DU takes early lead at NCAC Championship

Ben Lewis captured the 3-meter title on Thursday at the NCAC Championship.
Ben Lewis captured the 3-meter title on Thursday at the NCAC Championship.

After six events, the Big Red held onto the top spot in the 2013 North Coast Athletic Conference Championship standings from the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio.  Denison accumulated 560.5 points and lead second-place Kenyon by 118.5 points heading into Friday's events.  Rounding out the top-5 spots are DePauw (299), Wittenberg (177) and Oberlin (173).

Junior Carlos Maciel and freshman Ben Lewis captured both Denison titles on Thursday night.  Maciel won his first individual championship and second overall after breaking the NCAC Championship meet and school records in the 200 I.M.  The junior's time of 1:50.03 was an 'A' cut performance.

Also competing in the championship heat of the 200 I.M. were Spencer Fronk, Jackson Humphrey, Joe Brunk, Matt Montague and Quinn Bartlett.  Fronk finished second behind Maciel with an 'A' cut time of 1:50.30, while Humphrey (1:51.93), Brunk (1:52.79), and Montague (1:52.92) occupied spots four through six with 'B' cut performances.  Bartlett took eighth with a time of 1:54.31, while Ben Snader finished 11th with a 'B' cut of 1:54.10.  In the prelims, Brunk and Barlett posted strong 'B' cut times of 1:52.18 and 1:53.14, respectively.

Lewis won the 1-meter diving event, dethroning two-time defending champion and teammate Gabe Dixson.  The first-year diver totaled 488.95 points.  Dixson took second with 476.90, while sophomore Connor Dorff placed fourth with 439.05 points.  Also scoring in the event were Nathan Lightman (8th) and Matt Poulos (9th).  Lewis, Dixson and Dorff all qualified for the NCAA Diving Regional at Calvin College on March 1-2.

In the 500 freestyle, sophomore Al Weik finished second with a season-best time of 4:30.04, just one hundredth of a second behind Kenyon's Joseph Guilfoyle.  Weik's time was a 'B' cut and secured his third top-2 finish in the event.  Conner Downard also logged a 'B' cut performance in the event after touching in at 4:34.73.  In the prelims, Downard posted a season-best time of 4:33.99.  Rounding out the scoring in the 500 free were Dan Hellman (9th) and Nathan Thorne (14th).

DU opened and closed the night with second-place performances in the 200 free relay and 400 medley relay, respectively.  In the 400 medley event, Bartlett, Damon Rosenburg, Fronk and Maciel posted an 'A' cut time of 3:18.81.  The Big Red finished runner-up in the 200 free relay for the fourth-straight year after posting a 'B' cut time of 1:21.92.  That foursome was comprised of Ryan Fleming, Fronk, Nick Spaniel and Bartlett.  In the opening leg of the relay, Fleming posted a 'B' cut in the 50 free split (20.72).

Spaniel and Fleming also tied for sixth place in the 50 freestyle.  The DU duo touched in at an identical time of 21.01.  Rosenburg also scored in the event after finishing 13th in the consolation heat.

Friday's festivities will begin with the preliminaries at 10 a.m., followed by the finals at 6:30 p.m.