Wyoming Divers Open NCAA Zone "E" Championships on Thursday

March 8, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Six members of the University of Wyoming diving team will begin competition at the 2006 NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships this Thursday at the Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma City, Okla. The meet is a qualifier to the men's and women's NCAA championships which will be held later this month.

"It is exciting to have the opportunity to take this many athletes to a zone meet," said reigning Mountain West Conference women's diving coach of the year Ben Herdt. "This is a terrific opportunity for our kids to get experience and exposure in a big time meet. Hopefully, as a team, we can be on, nail our dives and get someone to take the next step and qualify for the NCAA's."

This year's Zone "E" field includes 24 men and 48 women from 17 schools including Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Cal, UC Irvine, UCLA, Colorado State, Denver, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico, Northern Arizona, USC, Stanford, Utah and Wyoming. The top eight men and 11 women will qualify for the NCAA championship meets from Zone "E".

The Cowgirls enter the weekend on a high note after, based on diving points alone, they placed first in the Mountain West Conference Championships two weeks ago. All four Cowgirl divers qualified for, and will be competing in, this weekend's meet.

The Cowgirl lineup will feature juniors Saara Haapanen and Emily Keefer and sophomores Ginni van Katwijk and Brittany Wainwright. Haapanen, a native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, earned First Team All-MWC honors with a third place finish in the 3-meter event at last month's MWC Championships. Keefer, a native of Stillwater, Minn., had a strong conference meet as well and earned second team All-MWC honors in all three diving events. Evanston, Wyo. native Brittany Wainwright earned first team honors in the 1-meter event with a third place finish. Van Katwijk, who is from Grookebroek, Netherlands, earned second team honors in the 3-meter and platform events.

The Cowboys also enter the zone meet on a high note after earning the second most diving points at the MWC Championships. Two Cowboy juniors, John Lynch and Kevin Bretting, earned a spot in this weekend's meet. Lynch, a native of San Antonio, Texas, earned First Team All-MWC honors with a third place finish in the 3-meter event and second team honors in the 1-meter event, with a fourth place finish. Bretting, a Loveland, Colo. native, was named First Team All-MWC in the 1-meter event and second team all conference in the 3-meter. He dove to a third place finish in 1-meter and a fourth place finish in 3-meter.

The zone meet will run from Thursday, March 9 through Saturday, March 11. The women will compete in the 1-meter event and the men in the 3-meter on Thursday. The men and women will swap events on Friday and both will close out the weekend with the platform event on Saturday.