Hostess with the most-est
Women’s swimming and diving successful in hosting MAC Championships
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 14:03
This year’s Mid-American Conference Championship meet was very similar to last year’s for the Buffalo Bulls. The Bulls won multiple MAC Championships and junior Brittney Kuras won the Mid-American Conference Outstanding Swimmer Award for the second year in a row.
There was one major difference, though: This year, the Bulls hosted the meet.
“It was nice to be able to show what we can do here at home,” Kuras said. “We were able to break some pool records and some MAC records here, and our relays did really well. It was really nice to be able to do that at home.”
The Bulls experienced individual success throughout the meet, crowning seven MAC champions, but did not have enough swimmers place in every event to score the points necessary to finish higher. They finished the weekend in fifth place. Miami Ohio won the meet.
Kuras won six of seven events – three individual and three relays.
She won the 200-yard individual medley, setting meet, MAC and pool records; the 200-yard freestyle; and the 100-yard freestyle with meet and pool records. Kuras was a member of the 200-yard freestyle relay, which set a pool record; the 800-yard freestyle relay; and the 400-yard freestyle relay, which also set a pool record.
Senior Mallory Morrell was the only other Bull to win an individual MAC title.
In her final MAC Championship and final meet at the Alumni Arena Natatorium, Morrell won the 50-yard freestyle, anchored the championship 200-yard freestyle relay and finished second in the 100-yard freestyle relay. In her last-ever swim at home, Morrell led off the championship 400-yard freestyle relay.
“It probably didn’t hit her [yet] but later on, when she gets older, she will realize how cool that is – to finish your last race in your pool and be MAC Champions,” said head coach Andy Bashor. “It’s something she can look back on and be very proud of.”
Morrell competed for the Bulls for only two seasons, after attending Rhode Island her freshman year and transferring to Monroe Community College for her sophomore year. In her two seasons at UB, Morrell was a part of the highest scoring and placing women’s team ever. She played a major role as one of the team’s top sprinters.
Sophomore Jessica Powers competed in her first MAC Championship. Powers was a member of the 800-yard freestyle relay, finished second in the 200-yard freestyle and also had a pair of third-place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle and the 1,650-yard freestyle. Her finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle set a new school record.
Junior Marissa Murphy and senior Karly Moore joined Kuras and Morrell in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays. Freshman Paula Stoddard and sophomore Becky Evangelista joined Kuras and Powers in the 800-yard freestyle relay.
Miami Ohio finished in stark contrast to the Bulls. Despite winning the meet, the RedHawks did not win a single event. Their point total of 621 was also the lowest amount ever scored in an eight-team MAC Championship meet.
Both Kuras and Morrell had times which were good enough for NCAA B cuts, which means they now must wait to see if they qualify for the NCAA Championship finals at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind., from March 21-23.
Despite just finishing the MAC Championships, Bashor does not think there will be any trouble motivating his athletes to train and compete at the NCAA Championships.
Bashor said that level has been their goal all season and they won’t need any extra motivation to swim against some of the best swimmers in the world.
He plans on letting Kuras and Morrell rest for a few days before getting them back in the pool to train for the meet.
The Bulls will return nearly every point scorer next season – except for Morrell, Moore and senior Emma Miller (who placed 16th in the 1,650-yard freestyle). The Bulls also hope to get back a few injured swimmers next season, including the 100-yard freestyle school record holder, sophomore Taylor Steffl.
The men will travel to Southern Illinois next weekend to compete for the men’s MAC Championship.