NCAA Division III Women’s Top Ten Returning Point Scorers For 2019

Photo Courtesy: Diana Pimer

As October heats up, the NCAA’s Division III teams begin to dive back into practices and competition. While there are many meets between now and the end of the season, here’s a look back at last March, and a look ahead to what the 2019 Championship could bring.

The Emory women were dominant at the 2018 meet, winning their ninth straight title. Along the way, Eagle women were seven of the top 18 scorers. Of that seven, four graduated last spring. The women from Kenyon and Williams (the second and third place teams) also return a number of top point scorers, and significant depth. (Williams had four of the top eight scorers, but lost Emma Waddell.) Time will tell what new additions will have an impact on their teams, conferences, and the National scene.

Below are the top ten returning point scorers in the 2018-2019 season (Name: School, Class Year in 2018-2019, Points Scored at NCAAs in 2018).

1. Crile Hart: Kenyon, Sophomore 60

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Photo Courtesy: Mike Munden

200 IM- 1:58.86, 1st; 100 Back-53.61, 1st; 200 Back- 1:55.67, 1st

In her NCAA debut, Hart hit her individual points ceiling. There’s no more individual points to be scored in a single meet in her collegiate career, but there could be more events for her to try. In her very first race on the National stage, Hart touched in 1:58.29 in the 200 IM, setting a NCAA record in prelims. She bookended the weekend with another National mark in the 200 backstroke. Hart was just .25 shy of the 100 backstroke National record.

She could head in other directions though. Hart swam a prelims backstroke leg of a 200 medley relay, before taking on butterfly duties (52.94) on the Ladies’ winning 400 medley relay. The fastest 100 fly time at the meet last year? 53.39.

Hart also split a 1:47.08 on the third leg of the runner up 800 freestyle relay and led off the 400 free relay in 49.99- the exact split she went while swimming anchor in prelims. While she’d have more competition for a National title in the freestyle events, they could present intriguing opportunities over the next three years.

2. KT Kustritz: Denison, Junior 57

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Photo Courtesy: Linda Striggo

200 IM- 2:00.55, 2nd; 100 Breast- 59.77, 1st; 200 Breast- 2:12.27, 1st

Kustritz put together a dazzling sophomore year, highlighted by her efforts in March. In December she knocked down the NCAA record in the 100 breast, clocking a 1:00.50. She improved on that mark at Nationals, winning the event and becoming the first D3 woman under a minute. She followed that up with a 200 breaststroke meet record and another gold at the end of the meet.

Kustritz started the week with a silver in the 200 IM. It’s hard to see her moving up in that event, given the gap Hart put over the field, but there is one more point available. With the 200 breaststroke NCAA meet record in her hands, Kustritz is surely shooting for the overall National mark in her junior season.

2. Fiona Muir: Emory, Senior 57

fiona-muir-emory

Photo Courtesy: Emory Athletics

50 Free- 22.72, 1st; 200 Free- 1:47.64, 2nd; 100 Free- 49.29, 1st

Muir tied Kustritz for total points in her junior year, winning two events and taking runner up honors in a third. Muir was clearly the sprint queen of 2018, taking the 50 and 100 freestyles, highlighted by an NCAA meet record in prelims of the 50 free, when she touched in 22.48.

The junior stretched the whole way up to the 200 where she was runner up. With reigning champion (and former teammate) Cindy Cheng graduated, Muir has a chance to move up. While each year is different, Muir was a full eight tenths of a second ahead of third place in 2018.

Muir carries a heavy load at the National meet, playing a key role on four Eagle relays. Last year the team’s 200 freestyle relay was disqualified in prelims, but she led off the winning 400 and 800 freestyle relays and anchored the runner up 400 medley relay. In both the 400 and 800 freestyle relays, Muir split slower than she went in her individual swims.

4. Laura Westphal: Williams, Sophomore 53

laura-westphal-williams

Photo Courtesy: Williams College Swim and Dive Instagram (@eph_swimdive)

500 Free- 4:47.85, 1st; 200 Free- 1:49.35, 6th; 1650 Free- 16:35.20, 1st

In just her first year in Williamstown, Westphal emerged as a leader for Williams in the pool, claiming two National titles and NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors. Westphal was strong across the back half of the 500 freestyle to open up her National meet with a victory there. She also ended the meet on top of the podium, after creating, and holding onto, a significant lead over the field in the mile.

In between, Westphal showed impressive range. She split a 23.06 on the Ephs’ winning 200 freestyle relay. While she was sixth overall in the 200 free, Westphal was over two seconds faster in the relay. She ran down Wash U and split a 1:47.16 on the Ephs’ third place 800 free relay, suggesting there’s room to move up in her shortest individual race.

