Deets steps in, leads MAU over Wahconah
BENNINGTON — Heading into the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Mount Anthony boys swim team trailed Wahconah by three points — setting up a scenario where the winner of the relay would win the meet.
Complicating matters was the opening leg of the race, Tristan Thomas, feeling ill about halfway through the meet. So coach Amanda Robson had a decision to make. Who would fill in?
Devin Deets made the choice very easy.
"Devin offered to do it, it was his idea to switch and he stepped up big to do that," Robson said.
Deets swam the first leg of the relay as the Patriots won the 400 in 4 minutes, 20.11 seconds, winning by seven seconds, to score a 71-70 win over the Warriors on Friday at the Bennington Rec Center.
"At first, I knew [Tristan] wasn't feeling well, so I said I could do it," said Deets, a Burr and Burton student swimming for the Patriots. "I didn't expect it to be that close of an ending."
Wahconah coach Steve Kolis said that a member of the relay lost his goggles when he dove in, slowing him down.
"Did it cost us? Maybe," Kolis said. "We'd never beaten Mount Anthony before and the kids swam great, but we came up just a little short."
The boys trailed after the first three events, but made a big gain in the 50 free, with MAU swimmers finishing first, third and fourth to tie the meet at 26-26. Deets the winner there too, finishing in 26.08 seconds. Josh Kunzmann was second for the Warriors, but Paul Becker and McKendrick Bossong were third and fourth.
"It helps a lot to get those points," Deets said. You just go as fast as you can, get as many points you can. I have lots of faith in my teammates to get it done."
Overall winners on the boys side were Deets in the 50 free, Fausto Pinto in the 500 free and the 200 free relay with Thomas, Medvedev, Becker and Anthony Mazzola.
In the 200 free relay, MAU trailed for most of the event until Mazzola closed the gap in a hurry, passing Wahconah's anchor leg, Xavier Wellington, in a flash to grab the victory for the Patriots.
Wahconah won most of the individual events, including the 200 medley relay with Jacob Kunzmann, Neal Schweitzer, Fred Sears and Pedro Santos. Sears won the 200 free and the 100 free, Schweitzer took the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, and Jacob Kunzmann the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
"A lot of the kids get nervous, so I threw them in some events they weren't used to today," Robson said. "I was really proud of them."
After the 500 free, Wahconah led 45-42, but the Patriots' win in the 200 free relay put them ahead 50-49 with three events left.
MAU went 2-3 in the 100 back, tying the score at 57-57 before the Warriors retook the lead after a 1-3 finish of their own in the 100 breast.
That left it to the relay.
On the girls side, the Patriots took the early lead with a win in the 200 medley relay, the opening event of the meet, and cruised from there with 10 wins in the 11 events.
Individual winners included Lily Spencer in the 200 free and the 100 breaststroke, Grace Burhans in the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle, Sarah Ascuitto in the 100 fly, Emily Calder in the 500 free and Emily Ascuitto in the 100 backstroke.
"Some of the kids moved around today, a little bit different for them," Robson said. "But they are pretty versatile."
The lone Wahconah victory came in the 50 free, Sabrina Holland touching first in 28.61 seconds.
"We tried to stay close on the girls side, but they kept getting one or two more points per race on us," Kolis said.
The turning point for the girls came not from the first-place swimmers, but some of the second and third-place finishes.
In the 200 IM, Burhans won the race in 2:39.53, but Sarah Ascuitto ended up second, giving her team 10 points in the process. Later on in the 500 free, Calder rolled to a victory in the longest individual event of the meet, but Summer Nichols finished second, egged on by her teammates and coaches to keep going in the 20-lap event.
"The 500 is the most difficult, you have to pace yourself," Nichols said. "I start at a medium pace and sprint it out at the end."
Nichols did it again in the 100 breaststroke with a third place, finishing in 1:36.85, less than a second ahead of Janna Looney in fourth. In the final race of the day, Nichols helped the MAU B relay of Chayla Greenslet, Olivia Hopkins and Kieran Coope to a third-place finish, about two seconds over fourth-place, to seal a win.
"I think a big part of it is teamwork," said Nichols, a sophomore. "Teamwork is key, the team is cheering you on and individual is the same thing. I work my butt off in practice to finish the best that I can."
Both the Mount Anthony teams are 3-2 overall.
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