College Round-up: St. John’s swimmers take second at Big East championship

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The St. John’s men’s swimming team had its best finish in the Big East Championships, placing second behind Pittsburgh Saturday at the Nassau County Aquatics Center in Uniondale, L.I. In recognition of that...

By Dylan Butler

John Skudin had a pretty good weekend.

The St. John’s men’s swimming team had its best finish in the Big East Championships, placing second behind Pittsburgh Saturday at the Nassau County Aquatics Center in Uniondale, L.I. In recognition of that accomplishment, Skudin was named Big East Coach of the Year.

“I’m still up there in the clouds,” Skudin said. “I knew we’d be fighting, but I didn’t know we’d battle for second. After the first day we were in second and knowing we had strong events ahead in days two and three, they just started to believe in themselves.”

The race for second place was extremely close and came down to the final race of the championships — the 400-meter free relay. The Red Storm team of Jerrod Janes, Jack Saavi, Milos Cerovic and Danilo Perunovic set a school record with a time of 3:02.96, good for fourth place as St. John’s edged Virginia Tech by just 11 points.

During the three day competition, the Red Storm, made up of just 12 swimmers, broke 14 school records, set a Big East mark and clocked an impressive five NCAA ‘B’ qualifying times.

“To win on game day, you have to win in practice first,” Skudin said. “To have five NCAA ‘B’ cuts shows the elite level of swimming they achieved this weekend.”

In the 200-meter butterfly Saavi placed third and broke his own school record with a time of 1:48.40. Michal Szapiel took second place in the 1,650 freestyle race with a time of 15:35.72, also setting a new school mark.

Szapiel was also the conference champion in the 500-meter free with a time of 4:25.10, also an NCAA ‘B’ cut time. Perunovic also had an NCAA ‘B’ cut time in the 100-meter breast with a conference record time 55.62.

Saavi also had an NCAA ‘B’ time of 48.10 in the 100-meter fly, setting a Big East championship meet record in the prelims and qualified for the NCAA ‘B’ cut with a school-record time of 1:48.40 in the 200-meter fly.

The 400-meter medley relay team of Cerovic, Perunovic, Saavi and Janes’ time of 3:18.31 was also good for the NCAA ‘B’ cut.

Led by Laura Nuudi, the St. John’s women’s swim team finished 11th in the competition. Nuudi placed ninth in the 200-meter backstroke final with a school-record time of 2:04.10.

Nuudi also broke school records in the 100-meter backstroke (58.10), the 200-meter backstroke (2:04.10). The relay team of Nuudi, Melissa Kolackovsky, Denise Telford and Jen Alger broke the school record in the 200-meter free relay (1:37.80) and the 400-meter medley relay (3:56.23). Nuudi, Alger, Kolackovsky and Elizabeth Malinowski had a school-best time of 7:41.51 in the 800-meter free relay.

Banner week for York’s Smith

While Skudin had a good weekend, York women’s basketball coach Jackie Smith had a great week.

After leading her team of just seven players to 16-6 regular season record — the Cardinals’ best finish since 1993-94 — Smith was named CUNY Coach of the Year last Thursday at a luncheon at the Water Club in Manhattan.

On Saturday, Smith had to leave York’s quarterfinal game against City College early in the second half because she was being inducted into the St. John’s Hall of Fame at the New York Hilton.

The York women rallied to defeat CCNY in overtime, 85-79.

Smith was among eight members, including Bill Wennington, to be inducted this year.

Robinson commits to C.W. Post

Holy Cross gridiron star Dale Robinson signed a letter of intent to play football next season at C.W. Post last Thursday, said his coach Tom Pugh.

Robinson, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker, recorded 212 tackles and 16 sacks over the past two seasons with the Knights, leading the team to the CHSFL ‘AAA’ both years. He also doubled as a running back at times, carrying the ball five times in the red zone, four times for scores. He was unanimously voted team captain.

“It came down between New Hampshire and Post,” Pugh said. “I think he made a good decision. Dale is a great player and a great kid too. He just plays hard all the time.”

Robinson is the first member of the Knights to pick his school of choice. According to Pugh, quarterback Michael Braunstein, cornerback Victor Parsley, defensive tackle Vance Rivera and offensive lineman Chris Musorrafiti are still weighing their options.

SJU women place 10th, men finish 12th in Big East Track and Field Championships

Leading the way for the women in the Big East championships held at Syracuse University over the weekend was Sheba George. The junior from Brooklyn took second place in the weight throw with a 18.20m and finished fourth in the shot put with a 13.04m.

Sophomore Tiehise Shell from Hollis took fourth place in the 200m dash with a time of 24.63. The Jamaica High School grad placed eighth in the 60m in 7.74.

Renee Castelo finished fifth in the multis with 3,442 points. Her 1.63m mark in the high jump was good for fifth place.

The women’s 4x400 relay team of Nicol Corsey, Shell, Castelo and Judy Williams, finished sixth in an ECAC championships qualifying time of 3:52.29.

On the men’s side, George Maringapsi and Dietrech Washington finished third and fourth, respectively, in the high jump. Mariah Mauer took fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 14.41m. Blessing Chimwanda finished fifth in the 500m in a time of 1:04.43.

The 4x400m relay team of Chimwanda, Damian Kenwood, Marley Watkins and Germaine Johnson finished ninth overall in a time of 3:20.32, an IC4A qualifying time.

The 4x800 relay team of Andy Mitchell, Matt Cotter, Abubakar Bangura and Greg Mason also qualified for the IC4A with a ninth place finish at 7:48.76.

— Anthony Bosco contributed to this story

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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