NP boys dunk Classical for first victory

NP boys dunk Classical for first victory

North Providence junior Jeff Lyman is on his way to victory in the 100-yard butterfly during last Thursday afternoon’s Division II meet against Classical. (Breeze photo by Eric Benevides)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The third time was the charm for the North Providence High boys’ swim team.

After dropping its first two Division II meets of the season, the Cougars finally broke into the win column last Thursday afternoon by posting a 61-42 win over Classical High at the North Providence Pool & Fitness Center.

Seniors Jimmy Dionne and Josh Pineda, juniors Jeff Lyman, Ryan Kudish, and Cameron Cesana, and freshman Cam Erickson supplied the heroics for the Cougars in a close meet with the Purple that wasn’t decided until the second-to-last event on the docket, the 100-yard breaststroke.

Ahead by a point, 38-37, the Cougars went 1-2 in that event to increase their lead to 45-38, as Erickson picked up the first individual first place of his high school career in a 1:24.46 time and Pineda, who usually scores points in the freestyle events, placed a surprising second to put NP firmly in the driver’s seat.

The Cougars then iced the victory by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay in 4:23.26 behind the team of Kudish, Cesana, Dionne, and Lyman.

“That 1-2 in the breaststroke was really the deciding factor in the meet,” added NP head coach Crystal Bozigian. “We knew Cam would swim it well, but Josh had never swam that event for us. Yesterday at practice, he said, ‘Let’s do a time trial.’ He typically swims the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles, but he’s also good at the strokes, so we figured, ‘Where can we start putting him and maybe see some results?’”

Pineda had an excellent meet that not only saw him capture 200-yard freestyle in 2:30.20, but also swim the first leg on the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Cesana, Erickson, and Kudish that won in 2:00.09 (and give NP a 34-33 lead), as well as qualify for next month’s state meet in the 50-yard freestyle.

Pineda’s solid performance earned him the chance to wear the Cougars’ popular “Angel Jacket” for the next four days. It’s the double-XL championship jacket of a former swimmer on the Cougars’ 2013-14 boys’ team that won the Division III championship that season.

The Cougars also won four other individual events, as Dionne captured the 100-yard freestyle (1:05.75), Lyman seized the 100-yard butterfly (1:07.28), and Kudish was first in the 500-yard freestyle (5:13.04). Erickson (200-yard freestyle), Kudish (200-yard individual medley), and Lyman (100-yard backstroke) added runner-up finishes.

Unfortunately, the news wasn’t as good for the NP girls’ team, which fell to 0-3 after suffering a 53-41 loss, but the Cougars received strong meets from sophomore Ally Azevedo and sophomore Marie Sinyan.

Azevedo, who set three school records as a sophomore in the 100-yard (58.85), 200-yard (2:10.71) and 500-yard (5:54.93) freestyles, won the 200 freestyle for the third time in as many meets, doing so in a 2:35.44 time, and Sinyan won the 50 freestyle (33.46 seconds), placed second in the 100 breaststroke), and anchored NP’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of juniors Mabel Huynh, Mya D’Amico, and Victoria Winter to victory in 2:24.

Contributing second places were freshman Erin McKeen (200 freestyle), Huynh (200 I.M.), D’Amico (50 freestyle), and Winter (100 backstroke).

“I’m really proud of the girls for coming as close as they did,” remarked Bozigian. “Our girls’ team has only two wins in the past couple of seasons, and I give them so much credit for the hard work that they put in, even though the results aren’t always in their favor.”

Once again, the Division II field appears to be a challenging one, with Middletown, Lincoln, Portsmouth, and the Narragansett girls’ team expected to be among the top teams, along with RIIL newcomer Wheeler, which comes over from the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC).

“The teams we faced at the beginning of the season, Portsmouth and Wheeler, are upper-tier Division II (teams), and we’ll see Lincoln and Middletown at the end of the season,” said Bozigian, who has 15 boys and 17 girls on her roster. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to win a few more meets and get some more swimmers to qualify for the state meet.”

The Cougars’ next meet is on Thursday, Jan. 19, as they face Rogers in a 6 p.m. meet at the Newport Boys’ and Girls’ Club.