West Virginia Invitational: Navy Men, West Virginia Women Take Team Crowns

Photo Courtesy: U.S. Naval Academy Athletics

West Virginia Invitational: Navy Men, West Virginia Women Take Team Crowns

The West Virginia women’s team and Navy men’s team claimed titles at the West Virginia Invitational this weekend.

Navy scored 2,358 points to run away with the men’s title, despite the host winning all three men’s relays on the final two days of competition. The Mountaineers finished second with 1,640 points, followed by Delaware’s 1,098 and Drexel’s 852.5.

On the women’s side, West Virginia edged Navy, 1,206-1,185. East Carolina (1,078.5), Villanova (1,065), Delaware (952.5) and William & Mary made for a scintillating team race.

Jonah Harm led the effort for Navy. He nearly pulled an unusual double on Friday, winning the 100 butterfly in 46.25 seconds (with teammate Patrick Colwell third) and then finishing second in the 100 breaststroke in 53.25. Harm had earlier won the 50 free.

Fifth in the 100 fly was Ben Irwin, who won the 100 backstroke in 47.57 later in Friday’s session. He started Saturday by claiming the 200 back in 1:43.05.

That would be Navy’s only win of Saturday’s finals session. Harm finished second in the 100 free, Irwin second in the 200 fly. The Midshipmen took second place in 200 medley relay, the 800 free relay and the 400 free relay.

West Virginia was the big individual winner of the final two days. Justin Heimes, Joe Schaefer, Danny Berlitz and Conner McBeth went 1:27.05 to start Friday with a win in the 200 medley relay. Berlitz, Max Nielsen, Christian Simpson and Roanoke Shirk ended the session with a win in the 800 free relay by more than 4.5 seconds. Berlitz, Nielsen, Shirk and McBeth capped the meet by going 2:56.66 to win the 400 free relay.

Berlitz blitzed the 400 free relay, winning in 3:46.53, a margin of 9.96 seconds over the field. He went 1:57.16 to win the 200 breast on Saturday, teammate Adam McDonald third. Berlitz’s time of 1:37.33 off the front of the 800 free relay was a tad faster than Shirk’s winning time of 1:37.42 in the individual event. Nielsen was .45 back in second with McBeth fifth.

McBeth won Saturday’s 100 free in 43.64, with Shirk third and Nielsen fourth. Glenn Eloriaga won platform diving for the Mountaineers.

Kuba Kwasny of Drexel was denied the 100 fly title by Harm, going 46.77 for second. He got to the wall first in the 200 fly at Irwin’s expense on Saturday, clocking in at 1:46.17. Teammate Kacper Karnik was second in the 200 breast and third in the 100 breast, while Dimitrios Gkelis finished third in the 100 back.

Delaware’s Toni Sabev won the 100 breast in 53.09.

Seton Hall’s Sean Vizzard won the 1,650 free in 15:26.51, teammate Clil Halevi second.

The women’s portion of the West Virginia Invitational brought records, from all corners it seemed.

Seton Hall’s Allie Waggoner did the most damage, with five program records on the week. She won Thursday’s 500 free, then claimed Saturday’s 400 IM in 4:16.78. That time clips more than five seconds off her previous school mark, a time that runner-up Mia Sunseri (4:20.86) also undercut.

Waggoner then blew away the field in the 1,650 free with a time of 16:28.27. She won by more than 22 seconds and set program marks in both the mile and the 1,000 free.

William & Mary’s Sophia Heilen did her one better in that her school record performance also lowered a conference mark. Heilen held the CAA mark in the 100 fly and lowered it to 52.70 in winning Friday’s final. She also won the 200 fly in 1:59.01 on Saturday.

The Tribe started Friday by winning the 200 medley relay. Kat Vanbourgondien, Ellie Scherer (third in the 200 breast), Heilen and Caroline Burgeson went 1:40.67.

Three schools won the last three relays. East Carolina romped in the 800 free relay thanks to Sadie Covington, Emilee Hamblin, Heidi Bruining and Carlie Clements.

Hamblin had a massive Friday. She finished third in the 200 free and second in the 100 breast back-to-back. She added a runner-up result in the 200 breast on Saturday. Clements was third in the 100 free.

The final relay went to Northern Iowa. Amber Finke, Morgan Meyer, Abby Lear and Faith Larsen clocked in at 3:23.03, Larsen taking them from second to first with her 49.64 anchor leg.

Finke won the 100 back in 53.73 seconds and the 200 back in 1:56.21, both program records. Larsen’s time of 49.72 edged Drexel’s Chelsea Gravereux by .06 seconds to victory.

West Virginia’s Mia Cheatwood did the breaststroke double, winning the 100 in 1:00.46 and the 200 in 2:10.60. The former clipped a tenth off her program mark.

Villanova’s Molly Benson got the Wildcats a win by going 1:48.33 in the 200 free, more than a second clear of Gabi Baldwin of Navy. Katie White was the runner-up in the 200 fly. Audrey Pastorek finished third in the 100 back for Nova, as did Marlene Blanke in the 1,650.

Old Dominion got a podium finish thanks to Martina Ciriesi finishing second in the 100 fly. Tiffany Brawn of La Salle won platform diving ahead of Navy’s MacKenzie Kim, the 1-meter champ.

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