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Keene State Captures Two Championships

Top: Keene State Set 14 School Records at theNEISDA Championship (Photo KSC Swim Team)Bottom: Frank Radlof Scored in Five Events(Richard Orr Photo)
Top: Keene State Set 14 School Records at theNEISDA Championship (Photo KSC Swim Team)Bottom: Frank Radlof Scored in Five Events(Richard Orr Photo)

Keene N.H., 2/18/2008 - Keene State hit the daily double this weekend with two teams capturing championships. On Saturday, the Owl men won the Little East Alliance Indoor track title. The following day, the KSC women ended the six- year reign of Bentley College by claiming the 2008 New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving (NEISDA) crown.

The Keene State men’s indoor track team went from worst to first. After finishing fifth and seventh in last year’s Alliance and LEC meet standings, the Owls won both championships at the University of Southern Maine.

The team titles were decided in the triple jump - the last event of the day. Trailing by three and a half points, sophomore Frank Radlof (Milford, N.H.), who scored in five events, stepped to the line and delivered a winning jump of 13.67 m.

“We had better athletes and were able to put entries in just about all the events,” said KSC Coach Peter Thomas. “It was a team championship. Everyone made a contribution.”

KSC edged Southern Maine 140-131.50 for the Alliance championship and 169-148.50 for the LEC crown. The Owls last won the Alliance meet in 2002.

In addition to winning the triple jump, Radlof also placed second in the high jump (1.95 m) and long jump (5.55 m), finished seventh in the 55-meter hurdles (8.47), and was on the runner-up 4x400 relay.

The Keene State women won five events on the way to posting a second-place finish at the meet. The host Huskies easily defended their title outscoring Keene State 196.50-119.

Senior Jennifer Adams (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) raced to a pair of wins for the Owls. She finished first in the mile (5:02.60) and the 1,000 (3:05.26).

At the NEISDA Championship, the Owls tallied 982 points in the three-day meet to defeat Bentley (900 points). It’s the second New England Championship for KSC; the first was in 2001.

“I’m overjoyed,” said KSC second-year coach Dr. Jack Fabian, who was named NEISDA swimming coach of the year. “Their performances exceeded my expectations. Everyone scored a point. It was a team effort.”

“We were pumped from the beginning and just got on a roll,” said sophomore Jackie Foster, who set three pool marks and four KSC records. “It was a sweet win beating Bentley because we lost a close meet to them (157-143) earlier this season.”

“One of our goals at the start of the season was to win the New Englands,” said senior Kelly Yankowski. “We wanted to be the first team to touch the wall in every race.”

Keene State won four events in the final day of competition. Foster from Bedford, N.H., won the 1,650 free in a pool and school record time of 17:48.19.

Sophomore Kristine Trutor (Holden, Mass.) won the 50 back (28.05), and Yankowski (Turners Falls, Mass.) won the 100 I.M., improving her school record time (1:01.92). Freshman Rachel Mondello (Stoneham, Mass.) joined Foster, Yankowski, and Trutor to set a pool and school mark with the first-place finish in the 400 free relay (3:37.38).

Keene State combined to win 10 races, set 14 school records, and established five pool marks, and garnered 46 All-New England honors. Trutor and Mondello led the All-New England honors parade with seven each.

The postseason will continue for the Owls. In addition to qualifying numerous athletes for the ECAC Open championship at the University of Pittsburgh (Feb. 28-Mar. 2), Keene State could be sending its first women swimmers to the NCAA Division III Championships at the University of Miami-Ohio (March 13-15). Mondello in the 50 free, Trutor in the 100 backstroke, and Foster in the 200 free have posted NCAA provisional qualifying marks in their respective events.

“Everyone put in the effort and the hard work,” said Mondello. “I don’t think anyone will mind that we have to give up part of our spring break to go to nationals.”

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