BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – CSU Bakersfield’s swimming and diving teams hosted their final dual meet of the season as the Roadrunner women bested NCAA Division II standout Fresno Pacific while CSUB’s men fell to the Sunbirds at the Hillman Aquatic Center. The highlights of Senior Day included four wins for senior Paola Hernandez and diving records broken by senior Carlee Burks and junior Brayden Greenwald.
“After a meet like that, I’m very sad that it’s Paola’s last,” said Chris Hansen, CSUB’s Director of Swimming. “Maddie Cosgrove and Jayssie Haynes both had really good meets again. Our last relay was the fastest of the entire dual season. It’s nice to see them trying to grab Paola’s spot. Hannah Chernabaeff is doing a good job of trying to replace Carlee and Melissa Gore. It was a good meet for the women.”
The 'Runner ladies defeated the Sunbirds 161-139 on Saturday at the Hillman Aquatic Center. CSUB’s men fell behind in the middle of the meet and were unable to catch the FPU in a 173-121 loss.
“Hansen went on to comment on the men’s loss to the Sunbirds: “Lovre Soric was excellent as usual. Fresno Pacific has a lot of international kids and we don’t have the resources for that anymore. We are still young and we are not graduating a lot of points. I’m looking forward to bringing in another good class.”
Hernandez, a native of Lompoc, Calif., won all three of her individual events before leading the ‘Runner women to a strong relay victory to wrap up the meet. CSUB was leading by just eight points with only two races remaining when Hernandez took control of the 200 IM on the final leg and cruised to a nearly two-second victory (2:06.23) to help the ‘Runners secure the dual win. The senior also earned wins in the 100 (52.24) and 200 free (1:53.54) before leading the 400 free relay to a victory and a dual-season best time (3:30.94).
Burks, a senior from Bakersfield, already owned the school’s 3-meter springboard record and took over the top spot on the 1-meter on Saturday. The Centennial High School graduate earned a victory on the 3-meter board (307.20) before breaking the 11-year-old 1-meter record with a 57-point victory. Burks’ score of 311.48 is also the best score in the Western Athletic Conference this season and the senior now boasts the league’s top marks on both boards.
Chernabaeff, a sophomore who walked on to the team a year ago, finished second behind Burks in both diving events. Her 3-meter score of 291.08 was a new personal best and ranks the Bakersfield native fourth all-time for the ‘Runners.
Cosgrove, a freshman from San Diego, Calif., won the 200 fly with a time of 2:07.26. She also finished fourth behind Hernandez in the 100 free (53.99) and helped the ‘Runners win the 400 free relay. Haynes, another freshman, finished second in the 500 free (5:11.05) and third in the 1000 free (10:39.87) and 200 free (1:55.28).
On the men’s side, Soric earned a double with wins in the 100 (51.68) and 200 back (1:51.53). The native of Croatia went on to finish second in the 200 IM in one of the most exciting races of the day. Soric lost out on first place by less than a tenth of a second (1:54.97).
Greenwald, who was already CSUB’s record holder on both springboards, outdid himself on Saturday. The native of Henderson, Nev. finished second on the 1-meter board with a solid score of 306.50 points, but would not let the disappointment slow him down. The junior went on to win the 3-meter board, breaking his own school record with a mark of 349.72. Greenwald is now second in the WAC this season in the event.
The Roadrunners will begin tapering and resting in preparation for the WAC Championships next month. CSUB and the rest of the league will meet in Houston, Texas, Feb. 22-25, to battle it out for team and individual championships. The ‘Runner women were able to snag three relay titles at the WAC meet a year ago.
“We’re looking forward to the WAC,” Hansen said. “Our men have had a disconnect throughout the whole season and we still haven’t really gelled together as a group. I think that, once we get to that atmosphere, I’m not too worried about it. For the women, those relay titles that we had in the past, I don’t think are out of reach this year.”