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Sports Information Department 112 Dods Hall
Phone (716) 673-3100 / Fax (716) 673-3136

CONTACT: Jerry Reilly,
Sports Information Director

DATE: Tues., Feb. 7, 2006


Swimming & Diving

Blue Devils look to improve at SUNYAC meet

FREDONIA, N.Y. -- Fredonia State swimmers and divers will compete with eight others teams starting Thursday at the SUNYAC Championships.

The Blue Devils will be looking to improve on their placement in last year's meet when the women finished fifth and the men eighth.

The women, head coach Arthur Wang said, "are looking on closing the gap and moving up to fourth place.

"It will be a tough task as we finished over 200 points behind New Paltz last year. We look forward to a total team effort in achieving the goal."

Wang said the best chances with podium finishes rest with junior Cassie Austin (Cuba/Cuba-Rushford) in the sprints, sophomore Lexie Chapman (Lockport/Lockport) in mid-distance events, and with several divers, led by freshman Kelly Sponholz (Alden/Alden) and sophomore Teresa MacInnes (Tonawanda/Kenmore East). Sponholz is unbeaten in all competition this season, while MacInnes finished fourth off both boards during the 2005 Championships.

"We hope," diving coach John Crawford said, "to place four of the five female divers in the Top 10 on both the one- and three-meter boards. Kelly Sponholz along with Amy Jones out of Cortland should be ... the favorites. Both have posted scores that qualify for nationals."

On the men's side, Wang envisions the Blue Devils in a battle with several teams for fourth through sixth place.

"It will depend," he said, "on whose athletes finish more regularly in the top eight (of each event) and the relay places as relay scores are doubled."

Senior Chris Oaks (Macedon/Palmyra-Macedon), the Blue Devils' lone all-conference selection last year, could have company this year. Wang has high hopes for freshman Rob Rumsey (Grand Island/Grand Island) in several events, and junior Nathan Peterson (Frewsburg) in distance events.

Crawford also feels junior Brian Ruffles (Angola/Lake Shore) has a chance to score in 1-meter diving even though he's relatively new to the boards.

The three-day meet, which runs through Saturday, will again be held at Erie Community College's Burt Flickinger Aquatic Center, located at 21 Oak St., Buffalo. Preliminaries will be held each day starting at 10 a.m. Finals each day will start at 6 p.m.

Fans wishing to keep track of the meet will be able to do so via the SUNYAC web site ( . Links have been established to event-by-event results , and to day-by-day results with updated team scoring.

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