Bears Return to Competition with Day One of UIW Christmas Invitational
Freshman diver Garrett Nevels placed second and posted a season-best on the 3-meter board.
Freshman diver Garrett Nevels placed second and posted a season-best on the 3-meter board.

Dec. 17, 2011

Day One Results

SAN ANTONIO - Returning to competition for the first time in a month, the Missouri State swimming & diving team was able to shake off the cobwebs and position itself nicely in the team standings after the first day of the Incarnate Word Christmas Invitational on Saturday. Through event 14, the women are sitting third out of six teams, while the men are just 41.5 points behind first-place TCU.

"It took our swimmers a little bit of time to get back in routine after finals week," associate head coach Dave Collins said. "We will definitely see the times improve and I look for the next two days to be quite a bit stronger."

The MSU divers hit the ground running as sophomores Lindsey Conway and Paige Koebbe collected third- and fifth-place finishes in the women's 1-meter diving competition to score 52 points for the Bears.

Freshmen Garret Nevels and Zach Wheeler packed the 2-3 punch in the men's 3-meter diving competition. Wheeler surpassed his previous season best by over 30 points (268.90) for third place, while Nevels placed second and inched closer to a Zone cut with 303.90 points.

"It is exciting to watch the freshmen divers blossom as a group and mature each meet," head diving coach James Huelskamp commented. "They are progressing quickly and have been impressive in front of some great Division I competition."

Vitalii Baryshok and Michal Bulak represented the Bears in the A-Final of the 100 fly, placing third and fifth, respectively. MSU also cleaned up shop in the B-Final as half of the heat consisted of Bears: Matthew Wilson (9th), Paul Le (10th), Aaron Dennis (14th) and Jeff Bentz (16th). Baryshok later collected another third-place finish in the 50 free (20.80).

Topeka, Kan. native Hannah Molden swam a lifetime best and placed fourth in the 500 free (5:02.97), serving as Missouri State's lone representative in the A-Final. In the men's 500 free, freshman Caleb Schuermann notched a season-best (4:34.08) and finished fourth.

Following the Topeka trend, freshman Chris Carpenter registered a lifetime best in the 200 IM (1:51.93). Le also joined Carpenter in the A-Final, placing fifth with a time of 1:53.31.

To wrap up the night, the women's 400 medley relay provided a spark that they will look to carry into tomorrow's events. The quartet of Anna Ahlin, Renata Sander, Roni Balzam and Hannah Molden raced to a third-place finish ahead of the A-Relays from TCU and Rice.

The men closed out the night with two strong relay performances in the 400 medley. The A-Relay of Le, Carpenter, Bulak and Baryshok finished second, while the B-Relay (Garanito, Dennis, Wilson, Sims) came in fourth.

"The effort is there and that's all we can ask of them," Collins added. "Once we get a few more races under their belts, we'll be able to finish strong."

Tomorrow's prelims will begin at 10 a.m. CT with the finals set to start at 5 p.m. CT.

Women's Team Rankings through Event 14
1. TCU - 591
2. Rice - 511
3. Missouri State - 398.5
4. Utah - 335.5
5. Incarnate Word - 284
6. North Texas - 76

Men's Team Rankings through Event 14
1. TCU - 668
2. Missouri State - 627.5
3. Incarnate Word - 517.5
4. Utah - 333



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