Cowgirl Stephanie Ortiz Clinches Bid for NCAA Championships at Zone Diving Meet

March 12, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas -

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University of Wyoming senior diver Stephanie Ortiz secured her first berth to compete at the NCAA Championships by taking third place in the women's three-meter event at the NCAA Zone "E" Championships in Austin, Texas. Ortiz is the first Cowgirl diver to represent Wyoming at the NCAA Championships since 1985.

Ortiz clinched one of the six bids that are up for grabs at the Zone meet by totaling 635.30 points for third place on three-meter springboard. Ortiz put together memorable performances in both the preliminary and final rounds. Entering the finals, Ortiz was in first and held on to third place to finish higher than of any other Mountain West Conference diver. Ortiz is the second Cowgirl to qualify for the NCAA Championships this season. Fellow senior Cassie Stelow will compete in the 50 freestyle as well. The women's championships will be March 18-20 in West Lafayette, Ind.

Joining Ortiz on three-meter today was junior Allie Smith in 22nd, junior Virginia Marcon in 24th, and senior Emily Huth in 28th.

"Stephanie Ortiz was absolutely tremendous today," said UW diving coach Kevin Bretting. "She was in first after round one and continued to stay in first through most of the final rounds. When the heat is on Stephanie is at her best and she kept the heat up on the other divers who were chasing her. I am very happy for her and it is remarkable what she did today being the first Cowgirl diver to advance to the NCAA Championships in 25 years. All of the Cowgirl divers did well today and I am happy for all of them."

The Cowboys took to the one-meter springboard today and the junior-duo of Kyle Bogner and Mark Murdock both reached the finals for the second consecutive today. Murdock finished the day with a total of 577.30 and placed 10th. Bogner was close behind his teammate and placed 12th at 567.85. Sophomore and Austin, Texas native Valentin Schwarz finished in 22nd for the Cowboys.

"The guys had another solid day and dove well," Bretting said. "Mark Murdock came back in the finals and dove better then he did in the prelims which was good to see. Kyle Bogner put together another great day of diving as well.

"I am looking forward to tomorrow and the platform event. There will be continued tough competition on both sides, but Mark is fired up for his chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships on platform. With a second place finish he will also advance."

The NCAA Zone "E" Championships will wrap-up tomorrow with both the men and women competing on the platform event. Women's prelims and finals will begin at 10:30 Mountain with men following later in the day.