Ridgefield third at FCIACs; Hunt wins two events
Despite finishing first in only one event, the Greenwich boys swim team continued its reign of conference supremacy.
Swimming in their home pool, the Cardinals used superior depth to score 429 points and win a 12th consecutive Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference title Thursday night. It was Greenwich's 48th FCIAC championship in 49 seasons.
New Canaan was the runner-up with 372 points, followed by Ridgefield (328), Darien (249) and Staples (219) rounding out the top five.
Ridgefield, which had edged Greenwich and New Canaan during an unbeaten regular season, got a pair of first-place finishes from sophomore Connor Hunt. Hunt's first individual title came in the 200-yard freestyle, as he touched the wall in a time of 1:41.74 to beat runner-up John McNab of Staples (1:42.43).
“For the 200, I was racing John McNab,” Hunt said. “He put up a great fight, but, luckily, I was able to pull away a little bit at the end.”
Hunt added a more dominating victory in the 500-yard freestyle, placing first in a time of 4:33.06. Runner-up Jake Ritz of New Canaan (4:42.44) was nearly 10 seconds slower than Hunt.
“In the 500, I just tried to go out and take it out as fast as I could and see if I could hold on,” Hunt said. “Kieran Smith (2018 Ridgefield graduate) wanted me to break his 500 record, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get it done.”
Also finishing first for the Tigers was senior Will Bryant, who won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.31 seconds. Right behind Bryant were Greenwich’s Nicholas Malchow (21.53) and New Canaan's Michael Kotlyar (21.67).
Andrew Yu nearly provided another first-place finish for Ridgefield in the 100 backstroke. Yu had a time of 52.89 seconds to take second behind Austin Twiss of Staples (52.41).
Ridgefield got third-place finishes from Luke Hruska in the 200 individual medley (1:56.75) and Linney O'Malley in the 100 butterfly (52.35).
Adding top-eight finishes for the Tigers were Ethan Murray in the 200 freestyle (fifth, 1:44.89); Yu in the 100 freestyle (sixth, 48.70); Matthew Johnston in the 500 freestyle (eighth, 4:58.29) and the 100 backstroke (seventh, 55.92); and Bryant (seventh, 1:00.39) and Hruska (eighth, 1:00.72).
Caitlin Inall also contributed a top-eight individual finish for Ridgefield by placing seventh (407.35 points) at the FCIAC diving championship, which took place last Tuesday at Westhill in Stamford.
All three Ridgefield relay teams finished in the top three in their respective races. Yu, Hruska, O'Malley, and Bryant were second in the 200 medley relay (1:36.86); Bryant, Hruska, Murray, and Hunt placed third in the 200 freestyle relay (1:27.72); and Hunt, Gavin Egerton, Yu, and Murray were third in the 400 freestyle relay (3:13.59).
Contributing points with top-16 finishes for the Tigers were Egerton (12th) and Terry Li (16th) in the 200 freestyle; Presley Milton (15th) in the 200 IM; Luke Mignano (13th) in the 50 freestyle; Murray (11th) and Kai O'Malley (13th) in the 100 butterfly; Egerton (10th) and Mignano (15th) in the 100 freestyle; Li (13th) in the 500 freestyle; and Ryan Contreras (16th) in the diving competition.
Hunt was impressed with his team's overall performance.
“It was great; we all came in not knowing what to expect,” Hunt said. “A lot of other teams had a lot of depth and so did we and we were able to put up a good fight. To be able to get third for us was pretty good.”
Notes: Ridgefield head coach Emmanuel Lanzo was named the Coach of the Year at the championship meet.
MVP honors went to Westhill/Stamford junior Ben Feldman, who won the 100 butterfly and the 100 breaststroke.
David Fierro of Hearst Connecticut Media contributed reporting to this story.