Cusack medals for Viking boys

By: Carolyn M. Hartko
   NORTH BRUNSWICK – Despite St. Joe’s usual dominance of the Greater Middlesex Conference Boys’ Swimming Championships, a sixth-place individual medal and a fourth-place team finish helped to relieve the boredom for the South Brunswick High School boys’ squad.
   In addition, most of the Vikings clocked best times in their events.
   "I was very, very pleased with our performance," Viking head coach John Harding said. "This was another year where we didn’t quite have any superstars or any conference champs. But we had a great bunch of guys that really worked hard all year. And I had a lot of talent. Just because you don’t have a champ doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot of talent."
   Senior co-captain Jon Cusack earned the lone medal for South Brunswick, taking sixth in the individual medley with a personal best time of 2:17.31. Cusack also earned team points with a pb in the 100-yard backstroke (ninth, 1:03.40), and by participating in the "A" 200 medley relay team (5th place), and the 400 freestyle relay (5th place).
   "We were close, in the last relay, to the school record, but we didn’t get it," Cusack said. "But I swam my best times today, so it was a pretty good meet."
   South’s other senior co-captain, Brett Niebanck also had a good, but frustrating day. He just missed a medal in the 200 freestyle (pb of 2:03.48), and placed ninth in the 100 free (pb of 56.33). Niebanck swam on the "A" 200 free relay which came in seventh, and on the "A" 400 free relay (5th place).
   "I think everyone was pleased with what they did," Niebanck said. "I was looking at times, and everyone seemed to be swimming their best. We’ve been working really hard through this season, having a lot of hard practices. So, I think everyone just wanted to show their best today at the GMC’s."
   As usual, St. Joe’s dominated by winning their 26th team title in a row, remaining the only school to ever win a boy’s swimming title in the GMC or Middlesex County. St. Joe’s had 567 points, followed by East Brunswick (285), North Brunswick (162) and the Vikings (121).
   Other Vikings who contributed to the team score included: Mike Nicoara (8th, 100 butterfly; 11th, 50 free; 5th, medley relay; 9th, 200 free relay); Brandon Lee (7th, breaststroke; 9th, ‘fly; 5th, medley relay; 5th, 400 free relay); Justin Cohen (11th, 500 free; 11th, 400 free relay); Dan Gaylord (11th, backstroke; 12th, IM; 11th, medley relay; 11th, 200 free relay); Kyle McKendrick (12th, 50 free; 9th, 200 free; 11th, medley relay); Travis Wardlaw (12th, 500 free, pb of 6:39.93); and relay members Matt Benjamin (5th, medley); Casey Eriksen (11th, medley); Kevin Loester (11th, medley); Jim Gaylord (5th, 400 free; 9th, 200 free); the "B" 200 free squad (Rich Kachman, Bran Orban, Danny Niemzyck); the "B" 400 free squad (Loester, Kachman, Jamie Ruzycki).