Army Starts Strong At PL Championships

Molly Mucciarone (center) and Grace Hamilton (left) on the podium after placing first and third, respectively, in the 50 free.

Molly Mucciarone (center) and Grace Hamilton (left) on the podium after placing first and third, respectively, in the 50 free.

Feb. 21, 2013

Results

LEWISBURG, Pa. - Senior Chris Nguyen cruised to victory in the three-meter diving event, freshman Molly Mucciarone won the 50-yard freestyle and both squads shattered school records in the 200-yard freestyle relay as the Army swimming and diving teams wrapped up a productive first day of competition at the Patriot League Championships Thursday evening at Kinney Natatorium.

The Army men are in second place following Day One as the Black Knights have accumulated 205 points and sit only behind Navy (303 points) in the team standings. Bucknell (170.5 points) is in third place, followed by Lehigh (142.5), Colgate (69), American (52), Holy Cross (50) and Lafayette (32).

The Black Knight women, meanwhile, reside in fourth place in the team standings after piling up 142 points on the opening day of competition. Navy (223 points) leads on the women's side, followed by Colgate (167) and Bucknell (154). Lehigh (96), Holy Cross (48), Lafayette (36) and American (25) round out the bottom half of the eight-team field.

Nguyen, the reigning two-time Male Diver of the Meet, began his run toward a third consecutive sweep of the diving events by placing first off the three-meter board with a season-best score of 381.25 points. Army dominated the competition, sweeping the top three positions. Sophomore Zachary Woods finished runner-up with 303.05 points and senior Chad Drake finished third (294.45).

The quartet of freshman Chris Szekely, sophomore Michael Dustin, junior Kenny Yacynych and senior Dan Foky got Army off to a strong start as the foursome opened the evening session by placing runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The group made Academy history in the process, touching the wall in 1 minute, 21.06 seconds and eclipsing the previous school standard, which had been on the books since 1990.

Dustin went on to win the consolation final and place ninth overall in the 50-yard freestyle, posting the ninth-fastest time in Army history (20.71). Foky finished right behind Dustin in 10th place with the 10th-best time in Academy annals (20.72).

Freshman Sam Mo authored an eighth-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley with a clocking of 1:54.22. Mo shattered his own plebe record and moved into second place on Army's all-time ledger with his time of 1:50.94 in the preliminaries. Senior Ayman Andrews added a 10th-place showing in the 200 IM, touching the wall in 1:52.44.

Sophomore Casey Woudenberg led the Black Knights in the 500-yard freestyle, winning the consolation final and placing ninth overall with the fourth-fastest clocking in Army history (4:29.12). Szekely (4:31.80), junior Daniel Ruckman (4:32.01) and sophomore Will Viana (4:33.63) also excelled in the 500 free, placing 10th, 12th and 13th, respectively.

The Black Knight men closed the evening by finishing runner-up in the 400-yard medley relay as the quartet of Yacynych, sophomore Joon Chung, Andrews and Szekely clocked a time of 3:18.68.

Mucciarone's memorable night began when she teamed with junior Grace Hamilton, sophomore Haileigh Phillips and junior Juliette Wallerstein to win the 200-yard freestyle relay with an Academy-record clocking of 1:33.00. It marked the first triumph for the Army women in the event at the conference meet since winning it four years in a row from 1998-2001.

Mucciarone went on to achieve individual glory in the 50 free, becoming the first Army woman since Heidi Borden in 2001 to win the event at the Patriot League Championships. She took gold in style by shattering her own Academy record with a clocking of 23.03.

Hamilton (23.48) and Phillips (23.84) also produced top-15 finishes in the 50 free, placing third and 11th, respectively. Phillips' clocking ranks as the sixth-best in Army history.

Freshman Shannon Rogers chipped in a 12th-place effort in the 500 free, touching the wall in the fourth-best time in school history (4:58.86). Sophomores Kristen Barta (5:00.15) and Audrey Brown (5:07.20) placed 13th and 16th, respectively, in that event.

Freshman Natalie Beale won the consolation final and placed ninth overall in the 200-yard individual medley, clocking a time of 2:06.08. Junior Lara Stouffer (2:07.29) and sophomore Kelsey Rebelez (2:09.22) also scored points for the Black Knights in the 200 IM, placing 10th and 13th, respectively.

The Army women finished the evening by placing fourth in the 400-yard medley relay as the foursome of Beale, Barta, Mucciarone and Hamilton clocked a time of 3:49.27.

Army continues competition at the Patriot League Championships on Friday, Feb. 22. The preliminaries are slated for 10:30 a.m., while finals are set for 6 p.m.

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