Feb. 23, 2013
LEWISBURG, Pa. -
Senior Chris Nguyen completed his third consecutive sweep of the diving events by winning the one-meter competition, and four more Academy records fell as the Army swimming and diving teams wrapped up competition at the Patriot League Championships Saturday evening at Kinney Natatorium.
The Army men placed second in the team standings for the second time in three seasons as the Black Knights finished with 734 points. It marks Army's highest point total since racking up 771 markers in 2007. Navy cruised to its 10th straight title as the Midshipmen piled up 995.5 points. Host Bucknell finished third with 543.5 points, followed by Lehigh (393.5 points). American (270), Colgate (189), Lafayette (178) and Holy Cross (133.5) rounded out the bottom half of the standings.
The Army men, who produced 10 top-five finishes, shattered three Academy records on the final night of competition. The effort turned in by the men's squad helped seventh-year head coach Mickey Wender earn Men's Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career.
"To be recognized by my peers with this honor is truly special, but this award will be shared by the entire staff," said Wender. "I can't say enough about the contributions of Ron Kontura, Eric Bugby, Amanda Croix and Jack Leavitt. They do a tremendous job of helping lead this team on a daily basis and my hat goes off to each of them."
The Black Knight women, meanwhile, finished in fourth place for the second consecutive year after posting their highest point total (542) since racking up 590.5 markers in 2001. Navy (836 points) captured its second straight title on the women's side, edging runner-up Bucknell (670) and third-place Colgate (655) for the team crown. Lehigh finished fifth with 312 points, followed by Lafayette (185), Holy Cross (120) and American (117).
Sophomore Kristen Barta broke the Academy record in the 200-yard breaststroke, and freshman Molly Mucciarone shattered the Army plebe standard in the 100-yard freestyle to spark the Black Knight women.
"I am just so proud of both teams after the way they performed this weekend," said Wender. "I thought everyone competed hard throughout. I can't say enough about the leadership provided by the seniors this year. This group of seniors has taken our program to another level and transformed the culture. It was great to see so many of them go out in style with lifetime best performances tonight. As proud as I am of them for their accomplishments in the pool, I'm even more proud of what they've done in the classroom and within the corps over the past four years."
Nguyen, who was named Patriot League Male Diver of the Meet for the third consecutive season, became just the third diver in conference history to sweep both boards in three straight championship meets. The fourth-year standout cruised to the conference title off the one-meter board, racking up 359.10 points.
"Chris capped an amazing career here tonight, and I am so proud and impressed with what he was able to accomplish over his four years at West Point," said Wender. "He overcame a lot of adversity to become such a talented and consistent diver. Chris also developed into a good leader of the other divers, and helped to elevate that program to where it is today."
Senior Ayman Andrews broke his own school standard in the 200-yard butterfly, touching the wall in 1 minute, 47.13 seconds to place third. Freshman Alex Dempsey eclipsed his own Academy mark in the 200-yard backstroke in the preliminaries (1:49.31) before finishing fifth in the finals (1:49.89).
The Black Knights closed the evening session by breaking the 23-year-old Academy record in the 400-yard freestyle relay as the foursome of freshman Chris Szekely, sophomore Michael Dustin, freshman Adam Sjoholm and senior Dan Foky placed runner-up with a clocking of 2:59.38.
Army dominated the competition off the one-meter diving board, taking four of the top five positions. Sophomore Zachary Woods (321.20 points), sophomore Josh Urnezis (303.80) and senior Chad Drake (294.65) joined Nguyen on the podium, placing third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Black Knights saw similar success in the 100-yard freestyle, placing five swimmers within the top 15. Szekely swam to a second-place showing as the first-year standout broke his own plebe record and touched the wall in the fourth-best time in Academy history (45.01). Foky finished third in the 100 free (45.28) after authoring the ninth-fastest time in Army history in the preliminaries (45.24). Dustin (45.73), Sjoholm (45.52) and junior Kenny Yacynych (46.73) placed seventh, 10th and 15th in that event.
Freshman Colin Kanzari established an Army plebe record in the 200-yard breaststroke, clocking the third-fastest time in Academy history during the preliminaries (2:01.77). He went on to take sixth in the finals. Freshman Sam Mo placed seventh in the 200 breast (2:02.77) after recording the fifth-best time in Army history during the preliminaries (2:02.31). Sophomore Joon Chung was ninth in that event, posting the sixth-fastest time in Academy history (2:02.41) Junior Ben Quay placed 10th with the seventh-best time in Army history (2:02.66). Senior Carter Kelly took 11th in the 200 breast with the eighth-best time in Academy history (2:02.67).
Sophomore Casey Woudenberg turned in a seventh-place effort in the 1,650-yard freestyle, clocking the fifth-best time in program history (15:51.19). Freshman Richard Xue added a ninth-place showing in the mile (16:01.84), while sophomore Will Viana chipped in a sixth-place finish in the 200 back (1:50.01).
Barta won the consolation final and placed ninth overall in the 200-yard breaststroke, eclipsing the 22-year-old Academy record with a time of 2:20.04. Mucciarone, meanwhile, placed sixth in the 100-yard freestyle after clocking the second-fastest time in Army history (51.16). The clocking also broke the Academy plebe mark.
"Kristen is extremely coachable, and I have always been impressed with her ability to adjust between prelims and finals," said Wender. "That special skill was on display tonight as she went out and swam a terrific race in the finals of the 200 breast.
"Molly is just incredibly talented, and she has this uncanny ability to always be at her best on the big stage," added Wender. "She is already looking ahead to next season, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her."
The Army women excelled in the 100 free as juniors Grace Hamilton (51.19) and Juliette Wallerstein (52.91) finished seventh and 14th, respectively. Hamilton's time ranks as the third-fastest in Army history.
Three Army divers made the finals in the three-meter competition with juniors Breawna Davis (232.35), Rita Snyder (231.90) and Danielle Ullman (214.30) placing fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively.
Freshman Shannon Rogers led a strong showing for the Black Knights in the 200-yard butterfly, placing sixth (2:05.21) after recording the third-best time in Academy history during the preliminaries (2:05.03). Sophomore Kelsey Rebelez (2:08.25), sophomore Kristina Muller (2:09.78) and freshman Ally Walz (2:11.73) also scored points in the 200 fly, placing 11th, 13th and 14th, respectively. Rebelez's time lists 10th all-time at Army.
Freshman Natalie Beale led Army's contingent in the 200-yard backstroke, placing eighth with a clocking of 2:03.44. Sophomore Keeli McNeary (2:03.03) and junior Lara Stouffer (2:06.48) finished 11th and 15th, respectively, in the 200 back.
Sophomore Audrey Brown paced Army in the 1,650-yard freestyle, finishing ninth with a time of 17:31.25. Freshmen Kate Kinley (17:42.31) and Jen Clay (18:00.55) placed 10th and 13th, respectively, in the mile.
Elsewhere, sophomore Sam Allen chipped in a 12th-place showing in the 200 breast, touching the wall in 2:23.14.
Army closed the evening with a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay as the quartet of Hamilton, Mucciarone, Wallerstein and Barta combined to clock a time of 3:28.93.
Meet Notes: Mickey Wender also won Men's Coach of the Year following the 2007 Patriot League Championships.