Danny Villars made his fourth trip to the Morris County Championships on Saturday. And this time, the Chatham senior left with what he’d always longed for — the team trophy.
The Cougars used depth and exuberance to win the school’s first boys team title. Chatham earned 235 points, keeping ahead of Mountain Lakes and host Morristown – their nemesis during the past few seasons.
Villars hit the wall at the end of the 400-meter freestyle relay and gave a fist pump, both celebrating the event win and the overall success. As he climbed out of the pool, he was immediately engulfed by teammates giving him hugs and pounding him on the back.
“It feels incredible to be on top,” said Villars, who also won the 100 free and placed second in the IM. “At the beginning of the season, with a new coach, we thought we couldn’t do it. … Wow, what just happened?”
No longer do the Cougars boys need to sport T-shirts like they had last year, which read, “Yes, we actually have a boys team.” Chatham duplicated the girls’ success with their own undefeated NJAC-South II title.
The Cougars also won their fifth straight girls title on Saturday, placing at least one swimmer in the top six of every individual event – both boys and girls.
Senior Sean McHugh placed second in the 50 free, with teammate David Blaskey sixth. Drew Buscher finished second in the butterfly. Sophomore Andrew Macchia was fifth behind Villars in the 100 free. Sophomore Robert Toscano was fourth in the 400 free and sixth in the 200 free. Sophomore Landon Paulson was sixth in the backstroke. Yitao Jiang placed fifth in breaststroke.
The Cougars also finished second in the 200 free relay and third in the medley.
“Instead of putting it on our shirts, people will actually know us in the pool,” senior Eddie Mostert said. “We don’t have to tell them. It’s amazing.”
* Pequannock sophomore Kyle Stefanides and Morris Hills senior Matt Chan may have made school history on Saturday. Stefanides held off a late charge from Villars in the IM, and also won the backstroke. Chan finished first in the butterfly.
Each is believed to be the first boy from his high school to win a county title in at least a decade, and possibly all-time.
“I didn’t know what to think afterward,” Stefanides said. “I saw (Villars) on the second 25 of breaststroke, and thought I had it. In freestyle, I was really hurting. I saw him coming up, and put whatever I had left into that.”
* Mountain Lakes junior James McElduff also won a pair of county titles in the 200 and 400 free and anchored the winning medley and 200 free relays. Lakers senior Bernard Wang also had a decisive victory in the 50 free. Senior Connor Gross was first in the breaststroke.
“We don’t have the depth we had last year,” McElduff said. “We’re still making do, and doing well as a team. This is what all the high school kids really train for. We’re able to come here and show the other teams, and ourselves, what we have to offer.”
Team scores: Chatham 235; Mountain Lakes 194; Morristown 176.5; Randolph 124; Delbarton 104.5; Pequannock 85; Morris Hills 77; Kinnelon 69; Mount Olive 63; Parsippany Hills 48; Mendham 36; West Morris 34; Roxbury 28; Morris Knolls 25; Park 7; Montville 4;
Medley relay: 1. Mountain Lakes (Bernard Wang, Conor Gross, Jeff Shi, James McElduff) 1:53.36; 2. Randolph (Chris Vukas, Connor Timmerman, Zach Sanders, Matt Linz) 1:54.89; 3. Chatham (Landon Paulson, Yitao Jiang, Andrew Buchser, David Blaskey) 1:55.26; 4. Morristown (Matt Ahlmeyer, Matthew Critchley, Tyler Huhn, Michael Crowley) 1:55.3; 5. Delbarton (Alex Zhang, Parker Pearson, Jade Rice, Mike Dallago) 1:57.08; 6. Morris Hills (Anthony Taboadela, Thomas Cangelosi, Matt Chan, Alexander Sancic) 1:57.93.
200 freestyle: 1. James McElduff (ML) 2:01.22; 2. Jamie Viotto (Mt) 2:02.01; 3. Chris Vukas (Rand) 2:06.09; 4. Ian Quinn (Peq) 2:07.26; 5. Anthony Fresella (K) 2:07.43; 6. Robert Toscano (Ch) 2:07.64.
