The North Carolina Collegiate Classic Kickoff (that’s what East Carolina calls it – NC State refers to it as the “All-North Carolina Invite”) featured 14 women’s and 11 men’s teams from across the state of North Carolina, with the big exception being the absence of the University of North Carolina.
There was still plenty of exciting action,as in both meets, North Carolina State took surprisingly-small margins of victory ahead of East Carolina. Note that, in part, that came from East Carolina dominating the diving scoring – with 32 points for event winners, 28 for runners-up, 27 for 3rd, and so-on, having a few extra divers can result in huge scoring swings.
The Wolfpack, swimming at this meet without their top sprinter sophomore Riki Bonnema, won the women’s 200 free relay in the first swimming event of the meet with a 1:33.72. That’s four-tenths of a second faster than the Meet Record they set last year, including fantastic final two legs of 22.88 from junior Lauren Poli and 22.96 from Zina Grogg.
Among the best races of the entire meet was the women’s 200 IM. There Ashlyn Koletic from NC State and Bailie Monahan from East Carolina, both sophomores, were in basically a dead heat for all 200 yards of this race, and that’s where they finished: tied for the win in 2:06.91.
The Wolfpack took the top three spots in the women’s 50 free, led by the junior Poli in 23.34, but on day two in the 100 free, it was Duke freshman Maddie Rusch who had their brightest spot: taking the victory in 51.40.
Rusch won her only other individual event of the meet, the 100 fly, in 56.08: finishing just ahead of Monahan and Queens’ Hannah Peiffer, who was a 56.47. That time for Peiffer appears to be the fastest in the country this season in Division II.
The biggest upset on the first day of this two-day meet in Greensboro came in the women’s 400 medley relay. There, East Carolina swam a 3:48.68 to beat NC State by over two seconds, and doing so in a relay with a freshman and two sophomores. That’s an NC State relay that qualified for NCAA’s last year, and graduated only one swimmer, their anchor (though they swam a very young relay as well – three freshmen and a junior).
The Duke women were the winners of the 200 medley relay, thanks in part to their ace breaststroker Christine Wixted. She split 28.60 on that medley, and also won the individual 100 breast in 1:04.03, and the 200 in 2:19.75.
Other highlights for East Carolina included in the 200 fly, where they went 1-2-3 led by the sophomore Monahan in 2:03.15. That’s about three seconds better than she was to begin her rookie campaign at this meet a year ago, where she really pushed her transition from sprinter to all-around butterflier.
On the men’s side, the Wolfpack started off well with the top three relays in the 200 medley relay. That included a winner of 1:22.54. That included a 20.20 split from senior Jonathan Boffa, their top swimmer, on the second leg.
NC State will be relying on some freshmen sprinters this year, as they had three freshmen between their A-and-B 200 free relays.
Boffa was the star of this meet; in addition to that 200 free relay, he anchored the Wolfpack 400 medley relay to a win with a 44.39, was a 20.23 on the end of the 200 medley relay, was a 43.92 on the winning 400 free relay, and topped the 200 free individually in a new Meet Record of 1:39.18.
Division II Wingate earned a breakthrough on the men’s side, where senior Olympian Marko Blazevski from Macedonia won the 200 fly in 1:52.01, topping North Carolina State’s John Newell, who took 2nd in 1:52.42. Newell got the win in the shorter 100 fly with a 50.32.
Duke, who has a lot of very good freshmen butterfliers saw two of them go 3-4: Kazumu Takabayashi in 51.36, and Dylan Payne in 51.39.
Also in that 100 fly, Division II Pfeiffer University’s Dima Turkin, just a freshman, tied for 6th in 51.60. Turkin was part of a Pfeiffer record onslaught in two days, where they broke 8 program bests (read about all 8 here), including individual records from Turkin in the 100 back (51.22) for 2nd and in the 50 free (21.25) for 4th.
1. North Carolina State University 1566
2. East Carolina University 1464.5
3. Davidson College 920.5
4. Wingate University 752
5. Duke University 737
6. Campbell University 687
7. Gardner-Webb University 636
8. Queens University of Charlotte 478
9. Catawba College 256
10. Univ North Carolina Asheville 226
11. Pfeiffer University 115
12. North Carolina A&T State University 82
13. Greensboro College 64
14. St. Andrews University 8
1. North Carolina State University 1449.5
2. East Carolina University 1360
3. Wingate University 872
4. Davidson College 810
5. Duke University 677.5
6. Gardner-Webb University 614.5
7. Pfeiffer University 556
8. Queens University of Charlotte 442
9. St. Andrews University 394
10. Catawba College 363.5
11. Greensboro College 115
Full meet results available here.