By Blake Moore
AKRON — Senior Kierra Watson (Brownsburg, Ind.) and juniors Lauren Halle (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) and Libby Sartschev (Parma/Normandy) each captured individual event titles for the Ohio Northern women's swimming and diving program Saturday evening on the third and final day of the 2019 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships inside Ocasek Natatorium in Akron.
The Polar Bears finished third in the five-team field with 636 team points. John Carroll won the meet with 800 points, and Mount Union placed second with 723 points.
Over the three-day meet, Northern won five of 20 contested events.
The program also recorded 14 All-OAC honors during the championship meet. The top three individuals and top two relays in each event received All-OAC recognition.
One day removed from capturing her first OAC title, Watson bested the 200-yard back field with a 2:06.23 clocking to sweep the two individual back events in the meet. The Brownsburg, Ind. product trailed reigning event champion Lauren Oktavec (Mount Union) after the first two lengths, but rallied from behind for a one second victory.
Watson concludes her Ohio Northern career with two OAC crowns and 16 All-OAC kudos.
Halle claimed her third successive 200 fly title and fifth career OAC crown with a 2:10.45 touch. She and freshman Mya Parsons (Castle Rock, Colo./Arapahoe) ended 1-2 in the event to secure All-OAC accolades.
After earning her first career All-OAC honor Friday in the one-meter dive, Sartschev received her first conference title in the three-meter dive competition with 282.95 points. She became the leader after the fourth dive in the 11-dive event and never relinquished her lead throughout the remaining competition.
With her efforts over the weekend, Sartschev was also named the OAC Diver of the Year for the first time in her three-year career.
During the weekend's final event, sophomore Marissa Taylor (Granite Falls, N.C./South Caldwell), Halle, freshman Megan Lubinski (Milford/Brighton), and Watson finished second in the 400 free relay. The team moved up from fourth place after the first two legs were completed to clock a 3:37.54 and earn All-OAC honors.
In the 100 free event, Lubinski registered a fourth-place performance, reaching the wall in :54.46 to lead four Ohio Northern placers in the event.
Meanwhile, Taylor took home fifth in the 1650 free event with an 18:21.51 clocking to kick off the final session.
The Polar Bears now await the release of the NCAA Division III National Championships qualifying list. The top 16 individuals on the national performance list in each event will receive bids to the championship meet, which is slated for March 20-23 in Greensboro, N.C.
Team Standings (Final):
1. John Carroll 800, 2. Mount Union 723, 3. Ohio Northern 636, 4. Baldwin Wallace 560, 5. Wilmington 248