Northern Arizona Wins 10th Consecutive Western Athletic Conference Women’s Title

Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona Wins 10th Consecutive Western Athletic Conference Women’s Title

Northern Arizona University’s women earned their 1oth consecutive Western Athletic Conference title this weekend in Pharr, Texas, with a final score of 835 points. Grand Canyon University finished second on the leaderboard with 605 points while the University of Northern Colorado placed third with 493 points and Utah Tech took fourth, scoring 462 points. New Mexico State University came in fifth with 459 points followed by California Baptist University (300), University of Idaho (279), and Seattle University (172).

Here is a day-by-day look at how the conference meet unfolded.

Championship Central

Day One

Grand Canyon University’s squad of Briana Rittenbach (SR), Raphaela Nakashima (JR), Paula Martinez Moreno (FR), and Emily Muteti (GS) opened up Day One of competition by setting a Western Athletic Conference record and earning gold in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:39.13.

The Lopes followed that up with another victory in the 800-yard freestyle relay (7:16.69). The winning team consisted of sophomore Maria Brunlehner, Maria Chatzi (SO), Krisalyn Henderson (FR), and Aleksand Wegrzynowska. Northern Arizona University’s relay followed closely behind, with a time of 7:17.96.

Margaret Wesche of Northern Arizona rounded out the first day with a stellar performance on the 3-meter springboard, scoring 305.65 points and clinching her first conference title.

Day Two

After two days of action, Northern Arizona (NAU) began to pull away from the rest of the pack after taking home gold in three events and accumulating 367 points. Grand Canyon University followed behind with 242 points.

The session opened with a victory by Northern Arizona’s Victoria Knapp in the 1-meter springboard, earning 294.40 total points. California Baptist University’s Natalia Bedolla followed closely behind (290.05), but NAU had eight athletes finish in the top 12, scoring the team a total of 104 points in the event.

Northern Arizona’s Casey Craffey touched the wall first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:46.38 to capture an NCAA B standard time and earn a gold medal.

Maria Brunlehner of Grand Canyon University won her second WAC title of the competition after posting a top time of 1:59.19 in the 200-yard individual medley. Haley Mayhew (NAU) placed second with a time of 2:00.04, while Lindsay Puhalski (NMSU) took third with a time of 2:00.62.

Emily Muteti of Grand Canyon finished out the session with a victory in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.63, earning an NCAA B standard time. Aimee Burton (22.80) placed second and Allison Jackson (23.10) took third.

Day Three 

The third day brought additional success for Northern Arizona after the Lumberjacks claimed another conference title and maintained their lead. After dropping 4.25 seconds from her preliminary swim, Maddy Rey (JR) finished first in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:15.61, capturing another NCAA B standard. Lindsay Puhalski of New Mexico State University clinched second with a time of 4:17.53, while Ginevra Molino of Utah Tech took third (4:18.98).

Pia Murray of Utah Tech took home a gold medal in the 100-yard butterfly after clocking in a personal best of 53.41. Paula Martinez Moreno of Grand Canyon (52.55) took second, followed by Payten Irwin of Northern Colorado (53.92). Murray and Martinez Moreno both met the NCAA B standard as well.

Grand Canyon grabbed another gold medal after Aleksandra Wegrzynowska dropped a lifetime best to win the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.19). Ilyea Losey of Utah Tech followed closely behind with a mark of 1:48.66, earning second place.

Grand Canyon went on to earn two more NCAA B standard times after Maria Brunlehner won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.18) and her teammate Raphaela Nakashima followed to earn second place (1:01.33). Bryanna Ungs took third with a time 1:01.98.

In another stellar performance, Pia Murray of Utah Tech captured her second gold of the day, winning the 100 backstroke and earning an NCAA B standard with a time of 53.17. Murray’s teammate, Ally Boynton, narrowly out-touched Michaela Trnkova of California Baptist, 53.82 to 53.99.

With a team consisting of Ally Boynton (SO), Skyler Lyon (JR), Pia Murray (JR), and Ilyea Losey (JR), California Baptist University earned first place in the 400-yard medley relay with a mark of 3:38.65. Meanwhile, Abigail Erickson of Grand Canyon rounded out the meet with a 242.65-point score in the platform diving.

Day Four

On the last day of the meet, Northern Arizona’s Casey Craffey (SO) earned an NCAA B standard and was the top finisher in the 1650-yard freestyle, after dropping a time of 16:20.46.

Utah Tech took first and second in the 200-yard backstroke after Pia Murray won a gold medal with a time of 1:54.96 and Ally Boynton clinched second (1:55.98). The teammates earned NCAA B standards times. The Lopes collected two more NCAA B standards as Maria Brunlehner’s (48.81) performance won the 100-yard freestyle and Emily Muteti (49.09) took second.

Haley Mayhew of Northern Arizona captured the 200-yard breaststroke title with a time if 2:12.95. Northern Colorado teammates Maria Erokhina and Bryanna Ungs clinched second and third, with times of 2:13.47 and 2:15.76.

Maddy Rey followed that up with another victory for Northern Arizona in the 200-yard butterfly after dropping 1.52 seconds from prelims for a top time of 1:58.92.  Payton Irwin of Northern Colorado (1:59.17) was the runnerup, while Aleksandra Wegrzynowska of Grand Canyon (1:59.84) touched third.

To close out the meet, Grand Canyon’s team of Emily Muteti (GS), Maria Chatzi (SO), Kaity Carr (SR), and Maria Brunlehner (SO) posted a combined time of 3:19.16 to take gold in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Over the course of the meet, Northern Arizona University collected eight gold medals.

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