Northern Arizona beat out New Mexico State this weekend, 178-122. Alina Staffeldt set a new pool record in the 200 fly (2:01.38) to put up one of the most impressive swims of the dual meet.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The challenge on Saturday was a tough one, but the Northern Arizona swimming & diving team made an early statement in their head-to-head meeting with New Mexico State coming out victorious, 178-122. The Lumberjacks swept both relays and both diving events along with winning eight of the 12 individual swimming events in a dual meet between the top two teams from last season’s Western Athletic Conference championships.
“We swam really well and swept both diving boards and got a lot of contributions from a lot of people,” said head coach Andy Johns. “It was a good meet for us all the way around. New Mexico State is in a different phase in preparation for a dual meet at this time of year than we are, and they’re a quality team. They’re well-coached and we still have work to do to defend our title in February.”
The individual highlights are a lengthy list, but starting with sophomore Alina Staffeldt setting a new pool record in the 200 butterfly is a good place to start. Staffeldt posted a winning time of 2:01.38, crushing the previous NMSU Swimming and Diving Complex pool record by nearly two seconds and besting New Mexico State’s Dorottya Lennert by over four seconds.
Staffeldt also won the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.69, setting new season-best times in both of her victories. Sophomore Kimmy Richterwas NAU’s other dual winner on the day as she posted winning times of 1:53.40 – a season-best – in the 200 freestyle and 5:05.64 in the 500 freestyle.
The NAU divers also were stars of the show with senior Chelsea Jackson and junior Alexa Geiger posting wins in the springboard events. Jackson led a one-two-three NAU sweep on 1-meter with a career-best score of 306.80. Likewise, senior Carlye Townsend shattered her previous career-high score by over 20 points, finishing second runner-up with a score of 284.40. With that performance, Townsend qualified for the NCAA Zone E meet for the first time in her career. Geiger then placed third with a season-best score of 280.00.
Geiger claimed the 3-meter win with a score of 280.80 and was followed by Jackson, who posted a season-high score of 279.90. FreshmanChristina Torrente, who dove as an exhibition competitor on Saturday, would have tied Geiger for first on 3-meter had she been a scoring athlete. Her season-best score of 280.80 on 3-meter, coupled with her season-high score of 275.60 on 1-meter, gave her a pair of qualifying zone scores pushing NAU’s total to four Zone qualifiers.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had seven divers perform this consistently and this well through six total rounds of diving,” said diving coach Nikki Huffman. “Everyone had a little they could improve on, but that is normal. Lex and Chelsea dove as their normal competitive selves, but Christina and Carlye both qualified for zones for the first time ever. Raquel (Gonzales) missed it by less than seven points (on 1-meter). It was one of those days that overall was great.”
NAU started the meet by winning the first three events. The ‘Jacks posted a winning time of 1:47.42 in the 200 medley relay, with junior Jori Lindquist, junior Urte Kazakeviciute, Staffeldt and sophomore Roni Houck combining for a season-best time. Senior Kendall Brown then followed with a time of 10:30.93 to win the 1000 free by almost 13 full seconds, before Richter won the first of her two events in the 200 free.
Staffeldt’s pool record effort in the 200 fly followed two Aggie victories in the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke. Houck and junior Hayley Edmond bookended the first diving break with wins in the 50 and 100 free respectively. Houck won the 50 with a season-best time of 24.22 and was followed by freshman Andrea Schmidt in second, while Edmond won the 100 with a time of 53.40 to just edge out Houck for first in that event. Kazakeviciute proceeded to win the 200 breast narrowly with a time of 2:23.42, Richter then won the 500 free and Staffeldt won the 100 fly. To conclude the meet, Brown and sophomore Audrey Mann went two-three in the 200 individual medley and NAU’s quartet of Staffeldt, Edmond, Richter and Houck clocked a season-best time of 3:33.83 to win the 400 free relay.
“We’ve had a couple of weeks of pretty intense training,” Johns said. “We looked a little fresher and it was the first time this season we didn’t need to swim two days in a row and that makes a difference. They also understood that we were facing a quality opponent and to post a quality result, they needed to step up and it was a lot of fun to watch them compete today.”
NAU will travel cross country for its next meet in exactly two weeks on Dec. 19 at Florida Atlantic.
New Mexico State:
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – NM State swimming and diving fell short against defending WAC Champion Northern Arizona in Saturday’s meet, by a score of 178-122.
“In a dual meet against last year’s WAC Champions, every race was going to come down to the finish,” said assistant coach Rachel Judge. “There were a lot of really close races, and they just got to the wall better than we did today. This time of the year is tricky for us with racing, just coming off of a big invite and heading into finals week. I feel really confident in where the team is at the moment, and today’s final score is not really reflective of that.”
In the first event of the day, the 200-yard Medley Relay, the NAU team of Jori Lindquist, Urte Kazakeviciute, Alina Staffeldt and Roni Houch combined for a time of 1:47.42 to win the event. The NM State team of Georgia Brown, Lauren Wood, Dorottya Lennert and Cassandra Rupp finished second with a combined time of 1:47.68. Finishing third was the Aggie team of Lanie McAlpin, Hanna McGowan, Jannah Sonnenschein and Chelsey Reber with a time of 1:49.48.
In the 1000-yard Freestyle, NAU’s Kendall Brown won the event with a time of 10:30.93. NM State’s Nattie French finished second with a time of 10:42.48. Emily Nightingale came in next with a time of 10:45.50. Kenzie Soper finished with a time of 10:52.55.
NAU’s Alina Staffeldt won the 200-yard Butterfly with a time of 2:01.38. Dorottya Lennertfinished second in 2:05.78. Nattie French finished in 2:11.84.
In the 50-yard Freestyle, NAU’s Roni Houck won the event finishing in 24.22. NM State’sChelsey Reber finished third with a time of 25.25. Jannah Sonnenschein finished in 25.38, and Georgia Brown finished in 25.56.
In the 1-meter dive, NAU’s Chelsea Jackson won the event with a score of 306.80. Lauren Reifel finished with a score of 272.90 and Mackinna Hauff finished with a score of 258.90.
NM State’s Cassanda Rupp won the 200-yard Backstroke with a time of 2:06.81. Gabrielle Sanchez finished second in at 2:08.67.
In the 200-yard Breaststroke, NAU’s Urte Kazakeviciute won the event with a time of 2:23.42. NM State’s Lauren Wood and Barbora Krizanova finished second and third in at 2:23.74 and 2:27.90, respectively. Jennifer Brennecke finished in 2:28.33.
In the 100-yard Butterfly, NAU’s Alina Staffeldt beat Dorottya Lennert by 0.43 seconds with a time of 55.69, compared to Lennert’s 56.12. Jannah Sonnenschein finished third with a time of 59.45. Nattie French finished in 1:00.79.
In the 3-meter dive, NAU’s Alexa Geiger won the event with a score of 280.80. Mackinna Hauff finished third with a score of 274.70. Lauren Reifel finished with a 258.90.
In the 400-yard Freestyle Relay, the final event of the day, NAU won the event with a team of Alina Staffeldt, Hayley Edmond, Kimmy Richter and Roni Houck combining for a time of 3:33.83. NM State’s Cassandra Rupp, Cori Molisee, Georgia Brown and Picabo Benderfinished second with a combined time of 3:35.47.
The Aggies are back in action on Jan. 8 as they travel to Tucscon, Ariz. to swim against Arizona and Oregon State.
Swimming news courtesy of Northern Arizona and New Mexico State Swimming & Diving.