Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Houston Swimming and Diving to Host C-USA Championship this Week

From University of Houston Media Relations Office

Some of the nation’s finest collegiate swimmers and divers will visit Houston this week to take part in the 2007 Conference USA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship and Men’s Invitational at UH’s own Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium.

The meet opens at 3 p.m., Wednesday with the preliminaries of the men’s 1-meter diving. Finals of the 200-yard medley relay, men’s 1-meter diving and 800-yard freestyle relay are slated to start at 6 p.m.

The meet kicks into high gear with preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m., Thursday. Thursday’s schedule includes the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle. The preliminaries for the women’s 3-meter diving are slated to begin around 1 p.m.

Finals for those events plus the 400-yard medley relay will begin at 6 p.m., Thursday.

In addition to the host Cougars, the meet features both the men’s and women’s teams from SMU and East Carolina and the women’s teams from Rice, East Carolina and Marshall. Hawai’i also will be competing on the men’s side.

Tickets will be available for purchase near the front of the CRWC Natatorium beginning one hour prior to the meet Thursday morning. All-session passes are available for $25 for adults or $10 for students with valid ID. Day tickets can be purchased for $10 for adults and $5 for students with ID. Students from any C-USA school with a valid free will be admitted free to the meet.

There will be no admission price for fans wishing to attend Wednesday’s sessions. Fans attending any session beginning Thursday morning will be charged accordingly.

Fans can buy an official C-USA meet program and that session’s heat sheet for only $5 beginning Thursday morning. Fans who buy a program and present it to sellers prior to each session can purchase additional heat sheets for future sessions for only $3 each.

This marks the fourth straight season that the Cougars have played host to the C-USA Women’s Championship and Men’s Invitational. UH is the only C-USA school to host the annual event at an on-campus site.

In 2006, SMU earned the women’s championship during its first year in the league. The Mustangs, who are ranked No. 12 in the latest CollegeSwimming.com poll, set nine meet records to earn the convincing win.

East Carolina finished second with 587 points a year ago, but the Cougars were a close third with 585 points. Rice, Tulane and Marshall rounded out the rest of the field.

On the men’s side, the Mustangs scored 974 points to sweep both crowns. East Carolina finished second with the Rainbow Warriors coming in third.

This will be the Cougars’ first meet since taking a 46-44 win at New Orleans on Jan. 28. That relay-meet win pushed the Cougars’ overall record in 2006-07 to an impressive 18-6 mark, doubling the previous single-season record win total.

Senior captain Szintia Szanto will take part in her final home meet this weekend after a stellar career at UH. This season, she has posted UH season-best times in the 200-yard butterfly, 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley.

The Budapest, Hungary, native already has provisionally qualified for the 2007 NCAA Championships with her time in the 200-yard individual medley but will be looking for even faster times this week.

Sophomore and fellow Hungarian Andrea Pa’lmai leads the Cougars this season in the 1,000-yard freestyle, 1,650-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke and 400-yard individual medley. Fellow sophomore Sasha Schwendwein also has been a steady performer for the Cougars with season-best times in the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.

The Cougars, under the leadership of five-time C-USA Diving Coach of the Year Jane Figueiredo, always boast one of the nation’s premier diving programs, and 2006-07 has been no different.

Sophomore Anastasia Pozdniakova, the reigning C-USA Freshman Diver of the Year, has been named C-USA Diver of the Week four times this season and recorded C-USA best marks on both the 1- and 3-meter springboards.

Senior captain Rachel Gitelson, who joins Szanto and swimmer Alejandra Salazar in competing in their final home meet, has posted the league’s best total on the platform, while junior Ginni van Katwijk was most recently honored as the C-USA Diver of the Week.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


By Robert H. Kelly

Unable to match the power of the Arizona State bats, the Houston Cougars recorded their second consecutive loss of season, falling 11-1 in the final game for both teams at the 2007 Houston College Classic.

The Cougars were never really in the game, as the Sun Devils, who erupting for a season high 15 hits, took command of the game from the start.

They scored four runs off four hits to start their scoring attack and combined that with a solid defensive effort to overwhelm the Cougars.

The Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the 2nd on a Bryan Pounds homerun to left field to take the score to 4-1.

