After four days of tough competition at the Atlantic 10 Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. the Minutemen brought home their third straight Championship. This marks the eight championship for the team in the last nine years, and 10th under head coach Russ Yarworth. The Minutemen finished with 720.5 points with St. Bonaventure behind them in second with 540 and Duquesne in third scoring 440.5. The Minutewomen notched a fourth-place finish at the Championships scoring 398.5 while Richmond again earned the A-10 title with 742 points.
The final day of competition consisted of three top finishes and even more domination on the diving board. The Minutemen placed four divers in the top eight of the diving competition for the second time in this year’s championships as freshman Jason Cook (Amherst, Mass.) remained perfect all season and at the Championships in the three-meter dive, scoring 343.95 in the event for the top finish. Behind him was junior Byron Johnson (Taunton, Mass.) who finished fourth with a score of 280.00, while junior Adam Duffield (Brookfield, Conn.) notched a fifth-place finish, scoring 273.40 and sophomore John Clark (Westport, Conn.) scored 260.05 for a sixth-place finish.
In the lanes the Minutemen dominated with first-place finishes from junior Justin Brooks (Dedham, Mass.) and junior Juan Moliere (San Juan, Puerto Rico) while also placing in the top eight, eight more times throughout the day. Brooks finished the 1650 free in 15:45.38 earning him A-10 Champion honors for the third time in his career, while Moliere made it two in a row with a win in the 50 free as he finished in 45.33.
Also in the 1650 free, freshman Joey Sbordon (Franklin, Mass.) and senior Brad Sloan (Shrewsbury, Pa.) added top-eight finishes as Sbordon came in second (15:49.02) and Sloan took fourth (16:01.61). Junior Andrew Willbrant (Londonderry, N.H.) added a second-place finish for the Minutemen in the 200 back, finishing in 1:48.33 while Max Butler (Duxbury, Mass.) finished just behind him in third (1:48.49). Junior Dan Backler (Newburyport, Mass.) notched a third-place finish in his first trip to the A-10s as a Minuteman as he finished the 200 breast in 2:04.40.
The Minutemen got off to a slow start on the first day of competition as they sat in second-place after day one, but quickly turned up the heat on day two as the men got their first shot on the diving board. The Minutemen swept the one-meter dive on day two and continued to dominate as they added four more top-eight finishes on day four. Senior captain Nate Bromage (Three Rivers, Mass.) and junior Andrew Willbrant took the competition one step further as they were each named individual champions and earned the Minutemen their first individual wins of the meet. Bromage finished his career with four straight wins in the 100 fly while Willbrant made it three in a row with a win on day three in the 100 back. Willbrant was part of two new school records on day three as his time of 49.61 in the 100 back set a new mark in school history while he was also a member of the 400 medley relay team along with Brian Schmidt, Bromage, and Moliere as they finished in a time of 3:19.34 which set not only a new UMass record but a new Atlantic 10 record as well.
The Minutewomen also dominated in their own as they notched a fourth-place finish for the second year in a row at the Championships and broke six school records. The team was led by two of its senior captains Karen Upperco (Titusville, N.J.) and Christa Narus (Stony Brook, N.Y.). Upperco was the team’s leader on the diving board as she finished first in both diving events, something she hasn’t done since her freshman year at A-10s. Narus added a third-place finish in the 200 fly (2:04.88) on day four to her record-breaking third-place finish in the 100 fly and fifth-place finish in the 200 free that she notched on the third day of competition.
Junior Kathryne Chalikis (Flemington, N.J.) was also a record setter earlier in the Championships as she added a sixth-place finish for the Minutewomen on the final day in the 100 free, finishing in 51.58. Chalikis, along with Narus, Elizabeth Walsh (Marshfield, Mass.), and Jennifer Corriveau (Concord, N.H.), were all members of the third-place 400 free relay team (3:30.42).
Both teams will return to the pool Friday, Feb. 27 as they will compete in the ECACs in Cambridge, Mass.