The Canisius College swimming and diving teams each finished third at this year’s MAAC Championships, which concluded Saturday night. The women racked up 535 points – the most in program history – en route to their highest finish ever. The men recorded 535 points (0.5 points more than in 2013).
The Marist women (801 points) and Rider men (735 points) each successfully defended last year’s titles. In addition, Canisius College first-year diving coach Ian O’Rourke was awarded MAAC Diving Coach of the Year.
The Griff women began the day in fourth place, but with the help of a a victory from sophomore Alicia Wheeler in the 200-yard butterfly, Canisius was in prime position to secure its best finish ever in the women’s 800-freestyle relay.
The Blue and Gold proved they were up to the task by taking third in the event.
“They came in with a mentality that they wanted to go and compete as a team and get the most out of what they could do,” said head coach Scott Vanderzell. “They came into today and knew where they were at and that every race counted, and they raced. Even on the diving boards – those points mattered a lot – and ultimately it came down to that last relay and they did it.”
Wheeler became the fifth Griff to win a MAAC Championship over the course of the weekend, with sophomore Spencer Bray winning the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday and the 1000-yard freestyle on Friday, junior Marissa Oakey also winning the 500-free, and junior Eddie Quarantillo winning the 3-meter dive.
In addition to Wheeler, the women got points from having five swimmers in Championship Finals on Saturday night. Sophomore Clare Battaglia opened with a fourth place finish in the 200-yard backstroke (2:05.58), and a fifth place finish from freshman Hannah Graesser in the 100-yard freestyle (52.29). Senior Kelli Graber would finish 10th in the event.
Freshman Marissa Watroba put up a time of 2:26.31 and finished seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke. Junior Sara Nungesser joined Wheeler on the podium in the 200-yard butterfly, taking sixth.
In the final individual event of the meet, sophomore Audrey Mulhisen finished sixth in the 3-meter dive and junior Taylor Epstein took ninth.
On the men’s side, the Griffs were led by Bray, who added a bronze in the 1650-yard freestyle to his two golds of the meet. Senior Corey Petrie finished sixth in the event, junior Sean Wurster took ninth and freshman Michael Berg took 11th.
The men also got points from the 400-yard IM, which saw freshman Wyatt Sintay and junior Sam Hansen finish fifth and sixth respectively.
The men would close out the meet with a fourth place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay.
Wheeler Wins a MAAC Championship on Day Three
Courtesy: Canisius College Athletics