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GWINNETT GRADS: Shiloh's Taylor, Brookwood's Swan shine at NCAA championship swimming meet

A late entry into the world of competitive swimming, Ben Taylor is making the most of it now.

The Shiloh grad and Queens University (N.C.) sophomore won a relay championship and placed seventh in the 200-yard freestyle at last weekend’s NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships in Geneva, Ohio. The Queens men finished fourth, their best showing ever, in the team standings.

Taylor swam on the NCAA champion 800 free relay, which finished with a school-record time of 6 minutes, 29.32 seconds. His 200 free time was 1:38.07.

Taylor just started year-round swimming less than four years ago, but emerged as a standout swimmer in high school. He won the 100 backstroke title at the Gwinnett County meet in 2012, becoming Shiloh’s first swimming county champion since 2003.

He wasn’t the only Gwinnett product making an impact at the national D-II meet.

Florida Southern’s men’s team finished as national runner-up for the second year in a row, thanks to a strong final college swim from Brookwood grad Robbie Swan.

Swan swam the final leg of the meet-ending 400 free relay, passing two other swimmers and giving his team second place by a slim 2.5-point margin. He swam his 100 leg in 43.68.

Swan also placed third in the 100 free individually with a time of 44.16, as well as fourth in the 50 free (20.05).

Teammate and fellow Brookwood grad Thomas Nguyen was eighth in the 200 backstroke (1:48.30) and 100 back (48.28).

For the Florida Southern women, Brookwood’s Kelsey Gouge was seventh in the 100 free (50.57) and ninth in the 50 free (23.24). Her team finished seventh.

SOFTBALL

Jones gets conference award

Brookwood grad Brandi Jones of Florida Southern was named the Sunshine State Conference pitcher of the week on Monday.

Jones picked up three wins and a save the previous week, sporting a 0.00 ERA in 22 innings. She had 22 strikeouts and allowed just a single, unearned run and 11 hits.

Among her victories was a six-hit shutout of eighth-ranked Wayne State (Mich.). Three of Wayne State’s hits were infield singles.

Jones, the first Florida Southern freshman to be named pitcher of the week since 2004, entered the week with a 9-3 record and a 1.83 ERA.

Koepke sparks GSU win

Georgia State infielder Mallory Koepke, a North Gwinnett grad, made a big impact in the Panthers’ 7-5 win over Kennesaw State on Tuesday night.

The freshman hit a two-run home run and sparked a five-run rally that sparked the victory.

TENNIS

GAC’s Winston takes conference honor

Greater Atlanta Christian grad and Wingate University (S.C.) senior Morgan Winston was named the South Atlantic Conference player of the week Monday for the second time this season and fourth time in her career.

Winston went 4-0 in doubles matches as her team went 4-0 the previous week. She also won three singles matches for the 29th-ranked Bulldogs.

Winston is on track for a May graduation with a degree in finance/accounting.

GOLF

Court’s first ace keys high finish

Collins Hill grad Lauren Court, a Georgia State junior, made her first hole-in-one last weekend and tied for eighth at the JMU Eagle Landing Invitational in Orange Park, Fla. The Panthers finished second in the team standings.

Court finished the tourney at 6 over par after a 5-over 77 in the final round. She shot 71 and 74 in the first two rounds.

The highlight was her ace on the second hole of her first round. It came on a 160-yard, par 3.

BASKETBALL

Brookins, Limestone reach Elite Eight

Mill Creek grad Alicia Brookins and her Limestone College (S.C.) basketball team defeated Armstrong Atlantic 74-55 Monday, winning the program’s first NCAA Southeast Regional Championship.

Brookins, an all-tournament selection, had 12 points and 10 rebounds vs. Armstrong Atlantic, helping Limestone reach the NCAA Elite Eight in Erie, Pa. The team’s Elite Eight game is Tuesday vs. West Texas A&M.

Wilkins shines vs. Auburn

In a matchup with Auburn of the SEC, Furman came up short in a 78-64 loss Thursday night, but Paladins sophomore Holli Wilkins had a great game.

The Wesleyan grad tied for game-high honors with 17 points, making 3 of 7 shots from 3-point range.

While Furman’s season ended, Auburn advances to a second-round matchup with Old Dominion. The Tigers also feature a Wesleyan grad in Katie Frerking, who made a 3-pointer in Auburn’s win over Furman.

BASEBALL

Peach Belt honors Grayson’s Benson

Grayson grad Brandon Benson was named the Peach Belt Conference freshman of the week on Monday.

The Georgia College and State University second baseman hit .353 with a home run and eight RBIs in four games the previous week. He went 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs vs. North Greenville and also was 3-for-5 with three RBIs in the series finale vs. Francis Marion. Defensively, he turned four double plays and had no errors in 19 chances.

LACROSSE

Wehr gets league honor

Collins Hill grad Abbie Wehr, a sophomore at Regis College (Mass.), was named the New England Collegiate Conference rookie of the week on Monday.

Wehr, also a standout on the Regis tennis team, made her first college start and scored her first college goal in a 16-8 win over Maine Farmington.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com.