Swimming and diving win ninth consecutive Horizon League championship – The Oakland Post
The Oakland University Golden Grizzlies men’s and women’s swim team won their ninth straight Horizon League championship in a four-day meet Feb. 16-19 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the 44th in a row for the men’s team and the 28th for the women’s team.
The Golden Grizzlies led through the four days to win their record championships, with the women’s team winning the competition in dominant fashion, scoring 917 points to second-place Milwaukee Panther 598.5, and the men’s team surviving a a late push by the Cleveland State Vikings, winning the game 745 to Cleveland’s 678. This Horizon League showdown also featured hometown IUPUI, UIC, Youngstown and Green Bay.
Led by Horizon League Senior Athlete of the Year Susan LaGrand, the women’s team started strong against the competition, and they never came close. On day one, the Golden Grizzlies took a 115-92 lead. From there, the Oakland women were relentless as they swept Days 2-4 en route to a complete dismantling of the competition in golds, silvers and bronzes as the women Golden Grizzlies won their 28th consecutive conference title, ninth on the Horizon. League.
The Golden Grizzlies men faced one of their toughest challenges yet as they faced a plethora of threats. Oakland started dominating on day one, leading its competitors with 479 points after the first three days.
Day four is when the drama began, as top contender Cleveland State Vikings briefly led the Horizon League champions in points as they pushed to make a late push. Oakland’s Marko Khotynetskyi led Oakland to quell any rebellion as he won several gold medals en route to holding off the Vikings, until a clutch victory in the 200 butterfly by Danylo Hrebelnyi closed the door to their Horizon League rival, and the Oakland Relay team increased the margin, securing the 44th straight title for the men’s swim team. Khotynetskyi took home honors as the best swimmer of the meet.
To go along with championship and top swimmer honors, Oakland’s Jonas Cantrell won Horizon League freshman swimmer honors, and coach Pete Hovland won coach of the year honors, cementing Oakland’s dominance over the season. Although the best prizes and times are mentioned above, that only scratches the surface of the Oakland team winning their ninth straight championship.
Although history shows the titles and accolades Oakland has won this year, gold only tells part of the story. The Golden Grizzlies were a team that mixed young talent with veterans, experience with hunger, but above all, skill with perseverance. Oakland faced tough opponents, some of the best swimmers in the Horizon League, but rose to the challenge with stoic demeanor and tested mentalities. Their nine straight Horizon League titles are an incredible feat, but the Golden Grizzlies have reached the gold standard.