The Alfred State swimming and diving team opens up the 2018-19 season on Saturday when they travel to Penn State Behrend. The Pioneers are looking to make some noise in their third season competing in the AMCC.
Seven of the Pioneers 16 members of the men's team return from the 2017-18 squad that finished 4th at the AMCC Championships.
Junior Ethan Dale (Lock Haven, PA) returns to lead the men's team. He was the AMCC Champion in the 400 IM and was the 2017-18 team MVP. Sophomore diver Austin Miller (Hornell) and sophomore butterflyer Nate Miller (Walworth/Gananda) also will key returners.
Freshmen Alexander Gargano (Hilton), Austin Eckrich (Rochester/Churchville Chili), and Aaron Priel (Arcade/Pioneer) are a trio of newcomers that Coach RC Weston is expecting to do big things this season.
Coach Weston Outlook: "The men's team has a quality group of guys looking to continue building the program. This team came into the season in the best shape of any team I've coached over the past five seasons and my expectations are high for what they can achieve. We will have a tough dual meet schedule because of our youth, but I'm excited to see what this team is capable of when we get to AMCC's in February."
12 of the members of the women's team return from last year. The women's team has finished 3rd in the last two AMCC Championships.
Sarah Stevens (Wellsville) returns after winning both the 1M and 3M diving championships last year at the AMCC Championships. Lauren Earley (Waterford/Shenendehowa) and Kathryn Lewis (Niagara Wheatfield) are key returners and expected leaders in the pool.
Newcomer Jessie LaRue (Livonia) and Julia Urbina (Nesconset/Smithtown East) are expected to make impacts right away in the pool while Leaha Langerman (Wayland Cohocton) will join the Stevens sisters on the diving board.
Coach Weston Outlook: "Our women have a legitimate chance at the AMCC title and we will continue striving for that goal. We will have an idea of what we're up against when we swim at Behrend this weekend. The team is healthy and motivated after falling short last year, and we are returning a very strong core of individuals. Our freshmen have been impactful from Day 1 and they should help take us to the next level."
The Pioneers schedule looks similar to the past two years. After battling Behrend in their AMCC and season opener the blue & gold will spend the next two weeks competing non-conference dual meets vs. SUNYAC competition (Buffalo State & Oswego). The team wraps up November with a home conference meet with Penn State Altoona. December features a home non-conference meet with Cabrini followed by the three-day Fredonia Invitational to wrap up competition in 2018. A training trip to Orlando, FL including the CSCAA Orlando meet starts the 2019 portion of the season in January. The team continues on the road competing at the Erie CC Invitational (1/12), at Franciscan (1/16 - women only), and at Pitt Bradford (1/18) before hosting the 3rd annual Pioneer Invitational on January 19th. The divers will head to Ithaca for the Dick Comanzo Invitational on September 27th to wrap up the regular season. The AMCC Championships will be held at Behrend in mid-February. The NCAA DIII Championships will take place the next week at the Greensboro (NC) Aquatic Center.