INDIANAPOLIS -- Denison is at the midway point of the 2014 NCAA Division III Championship and Thursday's five event slate proved that this year's championship will more than likely be coming down to the wire.Denison entered the night with a 69-point lead during second-place Kenyon, but a stacked 400 individual medley by DU's rivals to the north would vault Kenyon back into contention.
Through 10 events Denison leads the championship with 282 points. Kenyon lurks in second with 272 points, while Emory sits a distant third with 153 points. Fourth-place is currently occupied by Johns Hopkins with 130 points.
Just how pivotal was the 400 individual medley for Kenyon? Denison would earn a respectable 25 points in the event thanks to three, top-9 swims by Al Weik, Jackson Humphrey, and Jack Lindell, but the Lords still managed to cut into the Big Red's lead by 34 points.
Weik paced DU with a sixth-place finish and a time of 3:55.27, marking his third-consecutive All-American performance in the grueling event. Humphrey checked in eighth with a time of 3:56.89 while freshman, Lindell, won the consolation heat with a time of 3:54.63. Lindell dropped 1.41 seconds off his preliminary time. Had he qualified for the championship final, his time would have placed him above Weik, in sixth-place.
Denison's performances in the 400 IM were strong, but Kenyon's 67 points in the event came from taking second, third, fourth, seventh, eleventh, and sixteenth. Overall, Denison and Kenyon occupied nine of the 16 positions in the final.
In the opening event of Thursday's finals, Ryan Fleming, Conrad Wuorinen, Damon Rosenburg, and Spencer Fronk won the consolation heat, resulting in a ninth-place finish. The foursome touched in 1:21.08 to earn 18 points.
DU had one entry in the 100 butterfly after preliminaries and Andrew Rich turned in a 15th place finish in 49.43 seconds to log his fifth career All-American certificate.
In the 200 freestyle the Big Red would hold serve, dropping just one point to the Lords thanks to a runner-up finish by senior, Carlos Maciel. He touched in 1:37.59 to post his best career finish in the event. Last year Maciel took fifth after placing 11th as a sophomore and freshman.
The consolation final of the 200 free saw Fronk take 11th in 1:39.85. Sophomore Joe Brunk was right behind in 12th place in 1:39.87. Heading into the final event of the night, Denison led Kenyon by 14 points 254-240.
In that 400 medley relay, the team of Humphrey, Rosenburg, Rich, and Wuorinen posted a time of 3:17.45 to place fifth. Kenyon's squad would end in third place, resulting in a slight four-point advantage for the Lords in the last event of the night.