New Brunswick, NJ (2/17/12) – Junior Zak Westerberg (Hamilton, NJ / Hamilton North) registered an NCAA Division III “B” qualifying time and helped established two new school records to highlight Montclair State’s first day of action at the 2012 Metropolitan Conference Championships at Rutgers University.
The Red Hawks totaled eight Top 8 finishes on the first of the three-day event.
Westerberg actually posted the “B” cut time twice on the evening. The first time came in the 200 freestyle relay as he leadoff time of 20.89 over the first 50 yards surpassed his school record set during the 50 free event preliminaries. Sean French (Cranford, NJ / Cranford), Joseph Berry (Edison, NJ / Edison) and Thomas Long (Morristown, NJ / Morristown) carried that time the rest of the way as MSU finished fourth with a time 1:25.18 just missing out on the school record by .01 seconds.
But Westerberg wasn’t through setting records for the evening as he then came back to claim fourth in the 50 freestyle matching his NCAA “B” cut and school record time of 20.89 seconds. Earlier in the day, Westerberg broke his own school mark in the event set last season as he went 20.95 seconds, just .02 off the necessary NCAA time of 20.93 seconds. He would get that again in the finals and now has a chance for a potential trip to the NCAA Division III Championships at Indiana University on March 21-24.
Westerberg’s final mark on the record book came in the 400 medley as he along with Donny Keenan (Scotch Plains, NJ / St. Joseph’s), French and Long finished eighth overall with a time of 3:34.06. The time would break the MSU record in the event by six-tenths of a second set during the 2005 Metro Championships by Scott Montgomery, Drew DeCagna, Shane Schwarz and Ricky Miller.
Berry finished eighth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:45.52 after going 4:43.57 in the morning prelims. Long placed 12th in the 50 freestyle (21.50) while freshman Tommy Dreisbach (Denville, NJ / Morris Knolls) was eighth in the one-meter competition totaling 245.30 points in the finals. He recorded a score of 253.50 points in the preliminaries.
Meanwhile the MSU women also had its share of Top 8 finishes and came within an eyelash of a pair of school records.
The 200 freestyle relay team of Ashley Vallone (Park Ridge, NJ / Park Ridge), Jessica Joseph (Brick, NJ / Brick Township), Kelly Abner (Glenwood, NJ / Vernon) and Kelsie Donahue (Egg Harbor, NJ / Egg Harbor Township) finished sixth overall with a time of 1:40.88, just .74 seconds off one of the longest standing marks in program history (1:40.14 set during the 1985 NCAA Championships).
The same group later added an eighth-place finish in the 400 medley relay with a time of 4:08.15 in the finals. The quartet swam 4:07.73 in the morning preliminaries.
Abner took sixth in the 200 individual medley posting a time of 2:13.00 while Vallone placed 11th in the 50 freestyle clocking in at 24.56 seconds.
Donahue came with six-hundredths of a second of her own school record in the 500 freestyle as she recorded a time of 5:22.59 in placing 18th in the event.The Red Hawks continue action on Saturday with 12 more events on tap.