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Big Red sits second at NCAC Championship

Ashley Yearwood won two event titles on Thursday night in Canton, Ohio.
Ashley Yearwood won two event titles on Thursday night in Canton, Ohio.

Denison sits in second place at the completion of Thursday's festivities at the 2013 North Coast Athletic Conference Championship from C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio.  DU compiled 494 points through six events.  They trail first-place Kenyon by just four points heading in to Friday. Wittenberg ranks third with 234 points, and DePauw is fourth with 230.

The Big Red captured three of the five event titles on Thursday night.  First-year Ashley Yearwood paced Denison with two championship victories.  Yearwood along with Morgan Nuess, Maddie Armitage and Alyssa Swanson opened the night with an 'A' cut time of 1:33.35 in the 200 freestyle relay.  That win marked the sixth-straight victory in the event for a DU relay squad.  Yearwood also posted a strong 50 free 'B' cut time following a 23.36 split.

The rookie returned to win her second title of the night with a time of 23.65 in the 50 freestyle.  Right on her heels was Nuess who touched in at 23.76, while Armitage took sixth after clocking in at 23.94, both 'B' cut times.  In the prelims, Nuess and Armitage posted season-best times of 23.66 and 23.82, respectively.  Rounding out the scoring in the 50 free were Mary Van Leuven (10th) and Kate Wright (11th).

Sophomore Michelle Howell captured her first NCAC title with a meet record and 'A' cut time of 2:04.02 in the 200 I.M.  Also finishing in the top-5 and posting 'B' cut times were junior Natalie Lugg and sophomore Meghan Bagley.  Lugg logged her fourth runner-up finish at the championship event (2:05.13), while Bagley's time of 2:06.90 landed her in fourth place.  Krysta Garbarino and Marissa Bednarek also scored for Denison in the 200 I.M.  Garbarino took eighth after touching in at 2:11.74, while Bednarek was 12th in the consolation heat.

First-year Taylor Johns and Swanson posted a pair of 'B' cut performance in the 500 free en route to finishing two-three.  Johns swam a season-best time of 4:55.40, while Swanson clocked in at 4:56.26, an improvement on her previous 'B' cut.  Rounding out the championship heat was Mary Cullen.  The rookie placed eighth with a time of 5:03.98.

Denison closed out the night with a strong performance in the 400 medley relay.  Lindsay Zeberlein, Lugg, Claire Van Fossen and Swanson combined to swim a strong 'B' cut time of 3:46.74.  In addition, Zeberlein recorded a 'B' cut performance in the 100 backstroke leg of the relay (56.13).

On Wednesday night, first-year Kelly Frazier won the 3-meter diving title with a score of 437.15.  Frazier became the sixth-straight DU diver to win the event.  Additionally, that score qualified her for the NCAA Diving Regional at Calvin College on March 1-2.  Sterling Keiser posted her second top-5 finish on the 3-meter board.  Keiser's score of 330 landed her in fifth place.

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