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Denison women in second place at NCAC's

Natalie Zaravella  |  Photo by Craig Hicks
Natalie Zaravella | Photo by Craig Hicks

GRANVILLE, Ohio--  Denison won two events on Friday night but dropped to second place in the team standings.  Kenyon leads the Big Red by 81 points with eight events remaining at the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship.  Kenyon has totaled 1,252 points while Denison has amassed 1,171 points.

In December at the Miami Invitational, Denison sophomore KT Kustritz set a new national record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.52.  She didn't top that on Friday night but she did break the NCAC record set by Kenyon's Julia Wilson last year with her time of 1:01.74.  That marked the fourth individual NCAC title for Kustritz and her second-straight win in the 100 breast. 

Kate Mesaros was the runner-up in the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.38 while Ellen Higdon (1:05.16), Elle Stevens (1:05.45) and Gabriella Nutter (1:06.12) went 4-5-6 in the event.

Denison's other event title came from sophomore Natalie Zaravella in the 400 IM.  She logged her first conference title with a time of 4:26.71, just off her season-best time of 4:25.42 set earlier this season.  Halli Garza finished fifth in 4:32.95 and Bridget Horton took seventh in 4:37.36.

The Big Red's night got off to a rough start when the 200 medley relay team was disqualified for leaving early on the final exchange.  That allowed Kenyon to rack up 70 unanswered points and take the team lead.

Three DU swimmers finished in the top-5 of the 100 butterfly, led by Maddie Hopkins' runner-up finish.  Hopkins posted a 'B' cut of 55.81 in prelims and followed that with a 56.10 in the finals to place second.  Zoe Whelan took fourth in 56.78 and Angela Le was fifth in 57.04 after a 'B' cut of 56.40 in prelims.

In the 200 free, Logan Wickman logged an All-NCAC finish by taking third with a season-best 'B' cut of 1:52.92.  Mia Chiappe followed right behind in 1:53.50.  After the 200 free, DU trailed by 203 points but continued to chip away at the Ladies with strong showings in the 100 breast and 100 backstroke.

In the 100 back, Casey Kirby, Le, and Jacquelyn Kurkjian went 2-3-4 in the event.  Kirby was the defending champion in the event. She posted a time of 56.90, falling to Kenyon's Caitlin Foley by .83. Le posted an all-conference swim by finishing in 57.21 and Kurkjian turned in a time of 57.32. 

On Saturday, the 2018 NCAC Championship will wrap-up with the 1,650 free, 100 IM, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, 3-meter diving and the 400 free relay. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. followed by finals at 6:30 p.m.

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