LEWISBURG, Pa. – Lehigh’s core of sprinters led the way for the Mountain Hawk men’s team on day one of the Patriot League Swimming and Diving Championships. The Mountain Hawks 200 free relay squad won Lehigh’s first Patriot League title in five years, while five swimmers finished in the top 16 of the 50 yard freestyle Thursday at Bucknell’s Kinney Natatorium.
The team of senior Frank Cuzzola, junior Matt Chrzanowski, senior Demetri Karedis and junior Chris Hoke brought home Lehigh’s first relay league title since 2005 as they won the 200 free relay with a school record time of 1:20.05. Navy was leading the finals race after the first leg but was disqualified after their second leg swimmer left the block early. The win snapped a streak of 22 consecutive relays won by the Navy men as Lehigh won the event for the first time since 1998. The first place finish was the first for the Mountain Hawks since Dan Johnson won the 200 yard freestyle in 2008.
Karedis led the way for the Mountain Hawks in Thursday morning’s 50 yard freestyle preliminaries, breaking his own school record with a time of 20.19 seconds. Hoke qualified second at 20.31 seconds giving Lehigh the top two qualifiers for the finals.
In Thursday night’s finals race the Mountain Hawks were denied an individual champion as Navy’s Hugh Davidson edged the Lehigh duo to take gold with a time of 20.21 seconds. Hoke finished second with a time of 20.35 while Karedis took third, just .02 behind. Cuzzola was the third Mountain Hawk to reach the finals, finishing seventh with a time of 21.02 seconds. Chrzanowski and sophomore Martin Kendig qualified for the B final in the 50, with Kendig placing 12th overall with a time of 21.13 and Chrzanowski finishing in 13th just .02 behind.
Sophomore Danny Bennett also reached a championship final, placing eighth in the 500 yard freestyle with a time of 4:32.77. Classmate Eric Sherwood added a team point with a 16th place finish.
Freshman Jacob Hassel led Lehigh in the 200 yard individual medley, finishing in 13th place with a time of 1:53.56. The Mountain Hawks closed out day one with a fourth place finish in the 400 yard medley relay as Kendig, Hassel, Hoke and Karedis teamed to post a time of 3:23.64.
On the diving boards, sophomore Dan Bateman earned three team points with a 14th place finish in the three meter event. Bateman scored 205.25 points.
Lehigh sits in fourth place after day one with 142.5 points. Navy once again is out to the lead with 303 points to lead second place Army by 98 points. Bucknell is third with 170.5 while the Mountain Hawks lead fifth place Colgate by 73.5 points.
The Patriot League swimming and diving championships continue Friday from Bucknell’s Kinney Natatorium. Preliminaries will begin at 10:30 a.m. with finals competition set for a 6 p.m. start.
Men’s Team Standings
1. Navy (303 pts.)
2. Army (205)
3. Bucknell (170.5)
4. LEHIGH (142.5)
5. Colgate (69)
6. American (52)
7. Holy Cross (50)
8. Lafayette (32)