NAU Women, Air Force Men Maintain Leads After Day 3 at WAC Champs

Western Athletic Conference (WAC) – Men and Women

  • Wednesday, February 24 – Saturday, February 27, 2016
  • CRWC Natatorium, Houston, TX (Central Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: UNLV men (2x) & Northern Arizona women (2x) (results)
  • Live results:
  • Live video: Available here
  • Championship Central

Day One resultsDay Two resultsDay Three results

Day Three of the Western Athletic Conference Championships was even more exciting than the two previous days in the team races on both the women’s and men’s sides of the meet. The Grand Canyon women had a huge day and leapt up to fifth. The Lopes are now in position to challenge Idaho and Bakersfield for third heading into the final day of competition in Houston. Northern Arizona is firmly in the lead and New Mexico State looks to be well positioned to finish second.

Air Force and Wyoming traded leads back and forth in the men’s meet but by the end of Day Three the Falcons were in control. Grand Canyon and Las Vegas are nipping at Wyoming’s heels and any one of the three of them could finish second. It will all come down to Saturday’s results.

Meanwhile, here is what transpired on Friday.

400 Yard IM

  1. Estela Davis Ortiz, GCU, 4:16.14
  2. Kendall Brown, NAU, 4:20.12
  3. Monica Pruett, NAU, 4:24.40

Grand Canyon sophomore Estela Davis Ortiz cruised to an easy win in the women’s 400 IM, winning by more than 4 seconds with 4:16.14. Teammates Kendall Brown and Monica Pruett of Northern Arizona, both seniors, repeated their second- and third-place finishes of 2015 going 4:20.12 and 4:24.40, respectively. This was a big event for both New Mexico State and Idaho women.

  1. Ryan Nelson, Wyoming, 3:47.04
  2. Wade Nelson, Wyoming, 3:47.53
  3. Andrew Faciszewski, Air Force, 3:49.45

Wyoming finished 1-2-5-8 to move within a point of Air Force, which was an exciting way to start the session. Ryan Nelson and his brother Wade Nelson led the Cowboys’ efforts with the leading times of 3:47.04 and 3:47.53. Air Force junior Andrew Faciszewski kept the Falcons in the game with a third-place finish of 3:49.45.

100 Yard Butterfly

  1. Dorottya Lennert, NMSU, 52.96
  2. Alina Staffeldt, NAU, 53.83
  3. Emily Kliewer, Idaho, 55.22

New Mexico State senior Dorottya Lennert followed up on her 200 IM victory from Thursday night with a win in the 100 fly in 52.96. Lennert beat defending champion Alina Staffeldt (53.83) of Northern Arizona by nearly a full second. Idaho again moved up on the competition with its strong results in the 100 fly: freshman Emily Kliewer was third with 55.22, just ahead of classmate Vivian Crow (55.29). Crow touched out Jannah Sonnenschein of NM State by 1/100 and helped the Vandals move past Bakersfield in the team standings.

  1. Pasha Semochkin, UNLV, 46.46
  2. Daniil Antipov, GCU, 46.72
  3. Dillon Virva, UNLV, 47.24

With three finishers in the top-8, including two on the podium, Las Vegas halved the distance between itself and third-place Grand Canyon after the 100 fly.

Pasha Semochkin got the win in 46.46, while defending champion, senior Dillon Virva, earned the bronze medal for the Rebels with 47.24. Grand Canyon Daniil Antipov finished between them with 46.72 for second. Wyoming’s two “A” finalists allowed the Cowboys to slip past Air Force into the top team position.

200 Yard Freestyle

  1. Michaela Paige, CSUB, 1:47.73
  2. Kelsey Lange, CSUB, 1:49.18
  3. Claire Hammond, NAU, 1:49.39

The 200 free proved to be a big event for Bakersfield. The Roadrunners scored 1-2-4 and moved back into third in the team race. 2014 champion Michaela Paige was back on top this year with 1:47.47, a huge improvement on her eighth-place 1:54.39 of last year. Defending champion Kelsey Lange was 7/10 off her winning pace from last year with a second-place 1:49.18. Norther Arizona’s Claire Hammond almost caught Lange over the final 50 yards but had to settle for third with 1:49.39.

