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Denison Invitational 2nd Place
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View Full Schedule

Denison women continue to rack up NCAA cuts at Invitational

Michaela Morrison  |  Photo by Curt Ashcraft
Michaela Morrison | Photo by Curt Ashcraft

GRANVILLE, Ohio—The Denison women remained red-hot on day two of the Denison Invitational.  The Big Red added 13 more NCAA 'B' cut swims while inching closer to the lead in the team standings.  Through 13 of 20 events, Denison trails first-place Eastern Michigan by only 19 points.  EMU has 1,399 points followed by Denison (1,380), Emory (1,077), Washington-St. Louis (623), and Wayne State (610).

After 13 'B' cuts on Thursday, Denison doubled its number to 26 cuts after an impressive two sessions of swimming for the No. 2 ranked Big Red.

Four individuals logged cuts in the 400 individual medley and four more posted cuts in the 100 breaststroke.  Senior KT Kustritz, who qualified for US Olympic Trials on Wednesday night in the 100-meter breaststroke, logged a season-best time of 1:01.27.  Kustritz is the Division III record-holder in the 100 breast (59.77) and a two-time national champion in the event.

Following Kustritz with 'B' cuts was Kate Mesaros in 1:02.77 which placed her second.  Olivia Lantry took fourth but logged her best time in prelims with a time of 1:03.46.  One of the best swims of the night came from senior Michaela Morrison who punched her ticket to Greensboro with a personal best time of 1:03.74.  Since her freshman year, Morrison has knocked five seconds off her time in the 100 breast.

In the 400 IM, Natalie Zaravella led a DU foursome with a third-place finish and a 'B' cut time of 4:22.57.  Erica Hsu placed sixth in the finals with a time of 4:26.49. She logged a season-best time of 4:26.28 in prelims.  There is a strong chance that first-year Savannah Sargent will make her first trip to nationals after her time of 4:28.53.  Sophomore Grace Kacmarek may have also cracked the national team roster after a stellar 4:28.45 PR in prelims.  Kacmarek followed with a ninth-place finish in the finals after a time of 4:30.04.

Senior standout Maddie Hopkins took 0.73 off her prelim time to win the 100 butterfly in 54.92. Angela Le was just outside the cut after her ninth-place time of 56.72. She posted a 56.69 in prelims but 56.58 was the magic number.

Denison's Zaravella, Tara Culibrk, Mia Chiappe, and Hannah Rusinko logged a 'B' cut in the 800 free relay with a time of 7:28.79.  Denison also showed its potential in the 200 free as Culibrk led five individuals to new personal bests.  Culibrk posted a 'B' cut of 1:49.55 in prelims and finished third in the finals at 1:50.03.  Chiappe also logged a 'B' cut in prelims in 1:51.73 and went on to place fifth.  Ruskinko (1:53.15), Caroline Colville (1:53.25), and Gabriella Nutter (1:53.12) all posted PRs in the 200 free and just missed provisional qualifying times.

In the 100 backstroke, Casey Kirby and Le missed a 'B' cut by .01 after their times of 56.83 in morning preliminaries.  They returned to finish eighth and ninth, respectively in the evening finals.

The night was kicked off by a victory in the 200 medley relay.  Dension is the national record holder in this event (1:40.11 set in 2019).  This year's team of Kirby, Kustritz, Hopkins, and Nutter took 5.47 off their previous season-best to record a 'B' cut time of 1:46.08.

Denison will close out the Invitational on Saturday with preliminaries scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. followed by finals at 6 p.m.  Women's 3-meter diving will start at 12:30 p.m.