CLIFTON PARK — One of the smallest teams in the pool came away with the biggest prize Saturday at the Section II Division 2 girls’ swimming and diving championships.
Gaining clutch victories in a pair of relay races and scoring key points in several individual events, the 4-year-old merged Duanesburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo program beat out some of the area’s more established teams to secure its first title at the Shenendehowa Aquatic Center.
“I was as surprised as anyone,” said Duanesburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo coach Walter Armstrong, who has a roster of 12 — 10 of whom made it to Saturday’s finals. “We ran the numbers and knew it was going to be close. For the girls to do this, it’s phenomenal.”
Duanesburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo totaled 343 points to Mohonasen/Schalmont’s 309 and Queensbury’s 298. Queensbury won the 2019 Division 2 title when Mohonasen/Schalmont was second and D/BKW placed third.
There were no sectionals last school year due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have been working our way up,” said Duanesburg/B-K-W senior captain Bethany Short, who could not compete due to a shoulder injury. “We’ve been together since we were little kids and we’ve progressively gotten better and better.”
Duanesburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo went 5-1 in Colonial Council dual meets with that loss coming by two points to Mohonasen/Schalmont before its strong efforts in Friday’s preliminaries and Saturday’s finals.
“It’s crazy. It’s mind blowing,” Duanesburg/B-K-W senior captain Kristen Johnson said of her team’s triumph.
Duanesburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo finished off the meet with a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay, as Becca Wright, Alexandria Bard, Emma Lindecke and Maura O’Donnell clocked a 3:49.41 to top foursomes from Mohonasen/Schalmont (3:51.25) and Queensbury (3:51.68).
Just before that, O’Donnell and Lindecke placed second (1:13.11) and fourth (1:13.47), respectively, in the 100 breaststroke, and right before that, Abigail Nelson was fourth (1:04.29).
in the 100 backstroke.
“We were getting nervous near the end,” Johnson said. “We said we’ve got to really step it up. We pumped up our energy. We cheered really loud. It was exciting.
“All of our swimmers put their whole heart into this.”
Nelson, Paige Kropp, Maris Mitchell and Bard joined for a 1:47.92 to win the 200 free relay. In other individual events, Mitchell and Bard placed third (2:06.53) and fourth (2:06.70) , respectively, in the 200 free; Lindecke and Nelson were second (2:17.83) and fourth (2:28.96), respectively, in the 200 individual medley; O’Donnell was second (25.62) in the 50 free; Bard was third (57.91) in the 100 free; and Kropp was fourth (5:52.36) in the 500 free.
“All I ever ask is that they give their best,” Armstrong said. “At the end of the day I want them to have good times and feel good about themselves.
Nelson, O’Donnell, Lindecke and Wright (1:59.43) placed fourth in the 200 medley relay to kick off Saturday’s finals.
“We’re super, super excited,” said Lindecke, Duanesburg/B-K-W’s third senior captain. “It took a lot of hard work in the pool. Every day putting our heart into it. Trying to do everything perfectly.”
Amanda Jurgelon of Mohonasen/Schalmont won the 50 free (24.81) and 100 free (53.22), and will compete in both events at the Nov. 19-20 state meet at Ithaca College. Mohonasen/Schalmont’s Abigail Dusseault won the 500 free (5:31.04). Jurgelon, Vittoria Carney, Abigail Sellnow and Lia Cox gave Mohonasen/Schalmont another victory in the 200 medley relay (1:54.86).
Duanesburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo 343, Mohonasen/Schalmont 309, Queensbury 298, Emma Willard 271, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 245, Glens Falls 150, La Salle 145, Holy Names 139, Gloversville/Mayfield 109, Fonda-Fultonville 17, Catholic Central 17.
200 medley relay — Mohonasen/Schalmont (Jurgelon, Carney, Sellnow, Cox), 1:54.86; 200 free — Fink (RCS), 2:04.04; 200 M — Lawler (HN), 2:12.40; 50 free — Jurgelon (M/S), 24.81; Diving — Bardack (EW), 343.75; 100 fly — Bearor (Q), 1:00.37; 100 free — Jurgelon (M/S), 53.22; 500 free — Dusseault (M/S), 5:31.04; 200 free relay — Duanesburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo (Nelson, Kropp, Mitchell, Bard), 1:47.92; 100 back — Bearor (Q), 1:00.66; 100 breast — Lawler (HN), 1:08.70; 400 free relay — Duanesburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo (Wright, Bard, Lindecke, O’Donnell), 3:49.41.