Swimming & Diving falls to New Mexico
By HEATHER KENNEDY
GREELEY – In the final home meet of the year, the Northern Colorado Swimming team hosted New Mexico, while the Diving team was at the Air Force Academy for the AFA Diving Invitational. The Bears dropped the dual by the final score of 166-129 after the diving scores were included.
"I am very pleased with today's performances," Head Coach Kelly McClanahan said. "We of course wanted the win, but this is the closest we have even kept the spread with UNM. The girls raced with a placing and scoring mentality today, and did not worry about their times. We out-touched their girls in quite a few races, which is good to see this time of year."
Junior Courtney Van Oost (Elgin, Ill.) won both the 200 backstroke and the 400 IM, dominating the competition. She won the 200 back in 2:06.94, winning by over three seconds against teammate Melissa Tillman, who touched the wall in 2:10.22 for second.
Van Oost came back to win in the 400 IM in 4:41.50, beating New Mexico's Alyssa Keill by almost a full five seconds. She began her individual events with a second-place finish in the 100 backstroke after timing a 59.84.
Junior Gina Riggle (Eaton, Colo.) continued her stellar third season with the AquaBears, winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.84, finishing 2.4 seconds ahead of New Mexico's Ashley Blanchette in second place. She also came back later in the day to win the 200 breaststroke, leading a 1-2 sweep for the Bears as junior Renee Stephens (Loveland, Colo.) was second. Riggle won in 2:24.53, while Stephens out-touched UNM's Alyssa Keill at the wall, winning by 0.05 (2:27.39-2:27.44).
Senior Tatum Boehnke (Carson City, Nev.), swimming in her final meet at Butler-Hancock, placed second in the 1000 free. Boehnke was joined by fellow seniors Alicen Fair and Hattie Oatts as those swimming in their final home meet.
"I am happy that Hattie, Alicen and Tatum were able to have a great meet for the last home competition of their careers," McClanahan said. "They have been the foundation of this program for four years and deserve at least that."
Sophomore Jasmine Fryrear (San Diego) and freshman Jenny Laporte (Phoenix) placed second and third, respectively in the 200 butterfly, while Laporte and Riggle were second and third, respectively in the 100 fly.
Junior transfer Kylie Rathbone (Lakewood, Colo.) also placed second in the 100 free after swimming a 54.33.
"We are in the home stretch of our season, and you can see it on the girls," McClanahan said. "Mentally, they are in the best state and racing with their head better than they ever have, which is vital coming into conference season. Physically, they are tired, some injured and just worn down from the season's hard work. But, we are right where we need to be. This team is right on target with their training, racing and mental state. We are four and a half weeks from the first day of competition for WAC Championships and they are exactly where I want and planned for them to be."
Down at the Air Force Academy, senior Sara Moldenhauer (Colorado Springs) placed ninth in the platform diving, scoring 185.95. She led the Bears on the one-meter springboard, totaling 222.30 for 23rd place, while freshman Kelsey Smith was right behind her in 26th place with 219.60.
On the three-meter board, Moldenhauer was 24th after scoring 234.60 points.
The AquaBears head up the road to Colorado State for a dual with the Rams on Wednesday, Jan. 30. The first event is scheduled to begin at 5 pm.
"We are excited for CSU and UNO next week," McClanahan concluded. "Every meet puts us one step closer to the WAC Champs and you can feel the excitement in the air with the girls. So, I think they are going to put together two very special meets next week."