Battle for WAC Title Still Close for Both Men and Women After Day Two

by Samuel Wood 0

February 27th, 2014 College, News



Day two of the Western Athletic Conference Championships saw the UNLV male sprinters catapult the Rebels into first place and the Northern Arizona women protect their first place position following day one.  While the Rebels may be in the lead for the men, Wyoming trails them by a slim margin of just seven points.  The Northern Arizona women face a similar situation, leading Idaho by just seven points.

Summary (Men):


Mitchell Huxhold of Cal State Bakersfield started the night off with a victory in the 500 free, dropping a 4:17.40.  His MAC title winning time was just .27 off the record he set earlier in prelims. Huxhold’s prelim swim may just earn him an invite to NCAA’s. North Dakota freshman Noah Lucas took a second place finish at 4:21.27, good enough for an NCAA “B” standard. Another freshman, Air Force’s Andrew Faciszewski, finished third at 4:22.83.

The men’s 200 IM saw Grand Canyon University’s Iegor Lytvenok take the top spot on the podium with a time of 1:44.84. Adam Kalms out of Wyoming put down a runner-up time of 1:45.14 and UNLV junior Giacomo Gremizzi took a third place finish at 1:45.44.  Five swimmers in the A-Final took home NCAA “B” standards.

The UNLV freshman duo of Dillon Virva and Tom Paco-Pedroni went one-two in the men’s 50 free, with Virva taking down Cullen Jones’ (current 50 M free American record holder) pool record in the process.  Virva’s time of 19.11 was an NCAA “A” standard and ranks him among the top in the country heading into NCAA’s.  Paco-Pedroni touched in 19.63, which would have earned him an invite to NCAA’s last year and could be enough for 2014.  Michael Branning of GCU took third in 19.77.  The UNLV Rebels managed to pack four swimmers into the A-final, three of them being freshman.

UNLV’s sprinting prowess showed itself yet again in the men’s 200 free relay, with the Rebels taking down the WAC record with a time of 1:17.47.  The young squad, sporting just one junior (Gui Passos, 19.45) and three freshman (Tom Paco-Pedroni 19.98, Samuel Lameynardie 19.20, Dillon Virva 19.16), achieved an NCAA “A” cut in the process.  GCU finished in second at 1:18.33, just missing an “A” cut by .2 seconds. Wyoming finished in third at 1:19.55.

Summary (Women):

CSUB’s Michaela Paige took home the first individual swimming title for the women, winning the 500 free in 4:48.90.  Northern Arizona’s Emma Lowther followed in second with a 4:51.29.  Rounding out third was Paige’s CSUB teammate Delise Batiza, who finished in 4:53.34.

Rachel Millet of Idaho snagged herself a first place finish in the 200 IM with a time of 1:59.60.  Grand Canyon freshman Hannah Kastigar earned a second place finish of 2:00.68, while Northern Arizona’s Jordan Burnes took third in 2:02.65.  Both Millet and Kastigar earned NCAA “B” cuts for their efforts.

In the women’s 50 free, Erica Anderson of Idaho took the MAC title in 23.08.  Grand Canyon freshman Jovanna Koens snagged a runner-up position with a time of 23.21 and North Dakota’s Courtney Funk came in third at 23.62, just barely edging Idaho’s Megan Venlos who finished fourth in 23.63. Idaho had three top-eight finishers (add Kirah Monks: 7th, 23.99)

The final event of the night saw a tight race between Grand Canyon and Idaho for the 200 free relay MAC crown.  The Grand Canyon quartet of Rebecca Coan, Catherine Polito, Hannah Kastigar and Jovanna Koens would prove victorious, finishing in 1:32.14. Idaho was just behind in 1:32.38 and Bakersfield took bronze in 1:33.20.

Final Scores (Men): 

1. UNLV: 274

2. Wyoming: 267

3. Air Force: 241

4. North Dakota: 201

5. Grand Canyon: 199

6. Bakersfield: 163

7. Seattle U: 72

Final Scores (Women):

1. Northern Arizona: 273

2. Idaho: 267

3. New Mexico State: 204

4. Bakersfield: 196

5. Grand Canyon: 182

6. North Dakota: 169

7. Northern Colorado: 124

8. Seattle U: 68

Day three prelims will begin at 10:00 AM with finals following at 6:00 PM.

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About Samuel Wood

Samuel Wood swam club and high school for 12 years,  choosing not to pursue a college career for academic reasons. He is a junior at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where he studies political science and journalism.  In the summer months Samuel is an instructor at Miller Aquatics in Homer, Illinois where …

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