Rebels Make Their Move At MWC Championships
Feb. 24, 2005
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - UNLV won a total of four events combined between the men's and women's squads to make them a serious threat to win a first-ever MWC Championship title, as the men are currently in first place and the women are a close second after the second day of action at the 2005 Mountain West Conference Swimming & Championship, held at Oklahoma City Community College.
The Rebel men have a 54-point lead over five-time defending champion BYU after the first 16 events, standing at 309 points to 255 for the Cougars. Wyoming is third at 187, Utah is fourth at 180, while Air Force rounds our the men's standings in fifth with 141 points.
Key to the Rebels' rise in the team standings was their performance in the morning prelims, when they advanced a total of 16 swimmers to the scoring night session, including four each in all three individual events. The first win of the day came in the 50 free, as sophomore Brandon Nelms captured his first MWC individual title in a time of 19.84, fastest in the MWC this season. The other win came in the 200 free relay, as Nelms, Joe Bartoch, Jonathan Hugo, and Bjorn Erickson gave UNLV its sixth straight win in the event, breaking their own record of 1:19.59 set back in 2001, with a time of 1:18.79.
In the 500 free, Kyle Goodrich led UNLV with a third-place finish in 4:30.67, while Kyle Tannehill was fifth (4:34.49), Matthew Morton sixth (4:35.40), and John Pittenger seventh (4:36.40). Two Rebels scored in the consolations as Erik Ringdahl was ninth (4:33.37) and Devin Phillips 11th (4:35.90).
Michael Day swam a career-best time of 1:49.83 to just narrowly miss taking the 200 IM title, as he was .12 behind Utah's Cody Rempfer. Also finishing in the top eight for UNLV was Tamas Bosnyak (1:51.20), Curtis Robinson (1:51.70), and Patrick Adams (1:51.76). Adam Martinson was 12th in the consolations with a time of 1:53.30.
Joining Nelms in the 50 free scoring was Bartoch, fourth at 20.29, Hugo, the 2003 and 2004 champion, was fifth at 20.36, while Bjorn Erickson was seventh in 20.49. John Byers claimed 10th in 20.92.
Raluca Udriou was the story on the UNLV women's side, winning her first-ever 200 IM MWC title in a time of 2:05.05, fastest in the league this season. The Rebel women then joined the men in breaking the 200 free relay conference record, swimming a time of 1:32.73 to break Colorado State's time of 1:33.15, set in 2003. The two wins pushed UNLV from fifth to second with 272 points, 19 behind first place BYU (291). Utah is third at 224, Wyoming is fourth (199), New Mexico fifth (175), Colorado State sixth (172), Air Force seventh (88), and San Diego State eighth (73).
Alison Zick began the night for UNLV with a seventh place time of 5:08.14 in the 500 free, while Kari Nettenstrom was 14th (5:08.14) and Lani Seaman was 16th (5:09.51). Joining Udriou in scoring in the 200 IM was Kim Bonney, seventh in 2:07.50, Shayna Burns, ninth in 2:07.16, and Julie Babin, 10th in 2:07.70.
The Rebels dominated the women's 50 free, taking three of the top six and six of the top 14. Marina Sandback missed a MWC title by the slimmest of margins, losing by .01 to Elizabeth Jones of Colorado State, who won in 23.33. Amber Walker was fourth for UNLV (23.53), while Jacque Hoover was sixth (23.81). In the consolations was Jessie Bradshaw (ninth at 23.55, Katie Wronn (10th at 23.71), and Lauren Browning (14th at 24.03). UNLV also picked up points from Nichole McLean, who was seventh in the 3-meter diving with a score of 4:58.65.
The four-day meet continues tomorrow, and will conclude on Saturday.