  1. Aaron Chanas-LaRue, UND, 1:36.30
  2. Jordan Dahle, AFA, 1:36.35
  3. Jack Herron, Wyoming, 1:36.39

The most exciting final of the night might just have been the men’s 200 free, in which the top three all touched with 1/10. North Dakota senior Aaron Chanas-LaRue, who tied for 13th last year, out-touched the field for the 2016 title with 1:36.30. Air Force junior Jordan Dahle helped put the Falcons back on top by edging Wyoming freshman Jack Herron, 1:36.35 to 1:36.39 for second. Air Force also scored at fourth with senior Kevin Jackson (1:36.90).

100 Yard Breaststroke

  1. Blaise Wittenauer-Lee, Seattle, 1:01.89
  2. Steph Frey, UND, 1:02.18
  3. Dylana Milobar, CSUB, 1:02.55

2015 runner-up, Seattle junior Blaise Wittenauer-Lee, moved to the top of the podium this year with 1:01.89, the only sub-1:02 in the field. North Dakota junior Steph Frey claimed second place with 1:02.18, while Bakersfield’s Dylana Milobar held off a fast-charging Urte Kazakeviciute of Northern Arizona, 1:02.55 to 1:02.56, to earn the bronze.

  1. Michael Barnosky, AFA, 51.98
  2. Gabriel Rooker, Wyoming, 53.17
  3. Youssef El Kamash, GCU, 53.35

Defending champion Michael Barnosky not only successfully repeated his 2015 title in the men’s 100 breast, but he did it in a spectacular fashion. Barnosky broke the meet and conference records, clocking an NCAA “A” cut of 51.98. Wyoming freshman Gabriel Rooker went 53.17 for second, just ahead of Grand Canyon junior Yousef El Kamash (53.35).

100 Yard Backstroke

  1. Estela Davis Ortiz, GCU, 54.16
  2. Iryna Glavnyk, GCU, 54.41
  3. Valeria Mihhailova, N. Colorado, 55.46

Grand Canyon went 1-2 in the 100 back behind sophomore Estela Davis Ortiz (54.16) and junior Iryna Glavnyk (54.41). It was Davis Ortiz’s second win of the day after the 400 IM. Sophomore Valeria Mihhailova of Northern Colorado completed the podium with her 55.46.

  1. Mark Nikolaev, GCU, 46.30
  2. Pavel Semochkin, UNLV, 46.72
  3. Devon Davis, AFA, 47.96

Grand Canyon graced the top of the men’s podium in the 100 back as well, with freshman Mark Nikolaev clocking a 46.30 for the win. Las Vegas freshman Pavel Semochkin was just behind, touching in 46.72 for the silver medal. Devon Davis of Air Force led a 3-4-5 Falcons finish that put much distance between them and Wyoming in the team standings.

Men’s Platform Diving

  1. Lucas James, UNLV, 344.80
  2. Nathanael Zillweger, AFA, 317.05
  3. AJ Eckebrecht, AFA, 293.25

UNLV’s James Lucas established a new meet and conference record when he won the men’s platform diving event with 344.80 points. Air Force senior Nathanael Zillweger moved from fifth last year to second with a final total of 317.05 points. His teammate, junior AJ Eckebrecht, scored 293.25 points for third.

400 Yard Medley Relay

  1. CSUB, 3:41.85
  2. GCU, 3:43.10
  3. Idaho, 3:44.57

Bakersfield won the women’s 400 medley relay with 3:41.85, ahead of Grand Canyon and Idaho, to finish Day Three in third place in the team standings. Both Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado relays were DQd.

  1. GCU, 3:08.80
  2. AFA, 3:10.40
  3. UNLV, 3:10.47

Grand Canyon set a meet and conference record, beating UNLV’s 2014 mark by 3/100 to win the men’s 400 medley relay. Mark Nikolaev (46.37), Youssef El Kamash (53.37), Daniil Antipov (46.35), and Mazen El Kamash (42.71) combined for 3:08.80 for the win. Air Force edged UNLV, 3:10.40 to 3:10.47, for second place.

Women’s Standings

  1. Northern Arizona University 546.5
  2. New Mexico State University 337
  3. C S U Bakersfield 324
  4. Idaho, University of 308
  5. Grand Canyon University 306
  6. The University of North Dakota 236.5
  7. Northern Colorado 191.5
  8. Seattle University 176.5

Men’s Standings

  1. U.S. Air Force Academy 554
  2. Wyoming, University of 487
  3. Grand Canyon University 466
  4. University of Nevada, Las Vegas 422
  5. The University of North Dakota 268
  6. C S U Bakersfield 236
  7. Seattle University 127







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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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