Frosh add depth to Blue Devil deck
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Swimming & diving
FREDONIA, N.Y. -- A solid recruiting class has Fredonia State swimming and diving head coach Arthur Wang believing his 2008-09 team will be capable of competing in most events and against all levels of competition.
"I am most optimistic with the current crop of incoming freshmen," Wang said. "The class brings in talent and depth in all areas. The freshmen ... are all very capable of swimming anything and everything very well."
The freshmen women include Juliana Walker (Frewsburg), a New York State qualifier in the 100-yard butterfly and the 50-yard freestyle, plus distance swimmers Penny Robin (Dansville) and Margo Dunlevy (Batavia), both of whom have older sisters on the team. Wang cites backstroker Julie Karl (Rochester/Brighton), and freestylers Janie Reiley (Bradford, Pa.) and Lindsay Holmes (Walworth/Gananda), for their blue-collar work ethic, and he feels the team's diving component has been restocked with the addition of Bethany Jones (Churchville/Churchville-Chili), Leanne Kies (Owego), and Samantha Brethel (Floral Park/Sewanhaka).
On the men's side, freshman diver Shane Ammering (Canandaigua) was a state-meet qualifier while John Rodman (Livonia) should supply strong support off the boards. The cast of swimmers have caught Wang's attention. "I am extremely happy with the men's freshmen class," he said. "They bring speed and depth. I think these men will surprise a few people in the next few years." Matt Beebe (Rochester/Greece), Elliot Weaver (Hornell), and Peter Marshfield (Amherst/Canisius) are freestyle specialists, while Zac Parker (Rochester/Brighton) and Mike Hughson (Albion) provide depth in the individual medley swims -- an area where the team has been lacking in the past.
Conversely, the Blue Devils have three returning seniors -- all women. Six-time All-American diver Kelly Sponholz (Alden) is back to defend her SUNYAC titles off both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards. In fact, she has won all six SUNYAC competitions she's entered -- two every year since she was a freshmen -- and holds all the school and conference records.
Sponholz with serve as a women's tri-captain along with the two other seniors, backstroke record-holder Emily Dizer (Tonawanda/Sweet Home), and Lauren Sieber (Cheektowaga/West Seneca East), a butterflier and middle-distance freestyler.
Four other record-holders return to the women's team, among them a defending SUNYAC champ, sophomore Caitlyn Fields (Buffalo/Sacred Heart), in the 100-yard butterfly. Fields also set the 200-yard butterfly record as a freshman. Another sophomore, Morgan Reisch (Fairport), holds both the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle marks.
Two juniors, Leiya Pujals (Kings Park) and Monica Dunlevy (Batavia), hold breast stroke and distance freestyle records, respectively. Their training partners will include fellow juniors Taylor Kelly (Wading River/Shoreham-Wading River) and Mandy Nelson (Frewsburg), while classmate Lindsay Aromola (Hamburg/Frontier) will provide depth in the butterfly and the individual medley. The only other experienced diver, Heather Robin (Dansville), is also a junior.
The men's team also returns two school record-holders, junior Mike Seay (Grand Island) in the indivudual medley and senior Al Palmquist (Olean) in the 100-yard backstroke. Three other juniors, including team captain Derek Greiner (Angola/Lake Shore), will supply veteran depth. Greiner and Brent Davis (Albion) will compete in the middle distances and Evan Prewitt (Rochester/Rush-Henrietta) in the sprints; Greiner will also compete in the backstroke.
Wang has taken note of the development of four sophomores -- Mike Mitchell (Medina) in the distance events, Ryan McGroder (Buffalo/St. Joe's Collegiate) in the butterfly and the backstroke, Steve Joint (Bath) in the middle distances and breast stroke, and Kevin Kaiser (Orchard Park) in the breast stroke and the freestyle.
Noticeably missing on the men's side is graduate Scott Horsington, himself a three-time All-American diver. Christian Torres (Dunkirk), a junior, will look to fill the void. He has improved each of his fist two seasons under the tutelage of Blue Devil assistant coach John Crawford, who works with all the divers.
The Blue Devil men open their season Saturday afternoon against NCAA Division I Niagara University at 2 p.m. in the Steele Hall Natatorium (the women's meet vs. Niagara has been cancelled). With the intent of turning up the competition a notch, Wang has also scheduled meets against two Division II teams, Gannon (Dec. 12 at Erie, Pa.) and Edinboro (Jan. 31 at Edinboro, Pa.).
The first full squad competition-- men and women -- is Oct. 25 at the Cortland Relays. Other notable meets on the 2008-09 schedule are the Blue Devil Invitational (Dec. 5-7) at Steele Hall, and the SUNYAC championships (Feb. 11-14) at the Burt Flickinger Center in Buffalo.
"It's always been a continuous goal," Wang said, "to improve and be better than the previous year. There is no doubt in my mind that both Blue Devil teams are better. We just simply have more potential scorers from positions 1 through 18 on both teams."