Hillsdale slips past No. 8 Ashland by one point in final home meet
HILLSDALE, Mich. -- Taking on eighth-ranked Ashland in its final home meet of the season, Hillsdale pulled out a slim 112-111 win against the Eagles.
Coach Kurt Kirner called it a "great team effort," and noted excellent performances from all corners of the roster.
Scoring key points for Hillsdale was sophomore diver Gretchen Geist, who was victorious in both the 1 and 3-meter dive events. In the past, Hillsdale has been victimized in dual meets due to its lack of a diver, but Geist filled a key void since her arrival before the 2011-12 season. Geist's uncontested win in the 3-meter dive wrapped up the win for Hillsdale.
With such a closely contested meet, points near the end of the meet were crucial. Coming through for Hillsdale was the duo of Cayley Cruickshank and Ali Bauer in the 100 breaststroke. Their second and third-place finishes helped soften the blow of a win by the Eagles to maintain the tight lead for the Chargers. Cruickshank's time of 1:09.60 was one of the team's strongest.
In four of the last five non-relay meets, the Chargers swept second and third places to prevent the Eagles from making up much ground in the meet.
The Chargers built a solid early lead in the meet by taking two of the top three places -- including wins by freshman Zoe Hopkins and senior Sarah Leitner -- in the first two non-relay events of the meet. Hopkins cruised to an easy win in the 1,000 free with a time of 10:56.7, while Leitner won by just .37 seconds in the 200 free event.
Freshman Sarah Rinaldi won the 200 IM, three seconds ahead of anyone else in the race, winning with a time of 2:14.48. Freshman Naofa Noll and Rinaldi later went 2-3 in the 100 butterfly to give Hillsdale key points.
Two more freshmen, Hannah Leitner and Mikalah Smith, went 2-3 in the 500 free.