February 15, 2014

Grove City captures 6th straight title

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College women's swimming and diving team earned its unprecedented sixth straight Presidents' Athletic Conference championship Saturday night by pulling out a 60-point victory over runner-up Westminster in the James E. Longnecker Invitational/Presidents' Athletic Conference Championships.

Grove City finished the three-day event with 854 team points while Westminster took second with 794.

Sophomore Megan Bilko (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) earned the Invitational's Most Valuable Performer and conference MVP recognition after winning three individual events at the Invitational. She secured her third win of the meet Saturday night by winning the 1650 in 17 minutes, 8.42 seconds. Bilko set a pool record in that event and also provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 1650.

Overall, four Grove City swimmers earned individual wins in Saturday's finals. Junior Lauren Cassano (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) won the 200 backstroke in a provisional qualifying time of 2:05.32. Meanwhile, junior Tori Baker (Fairfax, Va./Robinson) won the 100 free in 52.85 seconds.

Junior Keegan Reed (Greencastle, Pa./James Buchanan) captured the 200 breaststroke in 2:27.43, edging senior teammate Kaley Hess (Reamstown, Pa./Cocalico) by .03 seconds.

Cassano, Baker, Bilko and freshman Abby Jank (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) closed the meet by winning the 400 free relay in 3:30.78. That time provisionally qualifies the quartet for the NCAA Championships.

Sophomore Carolyn Eckendorf (Fairview, Pa./Fairview) took second in 3-meter diving with 464.65 points.

Freshman Madison Van Dyke (Fleming Island, Fla./Fleming Island) earned third in the 200 backstroke (2:08.34) while classmate Amanda Hutzelmann (Milford, Pa./Homeschooled) earned third in the 200 butterfly (2:09.50). Jank took fourth in the 100 free (53.80) while Reed earned fourth place with a time of 18:13.80 in the 1650.

Freshman Bekah Wheat (Dillsburg, Pa./Northern) took fifth place in the 1650 (18:15.52).

Head coach Dave Fritz earned the conference's Coach of the Year award after guiding Grove City to its 12th conference title in the last 23 years.

Team Standings
1. Grove City College                  854   2. Westminster College                 794
3. Saint Vincent College               526   4. Washington & Jefferson College      407
5. Chatham University                  257   6. Bethany College                     203
7. Cabrini College                     149   8. Franciscan University of Steub      142
9. Penn State Behrend                  128  10. Univ of Pittsburgh at Bradford      111
11. Penn State Altoona                  78

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