Akron is back, thanks to Hannah Raspopovich.
The Crown Point grad won the 50 freestyle two times — they had to redo the event when a camera man dropped a lens near the starting block — to lead Akron to its first-ever Mid-American Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships title in Geneva, Ohio.
Raspopovich was also part of two winning relays (200-yard free freestyle and 200-yard medley) and added a second in the 400-yard free relay. The sophomore standout scored 46 points on her own to lead Akron, which came in last place in last year’s meet.
Elsewhere, Ball State’s Bridgette Ruehl won the 200 breaststroke in a pool record time of 2 minutes, 11.89 seconds. The senior also won the 100 breaststroke.
Other locals who competed at the MAC meet were Ball State’s Sumaiyah Ahmad (Lowell), Stacey Wierman (Munster) and Elaine Pitsas (Munster) and Eastern Michigan’s Carley Jackson (LaPorte) and Karly Taylor (Munster).
* Washington University (St. Louis) freshman Lauren Carlos (Crete-Monee) was second in the 100 butterfly (57.89), and bettered that time in a time trial for the event with a B-cut time of 57.68 at the Midwest Invitational to qualify for the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis March 19-22. Carlos also made the cut in the 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay.
In a bout filled with controversy Saturday at the Big 12 Championship, Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe (Hanover Central), the top-ranked 174-pounder in the nation, lost to No. 2 Chris Perry of Oklahoma State, 3-2. The referees awarded Howe a couple of takedowns before reversing the calls following review. Howe handed Perry his only loss of the season on Dec. 1. Howe was named to the Academic All-Big 12 first team.
* Northwestern's Jason Tsirtsis (Crown Point), a redshirt freshman, won the 149-pound title at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday. Tsirtsis beat No. 1 seed Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska 6-2 in the finals. Earlier, Tsirtsis knocked off No. 2 seed Nick Dardanes of Minnesota, 4-2, in the semifinals.
* University of Southern Indiana’s Aaron Nelson (Bloom) was named the Player of the Year in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Nelson averaged a double-double for the year as he topped the nation at 13.2 rebounds per game, while ranking fourth in the GLVC in scoring at 19.8 points a contest.
The senior forward had an impressive 22 double-doubles in 25 games this season, which was second nationally.
* Calvin junior guard Jordan Brink (Illiana Christian/Dyer) was named to the All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association first team. Brink averaged 15.9 points per game in league play and connected on a conference-best 92.7 percent from the free throw line. Prior to the honor, he was named the MIAA Player of the Week after averaging 21.0 points and 5.0 assists as he lifted Calvin to the MIAA tournament championship. The junior guard scored 21 points and hit 5-of-12 3-pointers and 11-of-13 free throws in a 78-53 victory over Hope. He also hit 47.7 percent of his 3-pointers and helped lead the Knights to an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament for the second straight year.
* Charles Cooper (Lew Wallace) had 19 points and nine rebounds, and BJ Jenkins (Merrillville) added 12 points as Neosha County (Kan.) Community College advanced to the Region VI quarterfinals in the NJCAA Division I Tournament.
* Oklahoma Baptist junior Aaron Abram (Lew Wallace) was named the NAIA National Division I Men’s Player of the Week. He scored 41 points on March 1 in an 84-70 victory over Oklahoma City. He hit 11-of-19 shots and added nine rebounds. For the week, he averaged 32.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Olivet's Stefanie Lang (Valparaiso) was named first-team All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association after averaging 18.7 points and being named the conference's rebounding champion at 12.9 boards per contest. The junior was also the league leader in total blocks (28), blocks per game (1.75) and also ranked among the league leaders in field goal percentage (second, .537) and free throw percentage (eighth, .742).
Lang broke the single-season school record for points (526), field goals made (217), field goals attempted (405), rebounds (348) and blocks (44). She also tied among NCAA Division III leaders with 22 double-doubles. She also owns the school record with 43 points and 27 rebounds in a game.
* Saint Mary's senior Shanlynn Bias (Griffith) was named to MIAA all-conference second team. She averaged 15.8 points per game and had the best field goal percentage (51 percent) among non-post players. She was sixth in assists (48) and free throw percentage (77.1 percent), while tying for eighth in steals (26).
IPFW freshman Tori Nida (Lowell) ran the 400-meter leg of the distance medley relay, which finished second, marking the first all-conference finish in school history in the event at the Summit Indoor Track Championships in Fort Wayne.
IPFW’s 1,600 relay, which was anchored by Nida, finished sixth, but broke the Mastadon’s indoor relay record.
* IUPUI’s Rachel Zajac (Lake Central) was fourth in the 5,000-meter run at the same meet.
* North Central’s Ebony Stallworth (Thornwood) won the shot put with a toss of 44-2½ at the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Indoor Championships. She was also third in the weight throw. Millikin University’s Amanda Morgan (Homewood-Flossmoor) also earned all-conference honors with an eighth-place finish in the shot put.
Washington University (St. Louis) junior Luke Dobben (Homewood-Flossmoor) recently qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships after setting a school record in the 200 butterfly with a B-cut time of 1:50.16 in the prelims at Emory University in Atlanta. He also posted a season-best and B-cut time of 4:27.41 in the prelims of the 500 freestyle, and has qualified in the 1,650 freestyle.