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Wellsville swims past Dansville for 2-0 start

Staff reports
Wellsville's Kaylee Oswald swims a portion of the 500 freestyle relay Thursday against Dansville.

WELLSVILLE — With Dansville’s roster limited to a handful this fall, Wellsville took advantage and gave some young Sea Lions the chance to shine in a 72-55 win over the visiting Mustangs Thursday night. 

“It’s good experience for these girls who normally have to swim exhibition and don’t get to see the limelight,” said Wellsville head coach Steve Hand. “For us to be able to take advantage of that was kind of neat for us tonight. I have a ton of respect for those girls from Dansville sticking with it not having a pool. It’s pretty impressive they even have a team this year. Hats off to them. Chris has got a strong program and they’ll be back next year.” 

Morgan Mattison, Allie Bidzerkowny, Grace Kinnicutt and Emily Budinger started the night off with a win in the 200 medley relay (2:13.62). Emily Budinger later won the 50 freestyle (30.13). Sarah McCormick took the 100 freestyle (1:12.07), while Hayden Waldon won the 100 backstroke (1:11.12). 

Wellsville's Grace Kinnicutt competes in the 200 IM Thursday night against Dansville.

Kaylee Oswald was first in the diving event (157.8). 

“Our diving staff looked pretty good tonight. They’re still working on some higher DOD dives and getting used to those,” Hand said. “Hopefully those numbers are going to go up a little higher. Swimming-wise, we’re still not quite in shape yet. We’re working at it. Times are decent for now but I’d like to see a little faster. Not having as much practice time is having an effect. Hopefully we can maximize what we’ve got. Sectionals is still up in the air, which is kind of frustrating because this is one of the years we’d have a run at it. We’re keeping our focus each day, showing up and working hard. That’s all we can do this year.” 

Some of Wellsville’s veterans swam exhibitions with the Lions declining to score points in several events. Ellie LaBenne had the top time in the 200 free (2:25.46) and the 500 free (6:30.64), Tiernee Brandes bested the field in the 200 IM (2:40.83), Lauren Staba was quickest in the 100 freestyle (1:01.06) and Grace Kinnicutt led the 100 breaststroke (1:25.76). 

For Dansville, Ella Frazer won the 200 freestyle (2:30.84) and the 500 freestyle (6:37.29). Kaitlyn Lee took the 200 IM (3:01.68) and beat everyone in the 100 butterfly (1:18.25). Abi Kendall added a Mustang victory in the 100 breaststroke (1:36.41). 

Frazer, Kendall, Lee and Michelle Jefferson teamed up to win the 400 freestyle relay in the final event of the night for the Mustangs. 

Dansville's Abi Kendall competes in the 100 breaststroke Thursday night in Wellsville.

Wellsville (2-0) has its first road trip Tuesday, visiting Hornell. The Lions then host Haverling Thursday. 

“It’s two teams with numbers not quite where we’re at, so I think I’ll give the younger girls some more chances and try to figure out where they would fit into sectionals,” Hand said. “We know where the older girls are going to be and their times are there. We’re just kind of experimenting. With only six meets, you’ve got to try to maximize when you can.” 

Note: Due to early print deadlines, this story will appear in print in The Sunday Spectator. 

Kennedy Ewing competes for Wellsville Thursday night.
Dansville's Michelle Jefferson competes in the freestyle Thursday night in Wellsville.
Tiernee Brandes competes for Wellsville Thursday night.
Hayden Waldon competes for Wellsville Thursday night.