Grider and Willis Lead Tars in Day 1 of SSC Championship

Makenzie Grider
Makenzie Grider

CLEARWATER, Fla. (February 21, 2019) – Senior Makenzie Grider and freshman Sydney Willis both set school records and reached NCAA B cuts Thursday to open Rollins competition at the 2019 Sunshine State Conference Championships. 

SSC Championship Host Site

The Tars totaled 62 points on the first day to sit sixth in the team rankings, just eight points back of Florida Southern and Lynn in a tie for fifth. Tampa (215) leads the way with Nova Southeastern (213) in second. 

Grider had a huge start to her final conference championship, finishing fifth in the 1000-yard freestyle in a time of 10:20.08. She beat the previous school record of 10:20.55 set by Grace Alexander in 2013 and posted a NCAA B cut in the event. Teammate Beatriz Olivieri was 12th in the race in 10:31.15. 

Willis won the B final of the 200-yard IM, finishing ninth in the event with a time of 2:05.16. Her mark smashed the school record of 2:07.90 set by Taylor Wilks in 2014 and earned her an NCAA B cut.

Maya Thompson was 15th in the 50-yard freestyle (24.15) and teamed with Oliveri, Darrelle Pawley and Marisa Gingerich to place seventh in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:48.59.

The SSC Championships continue Friday with the second of four competition days inside the Long Center in Clearwater. Prelims start at 10 a.m. with finals at 6 p.m.