HOUSTON, Texas -
On the fourth and final day of the 2016 WAC Championships, the University of Wyoming Cowboy swimming and diving team earned second place on Saturday, capping a wire-to-wire performance inside the University of Houston’s Campus and Recreation Wellness Natatorium with 690 total points. Air Force captured the conference title with 771 points, while Grand Canyon University (650), UNLV (578) and North Dakota (344) rounded out the top-five.
“We did everything we could this morning to put ourselves in position to bring home the championships,” UW head coach Tom Johnson said. “I knew it would be a battle and it truly was.”
Freshman Jack Herron was named the WAC co-freshmen of the year, sharing the award with Daniil Antipov of Grand Canyon. It was the second-consecutive year UW has taken home freshman of the year honors, as Ryan Ball earned the award a year ago.
“Jack (Herron) grew up a lot this year and he deserved to be named co-freshmen of the year,” Johnson mentioned. “He handled this past weekend about as well as anyone. I hope he continues to grow as I know he can be a true competitor for us down the road.”
Sophomore Eric Oleson opened up the final session of the championships, as he was the lone Cowboy to compete in the 1,650 free. He took ninth place with a time of 15:51.29. In the next event, Ball finished fourth (1:45.87) in the 200 back, while Slade Sheaffer took sixth (1:46.97) for Wyoming.
“The 200 back was a solid event for us. Grand Canyon was able to get ahead of us after the 100 free, but our guys did great in the 200 breast to get us back into second tonight, and they all had great races this morning.”
Freshman David Murphy was the top Cowboy in the 100 free finals. He finished 11th overall with a time of 44.76, as sophomore Kyle White took 12th (44.79), and senior Bryce Carter claimed 16th (45.58).
Junior Gabe Rooker proved to be the leader for Wyoming in the 200 breast championship. He finished fourth in the event with a time of 1:57.77, while freshman Liam Holt took seventh (1:59.42) and senior Kyle Scalise finished eighth with a mark of 1:59.73. All times were NCAA “B” cut times.
Senior George Eglesfield set a school record in the 200 fly with a time of 1:44.50 to place second in the championship. During prelims this morning, Eglesfield came away with a time of 1:45.17. Sophomore Wade Nelson took third in the final with a mark of 1:45.10, as Herron took fifth (1:46.01), sophomore Jacob Porter finished sixth for the Pokes with a time of 1:47.04, and senior Ryan Nelson took seventh (1:47.63).
“The 200 fly was unbelievable for us,” Johnson added. “George (Eglesfield) was outstanding. He broke the school record this morning and then had a better time tonight. Wade (Nelson) fought hard for us as well.”
The Pokes capped off the championships with the 400 free relay. A team of Herron, White, Murphy and Carter touched the pads in 2:28.20 for a fourth place finish.
The Cowboys will next compete in the NCAA Zone “E” Diving Championships, March 7-9, in addition to the NCAA Men’s Championships, March 24-26.