PALATINE HILL -- Two freshmen drove the results for the Lewis & Clark Pioneers in 2015-16, as the Pios won their first Northwest Conference duals since the 2013-14 season with victories over Pacific. Head coach Chris Fantz returns for his 10th season in charge of the program.
Kassie Kometani earned Lewis & Clark's only All-NWC First-Team selection after placing second in the 50 Freestyle at the NWC Championship. She was also a member of the 200 Freestyle relay team that placed third and earned All-NWC Second-Team honors. From that group of four, Kometani's classmate Eleanor Gerrior is back. On the men's side, August Bergh set the school record for a 1,000-yard time after his split in the 1,650 Freestyle at the conference championship was 9:59.13. Bergh surpassed Trevor Schapiro's 10:01.69 from 2013-14 and earned an All-NWC Second-Team choice.
For all the results Bergh brought in during the season, the returning senior class for Lewis & Clark returns a good amount of accomplishments.
Zac Oser was Lewis & Clark's top sprinter a year ago, finishing with the team's top times in the 50 and 100 Freestyle and 100 and 200 Backstroke. He had his best results at the NWC Championship, where he scored points for the team total in the 50 Freestyle and 200 Backstroke, and returns as a team captain this year. Oser is also a member of the school's record-holding medley relay team. Alan Hermanns is the school record holder in the 200 Backstroke and has trained great throughout fall practice. His best backstroke times came at last year's Northwest Invitational. Zach Simon is a leader and impactful teammate, returning for his senior season. He set three season-best times at the NWC Championship last season. A newcomer to the senior class is Dylan Camel, who is a former baseball player.
Four juniors are back for the upcoming season. Kevin Fox led the team in the butterfly and individual medley events last season, posting his best times at the NWC Championship. He is expected to be even better this year through his tremendous work ethic and dedication in the weight room. Jon Torres should improve upon his efforts in the freestyle races last season. He set three season-best times at the conference final. Miles French did not compete as a sophomore after competing in the 200 Breaststroke at the NWC Championship during his freshman season. Jack Bergamini had the team's best time in the event last season, swimming to a 2:27.60 finish at the final event of the year. He's taken tremendous strides each season.
Along with Bergh, Sam Bundenthal, Nathan Bierne and Rowan Gannon are back for their sophomore seasons. Bundenthal broke through some barriers during his freshman season and finished with his year's best time in the 200 Backstroke at the Northwest Invitational last November. Beirne is a hard worker, and like Fox, is in the weight room consistently. He had his best times at the NWC Championship in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke, as well as the 50 Freestyle. Gannon is an ultra-smart team member and was inducted into the Pamplin Society earlier this month. He should compete in the sprint freestyle races this season.
The freshman class includes six new competitors. Matt Jackson joins the team from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and should contribute immediately, as should William Witmer in the breaststroke. Witmer was a NISCA All-American at North HS in Phoenix. Matthew Bress of Laramie, Wyo. is the son of an alumnus and will compete in distance freestyle. Michael Zabrucky chose Lewis & Clark because of the weather and feel of the campus. The Pacific Palisades, Calif. first-year will compete in sprints. Sam Raphael is from Colorado Springs, Colo. and joins his sister, Alex, on the team. He was a two-time state qualifier in the 50 Freestyle and part of his high school's 200 Freestyle relay record-holding team. Ben Virgin is from Anchorage, where he was team captain and MVP for West Anchorage HS. He'll help the Pios in the distance races.
Aspen Johnson, Savannah Wohlstattar, Hannah Smay, Elizabeth Armitage and Katie-Lauren Dunbar are the Pioneers' seniors entering the first meet of the season. Johnson didn't compete as a junior after setting new school records in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke during her freshman season. Wohlstattar should be a contributor in the butterfly and sprint freestyle. Last season, she had most of best times at the Northwest Invitational. Smay, a double-major in English and Environmental Studies, will help the team in the backstroke and mid-distance races. Armitage and Dunbar are highly-involved throughout campus and within the team. Armitage posted season-best marks at the Linfield dual, while Dunbar was the most successful at the Northwest Invitational.
Each member of the junior class was one of Lewis & Clark's top performers in certain events. Alex Raphael, the team's top breaststroker last season, is a team captain this year. She finished with her best times at the NWC Championship in the 100 and 200 Backstroke, in addition to the 50 Freestyle. Lucia Brammer had the team's best times in the 400 Individual Medley and 200 Butterfly. Anna James led the team in the distance freestyle races. Like Raphael, James had her best performances at the conference championship.
Kometani was the team's best sprint freestyler, and in her second season, has become heavily involved in the campus community. She is the secretary for the Lewis & Clark Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the co-chair of the Hawaii Club. Gerrior had a breakout season as a freshman and posted four of her top times in five events at the end of the year. She registered the team's top 100 Butterfly time. Anna DePaepe scored team points at the NWC Championship and specialized in individual medley and distance races. Baergen Schultz is a solid backstroker who has been a really positive fixture for the women's team. Mara Sleeter improved through the year during her freshman season. Claire Megna is a hard-working distance swimmer who posted her four of her best times at the Northwest Invitational last season.
Among the seven newcomers to the team is five freshman, a transfer student-athlete and an international addition. Emily Skaggs was Anderson HS' most-improved swimmer and a TISCA Invitational Qualifier. She's expected to possibly breakout in the mid-distance races. From Boulder, Colo., Megan Houlihan chose Lewis & Clark because of its beauty and small, liberal arts offerings. Samantha Duran is a high-level butterflyer out of Claremont, Calif. She was a three-time MVP for Claremont HS and an All-Area Second-Team selection. She holds the school record in the 100 Backstroke and 400 Freestyle relay. Claire Greene has been versatile so far for the Pioneers. She was part of a district championship team in high school. Liora Gonicman will swim a range of events for the Pios from San Diego's Torrey Pines HS.
Katie Kulp is a transfer sophomore from Livermore, Calif. She competed at Las Positas Community College last spring and should be an immediate contributor for Lewis & Clark. She races butterfly and IM. Natshua Kajii is an international student-athlete who will compete in distance.
After opening with the Sprint Pentathlon and Alumni Meet this weekend, the Pioneers start NWC duals at Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran on Nov. 4-5. The next weekend, Lewis & Clark has its first NWC home meets with Whitworth and Whitman. The Logger Open on Dec. 2-4 is the final 2016 competition.
In January, Lewis & Clark goes to Willamette before home meets with Linfield and Pacific. The NWC Championship will be in Federal Way, Wash. from Feb. 10-12.