Boxers Edges Bearcat Men by Three Points, 88-85

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Pacific University defeated Willamette University in men's and women's swimming on Friday, Jan. 30 at the WU Natatorium. Pacific won the men's competition by just three points, taking an 88-85 victory. The Boxers won the women's meet, 111-85.

Willamette's men fell to 1-6 overall, 1-5 in the Northwest Conference. WU's women went to 2-6 overall, including 0-6 in the NWC. The Boxers improved to 2-5 overall in men's swimming duals (2-4 NWC), while the Pacific women moved to 4-4 on the season (2-4 NWC).

The margin for the Pacific men was earned in the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, which featured a close finish between the Boxers and the Bearcats. Pacific won the race in 1:47.22, as Brandon Mantei touched the pad barely before Michael McGeehan (Fr., Moscow, ID/Moscow HS) completed WU's relay in 1:47.33.

Pacific gained 11 points with the win, while Willamette received four for its second place finish. Although the Boxers' early seven-point lead contributed to the win, Pacific had to rally to claim the victory. Willamette owned a 78-68 advantage with two events to go.

Mantei won the 100-yard breaststroke, with Willamette taking second and third. Pacific outscored WU 9-7 in the event. The Boxers completed the rally by winning the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:39.83. WU recorded the fastest time in the event at 1:38.35, but had to compete exhibition. The Bearcats were unable to field a relay team with swimmers who hadn't already competed in three events.

Willamette won a total of five men's races. James Huang (Sr., Portland, OR/Sunset HS) and Michael McGeehan (Fr., Moscow, ID/Moscow HS) each took first place in two events for the Bearcats. Huang was victorious in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:55.33 and also won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:42.23. His victory in the 500 free was by just 0.59 seconds over Wyeth Yogi from Pacific (5:42.82).

McGeehan led a 1-2 finish for the Bearcats in the 100-yard freestyle, as he completed the event in 51.65 seconds. Matt Tanigawa (Jr., Kailua, HI/Hawaii Baptist Academy) took second for the 'Cats in 52.81 seconds. McGeehan also placed first in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.55 seconds, as he outraced Scott Kimura of Pacific, who registered a time of 23.75 seconds.

John Schmidtbauer (So., Whittier, CA/Whittier HS) of Willamette was the first swimmer to finish the 100-yard butterfly. His time was 56.90 seconds.

Pacific achieved first place in six events. Mantei won two events for the Boxers in addition to swimming the anchor leg on the winning 200-yard medley relay team. He was first in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:50.34 and finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.53.

In the women's events, Willamette trailed the Boxers by just five points, 83-78, with two events remaining. Pacific clinched the victory by earning first and second place in the 100-yard breaststroke and taking first and third in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Kristen Favillo won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:15.75, with teammate Alex Prigge claiming second place in 1:16.53. The Boxers won the 200 free relay in 1:50.25.

Overall, Pacific's women earned first place in seven events. Favillo gained two victories -- her win in the 100 breaststroke, plus first place in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:06.69. Also for the Boxers, Becky Hattersley won the 50-yard freestyle in 26.51 seconds and the 100-yard freestyle in 57.38 seconds.

Hanna Connett (So., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) achieved two victories for the Bearcats. She won the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 5:09.43. She took first in the 500-yard freestyle by clocking in at 5:44.37. Teammate Jenna Larrow (Jr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) took second in the 500 free in 5:46.57.

Larrow completed a strong showing in the distance events by winning the 1,000-yard freestyle. She recorded a time of 11:42.36 to win by about 23 seconds.

Gwen Schulze (Jr., Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS/Austin College) also won for Willamette. She completed the 100-yard butterfly in 1:02.19.

Willamette will close out its dual match schedule by hosting Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Jan. 31. The Northwest Conference action will start at 1 p.m. (PST).

Pacific University 88
Willamette University 85

Pacific University 111
Willamette University 85
Michael McGeehan won the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle for WU.

Michael McGeehan won the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle for WU.

Hanna Connett finished first in the 400-yard I.M. and the 500-yard freestyle.

Hanna Connett finished first in the 400-yard I.M. and the 500-yard freestyle.