Missouri State Pulls Ahead on Day Three of Missouri Valley


  • Wednesday, February 17 – Saturday, February 20
  • Shea Natatorium, SIU, Carbondale, IL (Central Time Zone)
  • Wednesday Timed Finals 6PM, Prelims 11AM / Finals 6PM (Thurs-Fri), Prelims 11AM / Finals 4pm (Sat.)
  • Defending Champion: Missouri State (8x) (2015 results and recaps here.)
  • Live Results
  • Live Video
  • Championship Central
  • MVC Teams: Missouri State Bears, Southern Illinois Salukis, Illinois State Redbirds, Evansville Purple Aces, Northern Iowa Panthers, Arkansas – Little Rock Trojans

Over the first two days of the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, the Salukis of Southern Illinois were able to match every surge the favored Missouri State Bears could throw at them.  The twelve time MVC Champion Bears had been picked to their ninth championship but so far had not been in the lead after either of the first two scoring sessions.  On day three, fans got to see just why the Bears were picked to repeat for the title, as a sweep in the first individual event of the night launched a rocket with momentum that just was not going to be stopped.


  1. Rebecca Amparano, SR, Missouri State, 4:18.32 (*MVC Meet Record)
  2. Josie Pearson, FR, Missouri State, 4:20.10
  3. Briana Horozewski, JR, Missouri State, 4:20.79

Missouri State’s depth in the 200 IM brought them key points on day two, led by a tight win from senior Rebecca Amparano.  In the 400 IM, Amparano again took the title, defending her 2015 win and setting an MVC Championship Record, followed closely by teammates Josie Pearson and Briana Horozewski for a 1-2-3 sweep of the event.  This race was even more of a momentum-stealer considering that the Salukis, who had maintained a lead throughout the meet so far, did not score any swimmers in the A-final heat and only one in the B-final versus the Bears’ two. (SIU freshman Oliwia Okaj, the sixth place seed from prelims, was disqualified.)  Jinson Kang from UALR was fourth with 4:23.14, followed by UNI’s Stephanie Jackson with 4:28.38.  Savannah Rubocki (4:28.56) and Karley Licking (4:39.37,) both from Illinois State, were sixth and seventh.


  1. Emma Wall, SO, Missouri State, 55.82
  2. Crystal Florman, FR, Northern Iowa, 56.22
  3. Emma Brazeau, FR, Southern Illinois, 56.30

SIU landed three swimmers in the A-final and owned the top seed with a 56.41 prelim from Emma Brazeau, setting the 100 fly up as a strong event for the Saluki’s.  Missouri State sophomore Emma Wall rose to the challenge, getting out ahead by just a sliver on the first 50 with a 26.01 split.  She managed to bring it home better than her challengers to hang on for the win on a 29.80 second half compared to the two nearest competitors who both closed with 30.0.  Northern Iowa’s Crystal Florman edged in for second place by .08 over Brazeau, 56.22 to 56.30.  SIU did pick up big points for the event with 4th and 5th place finishes as well from Chandler Ott (56.78,) and Kristina Ksarjian (56.85.)  Evansville’s Kristen Myers was 6th in 56.92, Missouri State’s Emily Chesser was 7th in 57.28, and ISU’s Katie Breger was 8th at 58.06.


  1. Dora Kiss, SR, Missouri State, 1:48.38
  2. Kelsie Walker, SO, Southern Illinois, 1:48.72
  3. Bryn Handley, SO, Southern Illinois, 1:50.83

After crushing their own 800 freestyle relay record on Wednesday night it was expected that SIU would make a strong showing in the 200 free.  They landed four swimmers in the A-final for this event compared to Missouri State’s one, but that one was Dora Kiss.  The four-time champion in the 500 freestyle got out ahead of MVC Record Holder Kelsie Walker on the first half of the race, splitting 52.73 to Walker’s 53.42.  Walker nearly managed to close that gap with a surge on the last 50, splitting 27.35 and coming up just short of victory.  Behind Walker, SIU loaded up on points from Bryn Handley (3rd, 1:50.83,) Helena Amorim (6th, 1:51.97,) and Lauren Stockton (7th, 1:52.18.)  Filling in the rest of the top 8 were 4th place Molly Lembezeder from UNI (1:51.42,) 5th place Tori Fryar from UALR (1:51.84,) and 8th place Laura Paskoff (1:54.65.)


  1. Veronica Herrmann, JR, Northern Iowa, 1:01.99
  2. Lauren Pavel, JR, Missouri State, 1:02.03
  3. Rachel Holm, SO, Illinois State, 1:03.14

Northern Iowa’s Veronica Herrmann unseated MVC defending champion Lauren Pavel in the 100 breast by a heart-breaking .03 in a race that was close from beginning to end.  Pavel was out at the 50 in 29.03 to Herrmann’s 29.13, but the Panther was able to claw her way to the championship on a 32.86 second half.  That time is just shy of the 1:01.92 she turned in for the prelim, and destroys the 1:04.60 seed time she was entered with in the preliminary round.  The sprint breaststroke proved to be a strong event for the Panthers, as they also earned 5th place points from Autumn Roepsch (1:04.41) and 8th from Olivia Knowles (1:05.58.)  Illinois State took 3rd and 4th with a 1:03.14 from Rachel Holm and 1:03.24 from Courtney Taylor.  SIU’s Liane Tatigian took 6th with 1:05.30, and Missouri State junior Anna Bump was just behind her in 7th at 1:05.31.


  1. Michaela Kent, JR, Evansville, 55.53
  2. Loretta Stelnicki, FR, Missouri State, 55.59
  3. Sydney Zupan, 55.69, Missouri State, 55.69

The 100 back final could have been anyone’s race, as only .25 separated the top five finishers.  It was the 5th seed out of prelims, Evansville’s Michaela Kent, who managed to sneak her fingers to the touchpad first, in 55.53.  Loretta Stelnicki and Sydney Zupan squeezed into valuable 2nd and 3rd place points just behind Kent at 55.59 and 55.69, but Zupan had to share those points, and her spot on the podium, with SIU’s Sarah James who touched at 55.69 as well.  Illinois State’s Rachel Root was right with the pack as well, finishing in 55.78 for 5th.  Northern Iowa landed 6th and 7th with a 56.73 from Aftin Phyfe and 56.79 from Madison Rinaldi.  SIU’s Katy Ovington was 8th at 57.41.


  1. Missouri State Bears, 3:43.66
  2. Northern Iowa Panthers, 3:44.83
  3. Southern Illinois Salukis, 3:47.77

The Bears’ squad of Sydney Zupan, Lauren Pavel, Dora Kiss and Loretta Stelnicki fought off a very evenly matched Northern Iowa squad to take their first relay win of the 2016 MVC Championship.  After the back and breast legs of the relay UNI was only .31 behind the Missouri State, but the Bears increased their lead on a blazing 54.39 fly split from Kiss that UNI couldn’t match.  The Panthers finished just over a second behind the Bears at 3:44.83.  SIU earned 3rd place with 3:47.77.  Illinois State (3:49.35,) UALR (3:50.37,) and Evansville (3:55.40) completed the scoring session.

TEAM SCORES (After Day Three):

  1. Missouri State 534
  2. Southern Illinois 496.50
  3. Northern Iowa 408
  4. Illinois State 298.50
  5. Arkansas, Little Rock 209
  6. Evansville 192

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