No. 19 Buckeyes to Battle at Kenyon Winter Invite

Alex Norris
Alex Norris

Jan. 16, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 19th-ranked Ohio State women's swimming and diving team (8-1, 1-1 Big Ten) will look to continue building momentum when they travel to Gambier, Ohio for the Kenyon Winter Invitational Jan. 17-18. The meet is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday and will resume at 11 a.m. Saturday. Along with the Buckeyes, teams from Kenyon College, Ashland, Cincinnati and Oakland will compete.

Ohio State returned from the winter academic break in dominating fashion, taking down Toledo, 206.5-93.5. The Buckeyes finished first in 12 of 16 events, moving to 8-1 on the season in the process. Leading the way for the Scarlet and Gray was senior Michelle Williams, who registered four first place finishes. Additionally, senior Kelly Ann Baird and freshman Amy Bopp also won multiple events.

The Buckeyes have been hard at work training for their upcoming slate. The squad looks to progress off a first half of the season, which saw the Buckeyes positioned among the nation's elite.



Ohio State has been particularly effective in relay events with the 400 freestyle contingent of Michelle Williams, Aliena Schmidtke, Alex Norris and Phoebe Cater clocking in a time of 3:17.42 at the Ohio State Invitational. The time currently ranks 13th-fastest nationally and second in the Big Ten.

Individually, distance specialist Kelly Ann Baird holds a Top 20 national time in the 1000 freestyle (18th; 9:53.40). The Buckeye senior is placed fourth-fastest among conference competitors in the event.

Top Buckeye National/Big Ten Times:

59. Michelle Williams (22.81); 7th B1G
100 FREE
50. Michelle Williams (49.44); 7th B1G
200 FREE
53. Aliena Schmidtke (1:46.99); 9th B1G
500 FREE
31. Alex Norris (4:43.16); 6th B1G
1000 FREE
20. Kelly Ann Baird (9:53.40); 4th B1G
1650 FREE
41. Kelly Ann Baird (16:27.04); 9th B1G
100 BACK
128. Annie Gillig (55.11); 15th B1G
200 BACK
77. Annie Gillig (1:58.00); 12th B1G
69. Taylor Vargo (1:02.27); 7th B1G
55. Taylor Vargo (2:13.88); 7th B1G
100 FLY
46. Aliena Schmidtke (53.58); 5th B1G
200 FLY
81. Amy Bopp (1:59.51); 14th B1G
200 IM
78. Ashley Vance (2:00.97); 12th B1G
400 IM
45. Lindsey Clary (4:15.01); 8th B1G
23. Williams, Cater, Schmidtke, Jongekrijg (1:31.40); 6th B1G
13. Williams, Schmidtke, Norris, Cater (3:17.42); 2nd B1G
13. Schmidtke, Norris, Cater, Luchansky (7:13.28); 4th B1G
50. Dona, Dzierzak, Norris, Vance (1:42.18); 9th B1G
55. Davis, Dzierzak, Cater, Baird (3:44.53); 8th B1G

Under the guidance of head coaches Bill Dorenkott and Justin Sochor, the squad has established an overall record of 7-1 record (1-1, Big Ten) thus far this season.

Ohio State opened the 2013-14 campaign with a resounding 195-104 over Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. In all, the Buckeyes had 10 different members earn at least one victory. Sophomore Annie Gillig led the charge with three individual wins, while freshman Amy Bopp contributed two individual victories.

From that point on it was full steam ahead for OSU. Ohio State recorded its second win of the season with a 191-99 performance over Kenyon College in a home dual (Oct. 25). The Buckeyes posted 14 top-times on the swimming side, as well as a pair of wins from diver Taylor Ford.

The Scarlet and Gray only continued building momentum Nov. 1 with wins posted against Cleveland State (252-48), Denison (251.5-48.5) and Virginia Tech (191-109). The quad-meet resulted in 12 of 16 events awarded in OSU's favor. 

Then it was on to West Lafayette, Ind. to face the team's first Big Ten opposition - Northwestern and Purdue (Nov.8). Behind tough, gutty performances, Ohio State defeated the Wildcats, 211-89, but fell to the host Boilermakers, 157-143. Individual first-place finishers for the Buckeyes were Kelly Ann Baird, Lindsey Clary and Alex Norris.

After a competitive Big Ten opener, OSU returned to Columbus to take on Ohio University the very next day (Nov. 9). The Buckeyes defeated their in-state foe, 193-106.

The first half of the season rounded out with the eighth-annual Ohio State Invitational, Nov. 22-24. This season the meet featured No. 5 Florida, Kentucky, No. 12 Virginia, No. 16 Purdue, as well as the then 19th-ranked Buckeyes. After three days of competition, OSU placed third with 616.50 points earned.

The Kenyon Ladies swim team is led by head coach Jess Book. With a record of 4-2 going into their home invitational, they boast wins against Ohio Northern, Grove City College, Case Western and Gannon.

Up to this point, Kenyon holds the No. 4 rank in the Division III polls. Sophomore Katie Kaestner is among the top performers of this team, with honors such as the North Coast Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Week in her favor. During the Buckeyes and Ladies previous meeting in October, Ohio State came away with a 191-99 victory.

With only one loss under their belt, Oakland should feel quite confident headed into the Kenyon Invitational with wins against Big Ten member Illinois. Most recently, junior Tricia Grant was awarded Horizon League Swimmer of the Week honors after Oakland's strong performance at the Eastern Michigan Invite.

Monty Hopkins leads the lady Bearcat's swim team in his 23rd season. Of their most recent wins, UC defeated Houston 168-130 on Jan. 11. A top performer for the Bearcats is promising freshman Jackie Keire, who earned her American Athletic Conference Female Swimmer of the Week award back in Novemeber. The rookie collected four individual wins while anchoring three relay victories and setting two pool records at the Pittsburgh invitational. In Cincinnati's last meeting against the Buckeyes in 2012, Ohio State pulled ahead to a 171-115 win.

Paul Graham is in his 14th season at Ashland University, where he's coached the women's swimming to a fourth-consecutive top-12 finish.

AU most recently swept Urbana the weekend of Jan. 11 with a score of 111-50. Hannah Mattar is a stand out performer for the women's team. In November, she was named GLIAC's Women's Swimmer of the Week to become the first Ashland swimmer awarded the honor this season.

Ohio State maintained a four-year run of top-five Big Ten finishes with a fourth-place effort last season. Adding to that effort were point scorers Kelly Ann Baird, Phoebe Cater, Rachel Dzierzak, Taylor Ford, Kristyn Fulcher, Annie Gillig, Annie Jongekrijg, Katy Luchansky, Alex Norris, Aliena Schmidtke, Ashley Vance and Michelle Williams.

The Buckeyes also bring back four NCAA qualifiers. Cater, Jongekrijg, Norris and Williams will all bring back the experience they gained at the premier national meet.

"We're a very young team from an experience standpoint," Dorenkott said. "The girls have done a good job this summer to get a good start from a training perspective, and that I'm very excited about. We have a couple freshmen who are going to end up being pretty darn good and that's always a positive thing."

Ohio State will face Eastern Michigan and Ball State in Ypsilanti, Mich. Jan. 25. The meet will mark the fourth road trip for the club this season. The next time to catch the Buckeyes at home will be Jan.31-Feb. 1 when Ohio State welcomes Big Ten rivals Michigan and Nebraska to McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.