Feb. 28, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Six University of Wyoming divers will begin competition at the 2007 NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships on Thursday at the Oklahoma City Community College Aquatic Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.
"It is a great opportunity to take six divers to the zone meet and we are all very excited," said UW diving coach Ben Herdt. "This is the biggest group we have ever taken to a zone meet and we have very deep representation on both the men's and women's sides."
Athletes from 19 women's institutions and 11 men's schools will be competing in the meet. Ten women and nine men from Zone "E" will earn a trip to the 2007 NCAA Championships. Schools competing include Air Force, Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Cal, Colorado State, Denver, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Arizona, San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCLA, USC, Utah and Wyoming.
The Cowboys will be led by two sensational seniors in Kevin Bretting and John Lynch. The two have combined to earn 15 All-MWC honors in their careers at UW. At last week's conference championships each finished in the top-six of all three diving events. Bretting finished third in both the one and three-meter events and Lynch placed second in three-meter and fifth in one-meter. Last season, Bretting missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships by just one spot.
Leading the way for the Cowgirls will be another great set of seniors in Saara Haapanen and Emily Keefer, as well as junior Brittany Wainwright. Haapanen enters the meet with a great deal of momentum after winning the Mountain West Conference Championship in the one-meter event at last week's conference championships. Haapanen became the first Cowgirl to win an MWC title since the conference began in 1999. Keefer also enters the zone meet with some momentum after breaking a school record in the platform event and earning All-MWC honors in the three-meter event. Wainwright broke the school record in the three-meter event and earned all-conference honors in the one-meter and platform events. Freshman Stephanie Ortiz had a break-out performance at the MWC Championships and earned her first zone qualification while earning All-MWC honors in the one-meter and platform events.
"I really believe that quite a few of our kids have a great shot at qualifying for the NCAA Championships," added Herdt. "Everyone just has to be on the top of their game and do what they are capable of come meet time."
The zone meet begins on Thursday with the men's one-meter event and the women's three-meter. On Friday, the women's one-meter event will be followed by the men's three-meter. The regional concludes Saturday with platform diving.