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Toh, Øritsland Continue Strong Championships

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — With one day left in the Mountain West Championships, the University of New Mexico sits in eighth place with 393 points.  That’s not the story.  It’s how they have accumulated those 393 points that’s the story.
UNM’s underclassmen continued to lead the way on the third day of the Mountain West Championships, as Nicholle Toh, Hedda Øritsland and Mari Aoki, a freshman and two sophomores, all qualified for A-Finals on Friday night.  Toh and Øritsland finished third and sixth respectively in the 100-butterfly and Aoki was seventh in the 400-individual medley.

UNM’s 200-yard freestyle relay team also finished eighth, netting the team 44 points.  That relay team features a freshman (Toh and Olivia Bishop), a sophomore (Øritsland) and one senior (Breanna Wiercinski). 
Of note, UNM 287 of UNM’s 393 points have been scored by underclassmen, and that’s 73% of its scoring.  Toh was the only freshman in the butterfly A-Final, and she was right on the heels of three-time champion Courtney Vincent of San Diego State.  Aoki was one of three sophomores in the 400-yard IM final as well, showing that UNM’s young squad is scoring well in the meet.
It certainly bodes well for the future of New Mexico swimming under head coach Keegan Ingelido, whose recruiting efforts are already paying dividends.  Toh is UNM’s leading scorer for the meet with 74 points, and Øritsland isn’t far behind with 66.
Here’s how much the young Lobos are contributing in the pool: in swimming only, every individual race point save for two has been scored by a freshman or a sophomore.  It’s a striking reality for a team that finished a program-best fourth last year with a veteran squad.
While the underclassman are holding their own, its not to say UNM’s three seniors have slacked in the least.  Natasha Dark has a senior-leading 33 points, Breanna Wiercinski and Asami Terada have been crucial in UNM’s relays, scoring 50 points between them in those races.  Overall, UNM’s seniors have scored 86, and the group has been hurt by an injury to Talia Passerelli, who would have undoubtedly added to those totals.
The championships conclude tomorrow with the final seven events, the 200-yard backstroke, the 100-yard freestyle, the 200-yard breaststroke, the 200-yard butterfly, the platform dive and the 1,650-free and the 400-freestyle relay.
NOTES: Lobo underclassmen (freshman and sophomores) have accounted for 160 of UNM’s 253 points, 63.2% … Toh leads the team with 36 points, including 20 points in relays … San Diego State leads with 1,058 points.
Lobo Championship Scoring (Relay points split evenly between all four swimmers)
Nicholle Toh 74, Hedda Øritsland 66, Mari Aoki 37, Natasha Dark 33, Olivia Bishop 31, Brenna Wiercinski 31, Bryndis Bolladottir 23, Josie Carpenter 23, Asami Terada 22, Jocelyn Gallais 16, Hannah Tiendas 15, Camila Batista 10, Daphne Scheck 7, Sara Rogers 5.