Dual-threat Olsen-Stavrakas helps Mavs win first RMAC championship
Friday at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference swimming and diving championships, Kent Olsen-Stavrakas finished eighth in the men’s 1-meter diving final.
Saturday, he anchored a victorious Colorado Mesa men’s 400-yard freestyle relay team.
It was sheer depth and bold event placement that won the first conference championship for the men’s team, which beat out No. 17 Cal Baptist at El Pomar Natatorium, scoring 1,172 points to the Lancers’ 1,059.
On top of the men’s team title, Ron Allen was selected the RMAC coach of the year, Brock Martin the RMAC diver of the year and Jarren Brinton the RMAC freshman of the year.
“The team title is everything,” Allen said. “That’s what we were here for. We prepared all season long for it. The strategy involved with making sure we had the right people in the right events was very important. Lot of different sacrifices made for the team, or going into unusual events — Kent Stavrakas with diving. But all those really paid off and that was our ultimate goal.”
Cal Baptist swept the women’s awards, as well as winning the women’s team title with 1,092 points. CMU finished second with 780.
During the final day of the meet, Justin Hastings was the Mavs’ only individual winner. Hastings won the 200 backstroke with a time of 1 minute, 48.46 seconds, good enough for a provisional “B” cut to the NCAA Division II national meet in Geneva, Ohio.
Hastings led off for the RMAC champion 400 freestyle relay team that also featured Joshua Scheuermann, Rob Eisendrath and Olsen-Stavrakas. Olsen-Stavrakas chased down Cal Baptist’s Robert Nichols in the first 50 yards of his leg, and held on for a win by less than a half-second.
“Depth was the key,” Allen said. “(Cal Baptist has) a better national team than we have, by far. And I don’t mean to slight our top kids at all. But that meet was won on third through 10th place. That’s really where it was won. It was all about depth.”
Martin, along with women’s divers Savannah Craft and Amanda Jennings, have already qualified for the national meet. Allen added there is “no doubt” Olsen-Stavrakas’ provisional qualifying time in the 50 free will secure him a spot at nationals. With Briana Purkapile’s three provisional qualifying times, Allen said he is confident she will earn a spot in at least one event.
“We’re going to focus on nationals for the ones going to nationals,” Allen said. “Other than that, recruiting is the name of the game for the next two or three months.”