By Blake Moore
ADA — The Ohio Northern women's swimming and diving team claimed nine event titles Friday evening en route to a 133-101 victory over Ohio Athletic Conference foe Baldwin Wallace inside the ONU Sports Center Natatorium to retain the Golden Kickboard trophy for the 13th consecutive season.
With the victory, the Polar Bears move to 4-2 overall and 3-1 against the OAC circuit. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets fall to 4-5 overall and drop to 1-2 in league action.
Senior Kierra Watson (Brownsburg, Ind.), sophomore Marissa Taylor (Granite Falls, N.C./South Caldwell), and freshman Megan Lubinski (Milford/Brighton) each registered multiple victories to lead the Polar Bears past their league rival.
Watson and Lubinski teamed up with Katey Stuart (Ada) and Kyley Stuart (Ada) to kick off the evening in winning fashion. The quartet would set the tone for Friday's meet via a 200-yard medley relay event title with a 1:54.78 touch in the opening race.
The senior went on to claim an individual event title in the 200 individual medley with a 2:20.47 clocking, just .41 seconds prior to Baldwin Wallace's Erika Nockengost touch. Additionally, Watson swam the anchor leg on the 200 free relay team to join Kyley Stuart, sophomore Kaity Kelly (Fremont/Ross), and freshman Lauren Shaw (Port Clinton) with the second relay victory for the Polar Bears Friday night in the final event, which ensured the Northern win.
Lubinski rounded out her evening with two individual event titles in the 50 free and 100 free sprints. The freshman snuck past BW's Madeleine Pierce with a 25.52 effort in the former while claiming the latter in 55.93, over two seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Meanwhile, Taylor rattled off two come-from-behind victories on Friday evening, capturing the 200 free and 500 free crowns after trailing the Yellow Jacket's Allie Thorson to the final turns in both races.
The Polar Bears would also receive individual event titles from junior diver Libby Sartschev (Parma/Normandy) and swimmer Lauren Halle (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton). Sartschev registered her victory in the 3-meter dive competition, racking up 164.60 points, while Halle dominated the 200 breast event with a 2:37.09 finish to lead a 1-2-3 Northern effort.
Ohio Northern will return to action next Saturday, January 26 with a triangular meet against No. 16-ranked Case Western Reserve and NCAA Division II foe Hillsdale (Mich.) for the final home event this season, which will include the program's annual Senior Day festivities. The Polar Bears were slated to compete at Oberlin this Saturday against the Yeowomen and Ursuline, but due to forecasted winter weather, the meet has been cancelled.