5. Molly Craig: Williams, Sophomore 48

molly-craig-williams-andy-ross-interview

Photo Courtesy: Williams College Swim and Dive Instagram (@eph_swimdive)

200 IM- 2:02.01, 4th; 400 IM- 4:18.56, 1st; 200 Fly- 2:02.99, 6th

In her very first National Championship, Craig’s peak moment came on day two, when she followed Caroline Wilson and Megan Pierce as recent Eph 400 IM National Champions. Craig added Championship finals appearances in the 200 IM and 200 fly over the course of the week. All of those swims were lifetime bests, but with one National Championship under her belt, who knows what else the sophomore will be capable of when she arrives in Greensboro next spring.

6. Caroline White: Williams, Junior 47

caroline-white-williams

Photo Courtesy: Williams College Swim and Dive Instagram (@eph_swimdive)

200 IM- 2:02.90, 5th; 100 Breast- 1:02.17, 3rd; 200 Breast- 2:13.45, 2nd

Wrapping up a trio of Ephs in the returning top ten is breaststroke star White. She came seemingly out of nowhere in the 200 IM prelims at Nationals. After swimming the 50 breaststroke at NESCACs (where she was fourth in 29.67) she entered the meet at 2:10.67 and blew away an opening heat. At night she ultimately finished fifth.

White was a touch off her lifetime bests in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke this year. If she can get back to those times (2:01.77, 1:01.68), there could be a few more points to be scored.

7. Kendall Vanderhoof: Kenyon, Junior 45

vanderhoof-kendall-kenyon-podium-ncaa

Photo Courtesy: Mike Munden

500 Free- 4:52.54, 4th; 200 Free- 1:49.19, 5th; 1650 Free- 16:57.28, 3rd

Vanderhoof put together a beautiful week of swimming in Indianapolis last March. She bettered her seed times in prelims, and then dropped a bit more in finals in both the 200 and 500 freestyles. She ended the week three for three on lifetime best times and podium appearances.

After another year training in Gambier alongside the likes of Hart, Hannah Orbach-Mandel, Marysol Arce, and Alexis Vetrano, more steady drops this year could lead to more points in the Ladies’ quest to track down the Eagles.

8. Hannah Orbach-Mandel: Kenyon, Senior 42

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Photo Courtesy: Mike Munden

500 Free- 4:48.67, 2nd; 200 Free- 1:48.45, 3rd; 100 Free- 50.90, 9th

Orbach-Mandel raced 12 times over the week, and scored for the Ladies every time. She started the week with a huge drop in the 500 free, swimming eight seconds faster than her entry time in finals. She also racked up some points in the 200 free, earning bronze, just .02 off her best time ever.

There’s plenty of room for Orbach-Mandel to move up in her final season. In prelims of the 100 free she posted a 50.85, coming up just .03 shy of eighth, and a full eight tenths off her lifetime best time. That left her in the Consolation final, which she won. If Orbach-Mandel can get into the top heat this go around, you never know what a senior can put together in the final individual race of their career, especially considering she did have a bit more in the tank come relay time, anchoring the Ladies in a 49.86.

9. Meg Taylor: Emory, Senior 40

meg-taylor-emory

Photo Courtesy: Emory Athletics

50 Free- 23.09, 4th; 200 Free- 1:49.89, 9th; 100 Free- 49.96, 3rd

Taylor was consistent individually last year, swimming the exact same time in prelims and finals of the 50 free. However, she was a good bit faster on the end of the Eagles’ 200 medley relay, splitting a 22.24. That 50, and her 100 and 200 freestyles were all lifetime best times. Had she gone her 1:49.89 in the morning of the 200 freestyle, Taylor would have landed in the Championship Final, with room to score more. Instead she entered finals in ninth, and held on to that spot. On the 800 freestyle relay, she was a full second faster (1:48.89), a key second in the Eagles’ lowering their own National record.

10. Anne Dassow- Grove City, Junior 37

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Photo Courtesy: Dave Miller

100 Fly- 54.63, 2nd; 200 Fly- 2:00.29, 1st

Dassow only scored in two individual events at NCAAs in her sophomore year, but she put together impressive swims in them both, clocking lifetime best times. Dassow’s secondary events are the backstrokes, where her times aren’t nationally competitive. While she put together a season best time in the 200 back last year (an event that comes after the butterflies), it is the 100 and 200 butterfly where she’ll likely continue to have the biggest impact.

With Emma Waddell graduating from the top spot in the 100 butterfly, Dassow has a chance to sweep the stroke. The only swimmer on this list coming from outside any of the traditional Divison 3 powerhouses, she was also key on Grove City’s relays at the meet.

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Author: Cathleen Pruden

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Cathleen Pruden is a 2016 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and was a four time All-American and a three time Academic All-American for the Lyons. She grew up swimming in and has also coached in Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently she is the Assistant Coach at Bowdoin College.

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