200 IM: 1. Kyle Stefanides (Peq) 2:15.48; 2. Daniel Villars (Ch) 2:15.73; 3. Colin Fitzgerald (MO) 2:18.01; 4. Andrew Buchser (Ch) 2:19.82; 5. Jeff Shi (ML) 2:20.04; 6. Eric Stanton (K) 2:21.03.
50 freestyle: 1. Bernard Wang (ML) 24.85; 2. Sean McHugh (Ch) 25.31; 3. Conor Gross (ML) 25.35; 4. Matt Linz (Rand) 25.42; 5. Michael Crowley (Mt) 25.53; 6. David Blaskey (Ch) 26.02.
100 butterfly: 1. Matt Chan (MH) 1:01.42; 2. Andrew Buchser (C) 1:01.89; 3. Will Ashton (Mt) 1:01.92; 4. Matthew Critchley (Mt) 1:03.13; 5. Jeff Shi (ML) 1:03.38; 6. Ian Quinn (Peq) 1:03.54.
100 freestyle: 1. Daniel Villars (Ch) 55.43; 2. Michael Crowley (Mt) 56.2; 3. Matt Linz (Rand) 56.41; 4. Alex Zhang (Del) 157.35; 5. Andrew Macchia (Ch) 57.8; 6. (tie) Alin Kenworthy (Mend) and Joe Ciccarelli (PH) 57.98.
400 freestyle: 1. James McElduff (ML) 4:15.05; 2. Jamie Viotto (Mt) 4:20.35; 3. Parker Pearson (Del) 4:22.73; 4. Robert Toscano (Ch) 4:30.09; 5. Michael Schommer (WMC) 4:37.12; 6. Robby Ambrose (WMC) 4:37.51.
200 free relay: 1. Mountain Lakes (Bernard Wang, Jeff Shi, Conor Gross, James McElduff) 1:41.17; 2. Chatham (Sean McHugh, Ed Mostert, Andrew Macchia, Daniel Villars) 1:42.84; 3. Mendham (Alin Kenworthy, Luke Engelhardt, Sebastian Rehm, Jordan Rogus) 1:47; 4. Roxbury (Tom Fulton, Michael Brauer, Patrick Ibrahim, Josh Decker) 1:47.27; 5. Parsippany Hills (Joe Ciccarelli, Mike Wu, Brian Volpe, Mike Ginsberg) 1:48.36; 6. Morris Hills (Anthony Taboadela, Thomas Cangelosi, Matt Chan, Doug Sholander) 1:48.42.
100 backstroke: 1. Kyle Stefanides (Peq) 1:01.26; 2. Alex Zhang (Del) 1:01.82; 3. Bernard Wang (ML) 1:03.52; 4. Anthony Taboadela (MH) 1:03.69; 5. Chris Vukas (Rand) 1:03.85; 6. Landon Paulson (Ch) 1:04.73.
100 breaststroke: 1. Conor Gross (ML) 1:09.96; 2. Colin Fitzgerald (MO) 1:10.75; 3. Eric Stanton (K) 1:10.94; 4. Connor Timmerman (Rand) 1:11.25; 5. Yitao Jiang (Ch) 1:11.44; 6. Ben Banaag (Boon) 1:12.63.
400 free relay: 1. Chatham (Sean McHugh, Corey Duren, Ed Mostert, Daniel Villars) 3:50.38; 2. Morristown (Brian Honicky, Matthew Critchley, Jamie Viotto, Will Ashton) 3:51.75; 3. Randolph (Chris Vukas, Zach Sanders, Henry Taibi, Matt Linz) 3:54.99; 4. Delbarton (Clark Laraia, Joe O’Reilly, Tim Sienko, Alex Zhang) 3:57.19; 5. Parsippany Hills (Mike Ginsberg, Joe Ciccarelli, Brian Volpe, Nick Pachiolo) 3:59.86; 6. Mountain Lakes (Chris Luciano, Harrison Hsiang, Quinn Rozanitis, Tyler Rozanitis) 4:01.44.
Site of meet: Morristown High School. Distances in meters.
* indicates meet records.