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Bona men end UMass title run

It all came down to the final race.

The St. Bonaventure men's swimming and diving team clung to a one-point lead over Massachusetts heading into the 400-yard freestyle relay at the Flickinger Aquatic Center Saturday night.

And the Bonnies came up big when it counted, winning the event to capture their first Atlantic 10 championship since the 1998-99 season. It ended a six-year championship run by UMass.

The relay team of Alex Moniot, Roman Margulis, Patrick Doret and Michal Bogacki won in a time of 3:03.49.

On the women's side, Richmond won its fifth straight title with 747 points while Bona was a distant second with 475 points.

Bona men's coach Sean McNamee earned his fourth Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year honor. For the team, it was its third A-10 title, winning the championships in 1993 and 1999.

"We were pretty confident going into that final race," McNamee said. "For it to come down to the last couple of events and have the lead changing on the last night was gut-wrenching. Our guys answered the call. They gutted it out. They've put in all the work for six months. They deserve this and need to cherish it."

The Bona men crowned another individual champion when Adrian Blaszczak won the 200 breaststroke in 2:03.79. Teammate Scott Jordan took second in 2:06.86.

In the 200 butterfly, Bogacki won silver (1:51.74).

Helping the Bona cause was Chris Ekimoff, who took fifth in the 1,650 freestyle, and some timely scoring in the 200 backstroke with Dan Freeland taking fifth, Jim Wood sixth and Ceyhan Guler eighth.

Through the entire meet, the Bona men earned four gold medals -- by Blaszczak (200 breast), Bogacki (200 free), Jordan (100 breast) and the 400 medley relay team.

The St. Bonaventure women crowned a second individual champion when senior Stephanie Belke won the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.43. Meghan King placed fifth in the event.

Also earning gold for Bona was the 400 freestyle relay team of King, Stephanie Karl, Taryn Ahern and Belke with a time of 3:28.57.

Anneli Johnson won a silver medal in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:18.04 -- an NCAA B cut time.

In all, the Bona women won three gold medals with Ahern winning the 200 free on Friday.

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