As we enter the third week of the NVSL season the Ninjas are paying close attention to a few teams that have emerged as potential Divisional winners. With 3 meets remaining, a lot can still happen and technically nobody is completely out of contention. In the top divisions, the undefeated teams are on a collision course with one and other forcing them to battle it out for supremacy. This week we have two meets occurring that will leave one team as the lone squad with a perfect record – we are excited to see how things shake out!
*Predictions are based on available data*
The Donaldson Run (DR) Thunderbolts head down to challenge the Crosspointe (CP) Cruisers for what could decide the Division 3 championship. Both teams are 2-0 and have stood out in their first two meets of the season. They will both be challenged by Vienna Woods in coming weeks, but this meet will leave one pool alone at the top of the standings. After winning D4 in 2018 going 5-0, Crosspointe is hoping to keep their win streak alive, while Donaldson Run has proven to be one of the more surprising teams in 2019 after a tough 1-4 season a year ago. The Thunderbolts bring four Preseason All Swim Ninja selections into this meet, as well as a dominant group of 8-under girls and 15-18 boys. CP is well balanced across their age groups with strong 13-14 and 15-18 girls, making for a very interesting meet. DR looks to be slightly stronger, but there are a bunch of very close races in this contest that could change the complexion of this meet from how it looks on paper. To break it down, let’s look at this meet by event.
Donaldson Run is seeded 18 points better in free with many of their top swimmers showing up early in the lineup. DR should jump out to an early lead with big points coming from the 8-u girls Yvelisse Cabocel and Keegan Clark comfortably going 1-2, and Ariana Losos in contention to complete the sweep. CP should bounce back with a win from Chase Brindisi in the 9-10 boys, while Anna Helms and Sophie Powell (CP) hope to hold off Eleanor Wertzler to go 1-2 in the 9-10 girls–only tenths of a second separate this group! Thomas Rodman (DR) and Paul Mullen (CP) will battle it out for 1st in the 11-12 boys race which will be decisive in giving momentum to one side. Rachel Conly and Jack Tsuchitani look to win comfortably before Gracie Jansen (DR) gets a good challenge from Maddie Powell and Caroline Mullen. The DR senior boys hope to pull off a sweep, but expect William Mullen (CP) to fight hard for a few points before Katherine Helms and Phoebe Shapiro score at least 6 points if not more. The Cruisers need to prevent DR from establishing themselves with a few upsets early on to set up a big backstroke event for their team.
Advantage: Donaldson Run
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Crosspointe is narrowly stronger in backstroke and they have a few key places to improve on to help turn things in their favor. DR might win 5 of the first 6 races in back, but CP can swing 4 points if Lilliana Ugalde can overcome the tenth separating her and Diya Redburn in the 11-12 girls race. The Cruisers will get big wins from Frederick Speidell and Katarzyna Nelson in the 13-14 age group where they look good for at least 8 points in both races–keep an eye on lane 1 though because if CP can fire up some outside smoke, Kaden Specht and Domenica Iturralde might be able to drop some time and grab an additional point or two. Phoebe Shapiro and Kelly Derasmo will go 1-2 in the 15-18 girls race, and Marin Ward might be able to edge out Ella Rigoli for another big 3rd place. DR can afford to lose these races because of how they are set up in breast and fly, but they must limit the loss of energy–CP should feel themselves coming back into the meet and that might inspire their swimmers to step up later on. DR needs to take advantage of a big swim from their 15-18 boys and use that to take momentum into breast.
Advantage: Lean Crosspointe
Donaldson Run is slightly stronger in breast and will only give up big points in the 13-14 girls race where CP should sweep. DR should take at least 16 points with their 8-under girls and 13-14 boys and might get a few more points in those two races as well. The 15-18 boys will score points all day for DR, but they appear most vulnerable here, with Dylan Dunn and Brendan Mullen (CP) not far off Henry and Harrison Rehr’s (DR) seed times. Abigail Whelan (CP) will try to knock off Diya Redburn (DR) for another 4 point swing in the 11-12 girls race as they contend for 2nd, while Kayley Davis cruises to victory. Evie Maloney (DR) will need to hold off Savannah Harris (CP) for 1st in the 9-10 girls race to get the Thunderbolts moving in the right direction–CP has a bunch of room to improve, and even flipping 1 3rd to 2nd or 2nd to 1st will make things a lot closer at the end of the meet.
Advantage: Lean Donaldson Run
DR is very strong in butterfly–the Thunderbolts will score about 20 points very quickly with the first 3 races before Savannah Harris and Leilani Teter set CP back on track in the 9-10 girls. There won’t be anyone beating Charlie Greenwood (DR) but Paul Mullen will get 2nd and Nicky Bierstine and Jimmy Egan will have to determine who takes 3rd as both are seeded at 38.40! Many of the winners in fly seem to be set with DR lining up their big names like Rachel Conley, Jack Tsuchitani, Gracie Jansen and Andrew Meighan, but 2nd and 3rd look to be mostly there for the Cruisers. Taking a few additional points in the 15-18 races could really help CP by extending the meet–both teams should win 6 relays, but DR would only need to win 3 if seeding holds. By flipping even 5 points over the course of fly, CP would make DR need to win 5 relays.
Advantage: Donaldson Run
Donaldson Run has more star power, and greater depth in free and fly. As previously stated, both teams look to split the relays, so this is a race to break 180 points (the winning mark is 210.5. The 13-14 girls is the closest relay but CP is 1.5s faster–there won’t be a lot of room to change things once we get to relays, so both teams need to come out and set the tone from the beginning. This meet is going to be close and we expect athletes on both sides to step up as this could be the first time they are really challenged or swimming in consequential races. Crosspointe has demonstrated over the past few years that they have established a championship culture at their pool and it is hard to look past that when making a prediction, but DR has placed a big chip on their shoulder after being predicted by @NVSLStatistics to go 0-5 this summer. For that reason, we are narrowly giving it to the Thunderbolts:
Final Prediction: Donaldson Run 217 – Crosspointe 203
There are going to be lots of great swims and good energy all morning, so be sure to check back here after the meet to see all the race vids and more. We hope both teams compete hard and have fun!