Saiz earns fourth podium finish at Division II swimming nationals
Colorado Mesa senior Mary Saiz claimed her fourth career All-America honor on Saturday when she finished fifth in the 200-yard backstroke at the NCAA Division II national swimming and diving championships in Birmingham, Alabama.
Saiz was one of two All-Americans for the Mavericks on the final day of the meet. Senior Sam Bryant posted a fifth-place finish in the 1,650 freestyle for his second podium finish of the meet and third of his career at Mesa.
Saiz, who last year was the national runner-up in the 200 backstroke, was in second place after the first 50 yards. She finished in 1:58.54 and was up against a stellar field that included Hannah Peiffer of Queens (North Carolina), whose winning time of 1:54.48 set a national meet record.
Bryant, who entered as the top seed in the 1,650, finished in 15:20.3. Winning the national title was Drury’s Joan Casanovas, whose winning time of 15:11.2 was nearly 5 seconds faster than Bryant’s best time this season.
The Mavericks finished 13th in the men’s team standings with 103 points, with the women finishing 24th in the 37-team field with 31 points.
TRACK AND FIELD
Mesa sophomore Nolan Ellis posted a fifth-place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA Division II indoor track and field championships to give the Mavs their second All-American finisher of the weekend.
Ellis broke his own school record with his finish, vaulting to 16 feet, 10 3/4 inches. He joins D’Angelo Foster, whose seventh-place finish in the heptathlon on Friday also gave him a podium finish.
The Mavericks make a quick transition from indoor track to the outdoor season by competing in the Colorado Slope Battle on Saturday.
Kyle Leahy’s five-hit shutout Saturday helped No. 17 Mesa bounce back from a one-run loss in the opener of a doubleheader against CU-Colorado Springs.
After the Mavericks gave up four runs in the fifth inning to lose 6-5 to the Mountain Lions, Leahy shut UCCS down on five singles for an 8-0 victory. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter to improve to 4-0, and a four-run first gave him plenty of cushion.
Andrew Contreras doubled home JJ Carr an Kyle Serrano followed with an RBI double to get the Mavericks out quickly, and a single by PJ Gonzalez ended up scoring Serrano when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. With Gonzalez at third, Keenan Eaton’s infield single made it 4-0.
In the opener, CMU (13-6, 6-1 RMAC) led 4-2 going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Gonzalez doubled home two runs in the first and Garrett Ball doubled in another in the third. Serrano scored on an error in the fifth, but Chris Ramirez (1-2) ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Matheny’s leadoff double was followed by two uncharacteristic throwing errors by Serrano, the Mavs’ starting catcher, loading the bases.
Ramirez, though, struck out the next two batters before Jamie Crabtree singled, and an error in center by Bligh Madris allowed three runs to score and Crabtree to reach third. Another error, this one a bad throw by Ball at first base, got another run home and gave UCCS a 6-4 lead.
After Ramirez hit the next batter, he was replaced by AJ Landis, who got a ground ball to get out of the inning.
Contreras belted a ground-rule double and scored on Kevan Elcock’s double in the sixth to make it 6-5, but three straight fly balls in the seventh gave UCCS the game.
Colorado Mesa’s duals against Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, were rained out. The Mavericks’ men’s team lost 9-0 on Friday to Newman University and 7-2 to Washburn University in Wichita. The women’s team lost 7-2 to Newman and 9-0 to Dallas Baptist on Friday.