Northern Colorado swimming and diving falls to Air Force on senior day
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 03:10
The UNC swimming and diving squad celebrated senior day against Air Force Friday in its first meet at home and the second of the season.
The University of Northern Colorado fell to the Falcons 165.5-134.5 in a very intense and close meet.
“This is by far the best dual meet I’ve ever seen my girls race in the three years I’ve been here,” UNC head coach Kelly McClanahan said. “They have fought for each finish and even the opposing coach, Casey Converse, said that we just have a fighting team. It is by far the best team we’ve ever had as far as not giving up races, always going in and trying to get the next point and really fighting to the nail to get to the wall before anyone else.”
Starting the night strong, UNC finished first and second in the 200 medley relay. The first place team included freshman Elle Gawronska, junior Renee Stephens, junior Gina Riggle and sophomore Jessica Reed-Baum, who finished with a time of 1:50.07.
“I feel like, as a team, we were all united together, which is what we really need this year, and I feel like this will just be continued throughout the season,” Riggle said.
Riggle also finished first in the 100 breaststroke and second in the 200 breast, finishing with times of 1:05.86 and 2:23.13, respectively.
“It’s nice to have one-on-one meets because, for me, it’s more intense,” Riggle said.
The Bears had at least one swimmer place third or higher in every event. Senior diver Sara Moldenhauer finished first during both dives in her last home meet.
“It’s good to know that you made it the four years,” Moldenhauer said. “You know that most people don’t, and it’s just really good to end it on a good note.”
McClanahan said Moldenhauer’s place on the team has been huge, always being able to contribute to the team with her diving abilities.
“She has been such a big component to our team,” McClanahan said. “She’s gone through a lot with our program — three coaches in four years — and so she’s gone through a lot of adversity and she’s always come through on top of everything.”
In such a close meet, the winner was decided in the final two races — the 200 individual medley and 400 freestyle relay. Junior Courtney Van Oost finished second in the individual medley, with a final time of 2:11.52.
“Air Force is a bittersweet rival for us,” McClanahan said. “It’s nice because they’re just down the road, and they’re at our same level of competition. But it’s bitter because we just want to beat them so bad. I think the team wanted this win so bad they could taste it.”
Being senior night, McClanahan had a special reason to reflect on the four seniors: Moldenhauer, Tatum Boehnke, Alicen Fair and Hattie Oatts.
“This class, they’re very close to my heart because they’ve literally been through every single step of building this program with me, and so I’m getting chocked up thinking about them right now,” McClanahan said.
Boehnke finished fourth in the 1000 freestyle with a time of 11:03.27.
“Tatum already came in a natural born leader,” McClanahan said. “She’s one of those that she’s going to lead no matter what.”
Fair was part of the 400 freestyle relay team that finished fourth with a time of 3:45.55.
“Alicen Fair is someone that came into the program as a walk-on and leaving as a scholastic athlete,” McClanahan said.
Friday’s meet was special for Oatts in particular, since it was her first time competing in more than a year. She swam lead for the relay squad finishing sixth in the 200 medley relay. Oatts was originally recruited by McClanahan for Wyoming before both came to UNC.
“She has probably gone through the most adversity with her shoulder issues,” McClanahan said. “She could stay behind and do another year of swimming, but she chose to go on and graduate. She is one of those that, despite the adversity because she had an excellent freshman year and she hasn’t done her time since then, she still shows that she loves the sport. She loves the team.”
The Bears hit the water again for a dual meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at Northern Arizona.