Arizona State came back with single runs in both the 4th and 6th innings, and tagged two more runs in both the 7th and 8th innings.

The game took its toll on the Houston bullpen, with five pitchers seeing action, allowing for the 11 runs, with 10 of them earned, on 15 hits, with 7 walks.

Pitcher Barry Laird recorded the only strikeout of the game for the Cougars, fanning the second baseman Eric Sogard in the in the 4th.

Arizona State’s Josh Satow went the distance for the win, allowing one run on six hits, with 8 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.29.

Wes Musich was given the loss allowing 5 runs on 6 hits with 4 walks and no strikeouts.

The Sun Devils are 5-1 for the season, while the Cougars fell to 2-2.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


By Robert H. Kelly

Whether it was early season mistakes, the hot Aggie bats in the sixth inning, or their outstanding pitching, the Houston Cougars could not stay with Texas A&M University, as the Aggies defeated Houston by the score of 3-2 in day two action at the Houston College Classic.

Houston (2-1) got on the scoreboard first with a solo home run by infielder Felix Fanaselle in the first inning on the first pitch from Aggie right-hander Kyle Thebeau

The Aggies came back in the third when outfielder Ben Feltner scored from third off a sacrifice fly by catcher Craig Stinson to tie the score at one all.

Texas A&M then exploded after two outs in the sixth inning, when Darby Brown was sent to the plate to pinch hit for Spencer Jackson. Brown singled to the left side on a 2-1 pitch, followed by a line drive to left field by catcher Josh Stinson. Stinson was safe at first with Brown advancing to second.

Cougars pitcher Donnie Joseph opened the door further for the Aggies, allowing both Brown and Stinson to advance on a wild pitch.

The Cougars fate was sealed when infielder Brody Greene singled to right field, allowing both Brown and Stinson to score.

Later in the inning, the Cougars caught Greene trying to steal third, but the damage was done. The Aggie went up 3-1 and kept the lead until the end.

Infielder Jimmy Cesario came back in the top of the eighth inning with a solo shot to right field to take the score to 3-2.

The winning pitcher was Jordan Chambliss who pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing 1 earned run on one hit, with six strikeouts and an ERA of 1.80.

John Touchton was credited with the loss; pitching 2 1/3 innings and allowing two earned runs on three hits, with two strikeouts, one walk and an REA of 6.00.

The Cougars (2-1) will take on Arizona State at 11:00am on Sunday in their final game of the Houston College Classic. Texas A&M (2-1) will face Rice in the 6:00pm game on Sunday.


By Robert H. Kelly

On a very cool evening, in the somewhat comfortable confines of Houston’s Minute Maid Park, the Houston Cougars took to the field to face in number 20 Baylor in the first game for both teams at the 2007 Houston College Classic.

Houston (1-0) coming off a 15-4 thumping of Steven F. Austin on Tuesday, were looking to end a streak that has seen them finish with a 1-2 record at the Classic in each of the last four season.

Cougar Aaron Brown took to the mound to face Baylor’s Randall Linebaugh in the first assignment for each of these junior righthanders. Brown held the Bears to only one hit with five strikeouts over five shutout innings to help lead the Cougars to a 4-2 win.

Brown has an opportunity to show more than the glimpses of potential that sporadically appeared during his previous two seasons.

"On a scale of 10, I'd give it a 9.5," Cougar Coach Rayner Noble was quoted on Brown's performance "His command wasn't real great, but the thing is he made the pitches when he needed to make them.

"It's just a matter of him, from one day to the next, being consistent. Not only with his bullpens being sharp but just in his work ethic. When he understands all of the facts, he's got a chance to be very, very good."

Brown was part of a solid pitching performance by the Cougar staff, which did not allow Baylor's second hit until the seventh inning.

The Cougars struck for the game's first run in the first inning. Ryan Lormand was hit by a pitch to lead off and moved into scoring position following Jake Stewart's sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Kingsbury slapped an RBI-single into center field to hand the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

The score remained unchanged until the fifth inning when the Cougars got three runs off four hits.

Cougar pitchers kept the Baylor offense in check until the eighth inning when the Bears struck for a pair of runs.

The Cougars will face Texas A&M at 3:00pm Saturday for the second game for each team in the tournament.