Cuyahoga Falls swimmers and divers place second at River Division Meet

by Frank Aceto Associate Sports Editor Published:

Less than two weeks ago, the Cuyahoga Falls girls swimming and diving team made its presence known with a stunning victory over Brunswick.

Unfortunately for the Lady Black Tigers, the Lady Blue Devils returned the favor.

Falls finished in a tie for second with North Royalton in the River Division at the Northeast Ohio Conference Meet, which concluded Jan. 5 at Cleveland State University's Busbey Natatorium.

Brunswick won the River Division competition with 416 points. The Black Tigers and North Royalton each scored 342 points.

Falls also finished fifth (184) out of 17 teams in the overall standings.

"The conference meet favors teams that have a ton of kids and not necessarily the best teams," Lady Black Tigers head coach Peter Nauman said. "Our kids did a tremendous job. They swam with a lot of heart and resilience. I was really proud of them."

Not surprisingly, the divers led the way for Falls.

Erika Shane finished second overall with 371.95 points. Not far behind her was teammate Nicole Rozsa, who placed third (360.8). Shane and Rozsa finished first and second, respectively, in the River Division.

"It was a very close diving match," Nauman said. "Those two are going to be battling with each other the whole year."

Freshman Marcy Spann also had a strong meet.

She finished seventh overall and first in the River Division in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 30.48 seconds) and seventh overall and second in the division in the 200 freestyle (2:02.77). Spann also was a member of the Lady Black Tigers' 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.

"Marcy swam with a lot of heart," Nauman said. "She had a long and tough day. She swam the 200 and 500 prelims and then she came back to swim both relays and the finals of the 200 and 500. She did a tremendous job for us."

The 400 relay team, which also included Natalie Hillyer, Anna Nold and Abby Stratton, placed eighth overall and third in the River Division (3:56.47).

"The 400 relay was a dogfight," Nauman said. "They weren't seeded and weren't supposed to be in the top eight in our division. They really stepped up."

Also placing in the top 10 for Falls were the following:

• 200 medley relay: Madison Marshall, Sam Nockengost, Dayana Brunst and Jenna Kassinger, fifth overall and second in the division, 1:58.42

• 200 individual medley: Hillyer, seventh (second in the division), 2:21.44

• 100 butterfly: Kassinger, eighth (second in the division), 1:04.27

• 200 freestyle relay: Spann, Nockengost, Hillyer and Kassinger, seventh (second in the division), 1:45.16

• 100 breaststroke: Nockengost, 10th (fourth in the division), 1:14.68

"All the girls stepped up and swam extremely well," Nauman said.

The Lady Black Tigers were scheduled to visit River Division archrival Stow-Munroe Falls Jan. 11 before heading to the Northeast Ohio Classic Jan. 12 at the University of Akron's Ocasek Natatorium and C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. Results of those meets were not available at press time.

Falls is set to host North Royalton Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. before heading to the Barberton Invitational Jan. 19 at Ocasek Natatorium. The Barberton Invitational is set to begin at 2 p.m.

"We're not taking anyone for granted," Nauman said. "The teams we have left can beat us. We just want to swim the best we can. Our conference is one of the premiere conferences in the state and that's why it was so close."

Email: faceto@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9444

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