February 14, 2015

Grove City rallies for 7th straight conference title

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College women's swimming and diving team captured its seventh straight Presidents' Athletic Conference championship Saturday night by rallying past archrival Westminster during the final night of action at the James E. Longnecker Invitational/Presidents' Athletic Conference Championships. Grove City finished with 808.5 team points while Westminster had 802.

Grove City trailed by as many as 23 points Saturday evening and trailed by 1.5 points entering the final event, the 400 free relay. Grove City's quartet of senior Lauren Cassano (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township), senior Tori Baker (Fairfax, Va./Robinson), sophomore Megan Smith (Tyler, Texas/Kolbe Academy) and sophomore Abby Jank (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) gave the Wolverines the conference title by winning the 400 free relay in 3 minutes, 31.62 seconds.

Smith earned the Invitational's Most Valuable Performer award after winning three total events during the meet (400 IM, 500, 1650). Head coach Dave Fritz earned Invitational Coach of the Year distinction.

Cassano and Smith both earned individual victories Saturday night. Cassano won the 200 backstroke in 2:07.10 while Smith opened Saturday night's finals with a winning time of 17:27.11 in the 1650. Smith's time surpasses the NCAA Championships provisional qualifying standard.

Jank earned second in the 100 free (52.73) while sophomore Amanda Hutzelmann (Milford, Pa./Homeschooled) took second in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:08.12. Hutzelmann provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 200 fly with her performance. Freshman Sarah Blodgett (Bidwell, Ohio/River Valley) earned runner-up honors in the 1650 (17:51.85).

Baker tied for third in the 100 free (53.14) while senior Keegan Reed (Greencastle, Pa./James Buchanan) finished third in the 200 breaststroke (2:27.02). Sophomore Madison Van Dyke (Fleming Island, Fla./Fleming Island) earned fourth in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:09.46.

Junior Carolyn Eckendorf (Fairview, Pa./Fairview) took fifth in 1-meter diving with 378.10 points. Eckendorf placed one spot ahead of sophomore Grace Klimek (Oakdale, Pa./South Fayette), who recorded a sixth-place score of 374.20 points.

Grove City has now won 13 all-time conference titles.

Team Standings
1. Grove City College              808.5   2. Westminster College               802
3. Washington & Jefferson College    446   4. Saint Vincent College           425.5
5. Chatham University                287   6. Penn State Behrend                253
7. Bethany College                   184   8. Cabrini College                   134
9. Franciscan University of Steub    104  10. Penn State Altoona                 94
11. Univ of Pittsburgh at Bradford    92


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