In the debut of the new Aquatic Center at Mylan Park, the West Virginia swim and dive teams made a strong statement.
After a struggling trip to Penn State three weeks ago, WVU was able to hit the reset button this weekend.
The Mountaineers came out firing on all cylinders on Friday night of the West Virginia State Games, winning 17 of the 18 events. The men’s side contributed 908.50 total points while the women added 649.
The state games are made up of all West Virginia colleges and universities including Alderson Broaddus, Davis & Elkins, Fairmont State, Marshall, Salem, WVU Tech, West Virginia Wesleyan and West Virginia.
Juniors David Dixon and Angelo Russo led the way for the men’s side with three wins each. Dixon collected two individual victories and one relay win, while Russo grabbed one individual race and two relays.
For the women, senior captain Morgan Bullock dominated with three wins herself, including two individual wins and a relay victory. Already the program record holder, Bullock swam a 2:02.44 in the 200 butterfly.
Divers, Holly Darling, Callie Smith and Nick Cover each achieved their NCAA Zones scores. Diving coach Michael Grapner gave them high praise.
"This really sets the standard for the team this year, and they really set the bar high. Their energy was high, the attitude was positive, and you could tell they were diving with pride. It's going to be a great year,” Grapner said.
WVU was extremely impressive in the 200 fly Friday night earning the top nine spots. David Dixon was first with a 1:45.41. Trayton Saladin placed second and Jack Frazier was right behind in third.
Day two was no different as the Mountaineers won 19 of 20 events dominating their competition
Morgan Bullock added four more victories and David Dixon won three more races to give WVU a combined total of 3,238.50 team points.
The Mountaineers began Saturday's session with two victories in the 400-yard medley relay. Junior Ally VanNetta, freshman Mathilde Kaelbel, Bullock and senior Julia Nilton grabbed the win for the women (3:52.34), while junior Angelo Russo, sophomore Fausto Huerta, Dixon and freshman Hunter Armstrong won the men's race in 3:18.87.
WVU continued their rout in the 500 freestyle. Sophomore Lauryn Kallay led the women with a 5:06.04, followed by Gursoy (5:10.23) and Pampalone (5:12.05). Saladin paced the men's race, tallying a time of 4:35.15, ahead of junior Max Gustafson (4:42.39) and freshman Zach Boley (4:42.72).
Head coach Vic Riggs was very pleased with his team's performance.
"This weekend was awesome. It was everything we were hoping it would be. We swam very well," Riggs said. "I think there are areas we can continue to improve upon, but the energy from the teams was great.”
This was the fifth time West Virginia University hosted the state games and first since 2017. The men remain undefeated in the state games while the women’s side has only lost once.
Next up is the WVU Invitational on Nov. 21-23 in Morgantown.