By Tim Glon
ADA — The Ohio Northern men's swimming and diving team won the Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season title and posted its 11th consecutive winning season in 2017-18 under 14th-year head coach Peggy Ewald.
The Polar Bears finished 7-2 overall, won the OAC Regular Season title with a 4-0 record and finished second of five teams at the 2018 OAC Championships.
ONU was second by a scant three points, scoring 823.5 points in the 20 events.
Senior Braden Kuhn (Tiffin/Columbian) and sophomore Nolan Huey (Fort Collins, Colo./Fossil Ridge) led the Ohio Northern men at the 2018 OAC Championships at the University of Akron's Ocasek Natatorium.
Kuhn earned All-OAC honors with a school-record and NCAA "B" Cut 493.00 points in the 3-meter diving. He won the event in 2016 with 391.45 points, but the winning effort in 2018 was an Ocasek Natatorium record 602.55 points by John Carroll's Ryan McClelland.
He also set an NCAA "B" Cut mark in the 1-meter diving with a career-best 456.05 points.
Kuhn also became the first Polar Bear since Toby Hertenstein in 1999 to qualify for the postseason in diving.
He finished 18th on the 3-meter board and 26th on the 1-meter board at the NCAA III Central Regional Championships at the University of Chicago.
Huey set three OAC records, four ONU records, surpassed three NCAA "B" Cuts and was named the OAC Swimmer of the Year.
He won the 200 back, 200 I.M. and 400 I.M., setting OAC records and surpassing NCAA "B" Cut in all three events.
Huey won the 200 back in 1:49.93, the 200 I.M. in 1:51.10 and the 400 I.M. in 3:59.65.
He had a 4:04.08 time in the 400 I.M. prelims, then shattered that mark with his 3:59.65 clocking in the finals, breaking the league and school record by more than four seconds.
Huey also broke the ONU record in the 100 back, covering the first leg of the 400 medley relay in :50.53, a full second faster than his previous mark of :51.59.
Huey (twice) and Kuhn were also named the OAC Swimmer of the Week during the season.
The Ohio Northern coaching staff, led by 14th-year head coach Peggy Ewald, was named the OAC Men's Coaching Staff of the Year.
Junior Pete He (Mason) swept the butterfly events as he won the 100 fly in :50.27 and the 200 fly in 1:54.54. He also earned All-OAC honors with a third place finish in the 50 free in :21.13.
In all, Huey and He won five OAC titles each and He was named All-OAC honors in six events at the Championships.
The Polar Bears won three of the five relays with He and senior Ian Simpson (Strongsville) helping with three of them.
The 400 free relay team of Huey, Chapman, He and Simpson ended the Championships by winning the 400 free relay in 3:05.30 to claim the sixth consecutive OAC crown in the event for the Polar Bears.
Northern also won the 200 medley relay, as Huey, junior Anthony Ferrell (Canton/Glen Oak), He and Simpson won the race in 1:32.56.
Simpson also earned All-Conference accolades in the 100 free, finishing second in :46.56, and the 100 back, finishing third in :51.59.
The top three finishers in each individual event and the top two relay teams earn All-Conference honors.
Ferrell earned All-Conference honors in both breaststroke events, finishing second in the 200 breast in 2:06.16 and third in the 100 breast in :57.31.
Freshman Ryan Mow (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) was second in the 500 free in 4:43.07 and the 1650 free in 16:26.95, earning All-OAC kudos in both events.
The Polar Bears made a late charge in the final two events, out-scoring John Carroll 86-54, but could not overcome a 35-point deficit and fell in the closest team race since 1996 by an 826.5-823.5 count.
Simpson, Golba and junior Gabe Rastatter were named Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference in men's swimming & diving for 2017-18.
Award winners must be a sophomore or higher in class standing, maintain varsity status and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50.
Simpson is also a three-time Academic All-OAC honoree and is majoring in civil engineering.
He is a 5-time OAC Champion as part of ONU's OAC-winning relay teams and is a 12-time All-OAC honoree.
In his career, Simpson has scored 245 team points at the OAC Championships meets.
Golba, a mechanical engineering major, is now a three-time Academic All-OAC award winner.
He has been named All-Conference as part of ONU's 200 free relay team three times in his career and was an OAC Champion in the event this season.
He has also posted multiple top-8 finishes in the 50 free, 100 breast and 200 breast at the OAC Championships meet.
Golba has scored 161 career points in his four OAC Championships appearances.
Rastatter, a pre-law major, specializes in the sprint free events.
In his three seasons as a Polar Bear, he has scored 46 team points in the 50, 100 and 200 free events at the OAC Championships.