Kenyon Ladies Repeat, Denison Men Claim 11th Straight NCAC Title

2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Championships

The 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Championships showcased a dogfight between two longstanding Division III powerhouses Kenyon and Denison. The Big Red came into the meet with both the men’s and women’s teams ranked #1 nationally in the CSCAA poll, while the Kenyon Lords and Ladies came into the meet ranked #2.

Women’s Meet

Though the lead shifted daily between Denison and Kenyon, the Kenyon Ladies ended up winning their second straight NCAC title, tallying 1937 points over Denison’s 1882 points. Eight meet records and three pool records were broken over the course of the women’s meet.

The first record was set on night one of the meet, when Ladies Delaney Ambrosen, Kendall Vanderhoof, Abby Wilson and Hannah Orbach-Mandel broke both the pool and NCAC meet records in the 800 free relay with a time of 7:20.31. The Big Red women claimed second, with Mia Chiappe, Logan Wickman, Natalie Zaravella and Caroline Colville combining for a final time of 7:25.35.

The next night, Denison answered back with a record setting relay of their own: the Big Red women won the 200 free relay in a pool and meet record time of 1:31.28, with Maddie Hopkins, Casey Kirby, Gabriella Nutter and KT Kustritz all sporting sub-23 splits.

In the same night, Big Red sophomore Maddie Hopkins ended up victorious in the 50 free – her winning time of 22.85 rendered her the only woman to break 23 from a flat start at the meet.

On night three, the Ladies team of Crile Hart, Makena Markert, Caylee Hamilton and Emmie Mirus cruised to a 200 medley relay win with a new NCAC record time of 1:40.48. Noticeably absent from this field, however, was the Denison squad, as they were DQ’d for a false start during prelims. The Big Red quartet of Angela Le, KT Kustritz, Maddie Hopkins and Gabriella Nutter ended up posting a 1:40.52 in a time trial at the end of the session.

Kenyon Sophomore Crile Hart, last year’s NCAA Swimmer of the Meet, took two individual wins in both the 100 back (55.02) and the 200 fly (2:02.12). Her teammate, junior Kendall Vanderhoof, completed a sweep of the distance events, touching first in the 500 free (4:55.13) and the 1650 (17:01.40).

The NCAC Female Swimmer of the Meet award was given to Denison junior KT Kustritz, the only swimmer to accrue three individual event wins. Kustritz broke the pool and meet record in the 200 IM – touching at 1:59.68 – and swept both of the breaststroke events with times of 1:00.47 and 2:14.57, both of which established new meet records.

Although they ultimately finished second to Kenyon, the Denison women finished off the meet with the final event victory in the 400 free relay. Mia Chiappe, Maddie Hopkins, Casey Kirby and KT Kustritz finished in a final time of 3:22.30, narrowly missing the meet record of 3:22.20 set last year by Kenyon.

Women’s Final Team Scores:

    1. Kenyon – 1937
    2. Denison – 1882
    3. DePauw – 1194.5
    4. Wooster – 1153
    5. Allegheny – 1005.5
    6. Ohio Wesleyan – 827
    7. Oberlin – 495
    8. Wittenberg – 477
    9. Hiram – 309

Men’s Meet

The Big Red Men took the 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Title for the 11th straight year, narrowly winning over second place Kenyon 1851.0 to 1829.5. The men’s meet concluded with five new conference meet records, two pool records, and a NCAA DIII record.

The Kenyon Lords got the ball rolling on night one with a victory in the 800 free relay. The quartet of Nick Tong, Robert Williams, Tommy Weiss and Mickolas Bartholomew posted a time of 6:35.94. Denison’s team of Matt McHugh, Piotr Kurleto, Nicholas Froemming and Ryan Stevenson touched second in 6:37.86.

Denison junior James Baker secured the Big Red’s first win of the meet, claiming the top spot in the 500 free with a time of 4:27.36. Baker would go on to complete his sweep of the distance events – he won the men’s mile in a time of 15:31.71.

Luis Weekes, a freshman for the Lords, capped off his NCAC debut in record fashion. He first won the 200 IM in a NCAC meet record time of 1:49.20, marking the end of a 10 year Denison win streak in that event.

Following up that performance, Weekes went on to break the NCAA DIII record in the 100 IM – his time of 50.23 cleared the old record of 50.53 set by UWisconsin-Lacrosse’s Jacob Burchfield last year.

The 200 medley relay came down to the wire, with only 0.2 seconds separating Kenyon and Denison heading in to the freestyle leg. It was Denison, though, who came out on top – Carson Clear, Kenny Fox, Colin Macmillan and Kymani Senior teamed up to take the victory with a new NCAC meet record time of 1:27.99. Kenyon’s squad, consisting of Ben Baturka, Humphrey Pruett, David Fitch and Tommy Weiss, finished right behind them in 1:28.19.

Kenyon senior Humphrey Pruett set a NCAC meet record in the prelims of the 100 breaststroke with a swift 54.58, and later went on to secure the win in finals.

David Fitch, a sophomore from Conway, MA, was named the Male Swimmer of the Meet. He doubled up on night three with a victory in the 100 fly (notoriously sporting flip turns at every wall) and the 100 back – posting times of 48.60 and 47.89, respectively – and was a member of Kenyon’s winning 200 freestyle and 400 medley relays.

Big Red senior Ryan Stevenson was the final record breaker of the men’s side. He broke both the pool and meet records in the 200 breast, winning in a time of 1:59.43.

The only event winner that wasn’t from Kenyon or Denison – across both the men’s and women’s meets – was Wabash senior Aaron Embree, who took the top spot in the 3m diving event with a final score of 455.55.

The Denison men capped off the meet with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay. The efforts of Matt McHugh, Liam Picozzi, Michael Arpasi and Kymani Senior resulted in a final time of 2:59.05.

Men’s Final Team Scores:

  1. Denison – 1851
  2. Kenyon – 1829.5
  3. DePauw – 1123.0
  4. Wabash – 1093.5
  5. Wooster – 1013
  6. Ohio Wesleyan – 780
  7. Allegheny – 720
  8. Oberlin – 457
  9. Wittenberg – 449
  10. Hiram – 195

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Craig Panini
2 years ago

NCAC Men’s Swimming Champions: Kenyon Lords

Also if you are ever in Granville head to Craig’s Panini’s for a great turkey club!

Reply to  Craig Panini
2 years ago

Little jealous humor ah? They have counseling for that buddy

Eye in the sky
Reply to  Nancy
2 years ago

I hear the paninis at Craig’s are a little…. salty

2 years ago

Some how Wooster was omitted from the results on the men’s side. They finished fifth with 1013 points