senior Amanda Croix who finished second in 49.62. Stevens Tech senior Laura Barito finished third in 50.17. Stern defended her title from last year but was off her national record of 48.98.

Craig Fleming of Kalamazoo won the 100 freestyle in 44.06. He was just off the meet record set two years ago. Kenyon teammates David Somers and Ian Stewart-Bates finished second and third in 44.38 and 44.42 setting the Kenyon team up well in the 400 freestyle relay later in the night.

Anne Culpepper of Emory won the 200 backstroke in a time of 1:58.62 successfully defending her title from last year. Emily Schroeder of Denison finished second for the second year in a row in 1:59.19. That was a great swim for her after being disqualified in the 400 IM. Sadie Nennig the freshman from Emory finished third in 2:00.93 while her fellow Emory teammate Whitley Taylor finished fourth in 2:01.63.

Teammates Quinn Bartlett and Robert Barry made the team race very close as they finished 1-2 for Denison in the 200 backstroke. Bartlett who set the national record in the morning finished just off that time in 1:46.85 while Barry finished in 1:47.29. Timothy Walsh of Connecticut College finished the close race in third with a 1:47.69.

April Whitley of Emory improved upon her third place finish last year to win the 200 breaststroke in 2:14.62. Courtney Herdt of Westminster finished second well behind in 2:17.15 and Kathryn Mroz of Emory finished third in 2:17.43. Whitley ran away with the race from the beginning and only improved upon her lead throughout.

Rory Buck of Whitworth used a dominating performance to break his own national record that he set in the prelims session and win the 200 breaststroke in 1:57.79. Pavel Buyanov of Staten Island was second in 2:00.31 and Vincent Pai from Claremont Mudd-Scripps was third in 2:00.67. A key moment to Kenyon's reign coming to an end occurred when Lars Matkin was disqualified from the consolation heat of the 200 breast, which cost the Lords a tie for the team title.

Nick Halbach of US Merchant Marine Academy won the 3 meter diving with an NCAA record scoring 591.65 points. He just defeated Philip Devine of UW Oshkosh who also defeated the record finishing with 588.75 points. Andrew Krafft of Calvin finished third with 551.40. Denison really benefitted from finishing fourth and fifth with Gabe Dixson and Cody Smith scoring 541.35 and 535.75 points respectively. Rounding out the top six was Tufts University's Johann Schmidt who scored 506.45.

In the women's 400 freestyle relay it was all Emory as the Eagles cemented their team national championship with a 3:22.39 to win the event. Ann Wobler, Suzanne Lemberg, Anne Culpepper, and Claire Pavlak defeated the Denison relay of Alyssa Swanson, Marit Wangstad, Madeline Armitage, and Ksenia Golovkina who finished in 3:23.43. Stevens was third in 3:24.81.

The Kenyon men dominated the 400 freestyle relay but it wasn't enough to win the meet. The team of Ian Stewart-Bates, David Somers, Collin Ohning, and Michael Mpitsos dominated from start to finish in a time of 2:56.63. MIT was a surprising second with Tony Chen, William Dunn, Wyatt Ubellacker, and Craig Cheney finished in 2:59.65. The Denison relay needed to finish third to guarantee themselves the team championship and that's exactly what Carlos Maciel, Michael Barczak, Andrew Krawchyk, and Spencer Fronk did in a time of 2:59.72. They barely touched out fourth-place Emory who finished in 3:00.04.