Seven in a Row: Phoenix Women Win Horizon League Title
CLEVELAND, Ohio (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay women's swimming and diving team secured its seventh consecutive Horizon League championship Saturday night in Cleveland, racking up 788.5 points over the four-day meet at the Busbey Natatorium on the campus of Cleveland State. The Phoenix men's squad ended the 2011 championship meet with a fifth-place finish, accumulating 481 points.
"The women's victory was a case of having great depth," Phoenix head coach Jim Merner said. "They performed very well, they worked really hard throughout the year and they understand what winning is all about. They aspire to continue to win, and I'm very pleased with what they were able to achieve."
The Phoenix women finished 103.5 points ahead of second-place Milwaukee to take home their ninth conference title in the last 14 years, while the men's team was just 10 points behind fourth-place Wright State. Milwaukee won the team title on the men's side, scoring 820 points.
Three individuals received Horizon League honors following the championship meet, as junior diver Daniel Pogue (Chisholm, Minn.) was named Men's Diver of the Meet, Tom Stover was named Men's and Women's Diving Coach of the Year and Merner was tabbed as the Women's Swimming Coach of the Year.
Pogue, who was named conference diver of the week seven times throughout the season, won both the 1-meter and 3-meter events at the 2011 Horizon League Championships. The junior standout won Saturday's 3-meter competition with a score of 327.30 and Thursday's 1-meter event with a school-record total of 339.90.
Stover's pair of Coach of the Year awards marked the fifth and sixth of his Phoenix coaching career. Over the four days in Cleveland, Stover's diving crew earned 11 top-eight finishes in the four diving events, including a pair of individual titles and a runner-up finish.
"The awards are a result of the athletes achieving the goals they set for themselves," Stover said. "It's a reflection of how well they performed and how well they prepared. I'm really pleased with how all of our divers performed this week, and I'm thankful our women's divers helped contribute to the overall team victory by bring home some important points."
For Merner, the honor marked his 11th career Coach of the Year award, and seventh in as many years.
The Green Bay women once again used its depth on day four of the championship meet, qualifying several swimmers to the finals of multiple events.
Alyssa Danielson (Rogers, Minn.) broke a school record and nearly picked up an individual title in the 100 free, but was out-touched at the finish by Cleveland State's Carys Behn (50.23). Danielson, who won the 50 free on Thursday, placed second in the 100 with a time of 50.38, breaking Christine Spading's school standard of 50.84 from the 2009 Horizon League meet.
Deanna DeGrand (Green Bay, Wis.) earned a runner-up finish in the women's 1650 free, racing to a time of 17:06.77, while Amy Burback (Waunakee, Wis.) also picked up a second-place showing in the 200 breast, finishing in a school-record time of 2:18.45. Burback broke the record held by Renee Reindl, set at last year's conference meet.
Amber Bartholomew (Alexandria, Minn.) and Emilee Harry (Sheboygan, Wis.) went 3-4 in the 200 back, finishing in 2:01.91 and 2:02.56, respectively, while Shannon Demrow (Algonquin, Ill.) and Kendra Rottier (Green Bay, WIs.) placed fourth and fifth in the 200 fly in 2:04.85 and 2:05.58.
For the Phoenix men, senior Jason Askew (Durban, South Africa) stood out once again with a record-breaking second-place finish in the 200 breast. Askew, who won the 100 breast in record-breaking fashion on Friday, took a close second to Cleveland State's Deni Gasparin (2:00.53), touching in at 2:00.64. That shattered his own school mark of 2:05.01, which he recorded at last year's championships.
Tim Scanlan (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) also had a strong showing on Saturday, placing sixth in the 1650 free with a time of 16:03.59.
2011 Horizon League Championships Awards
Newcomer of the Year
Women - Emily McClellan (MIL)
Men - Justin Kermack (CSU)
Performer of the Meet
Women - Carys Behn (CSU) and Emily McClellan (MIL)
Men - Hermanus Botha (WSU) and Mark de Swardt (CSU)
Diver of the Meet
Women - Kacey Cummings (CSU)
Men - Daniel Pogue (GB)
Athlete of the Year
Women - Emily McClellan (CSU)
Men - Mark de Swardt (CSU)
Swimming Coach of the Year
Women - Jim Merner (GB)
Men - Kyle Clements (MIL)
Women's Team Scores
Green Bay - 788.5
Milwaukee - 685
Cleveland State - 625.5
Wright State - 558
UIC - 453
Youngstown State - 308.5
Valparaiso - 126
Butler - 93.5
Men's Team Scores
Milwaukee - 820
UIC - 793
Cleveland State - 696
Wright State - 491
Green Bay - 481
Valparaiso - 117