March 11, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. - Beginning this Thursday, the University of Wyoming diving team will compete in the 2008 NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla. The meet, which will be held at the Oklahoma City Community College, will serve as a qualifier for the 2008 NCAA Men's and Women's Championships and will run from Thursday through Saturday.
"This year, the zone meet is going to be a low-pressure event for us where we focus on gaining experience and becoming better divers. We are very young, with only Brittany and Stephanie competing in this meet last season, and that gives us a great opportunity to make the most of this experience," said UW diving coach Ben Herdt. "I think we have a legitimate chance at getting someone to qualify for the NCAA's on both the men's and women's side. However, our real focus for this meet is going to be gearing up for the future."
All five UW divers who will compete in the zone meet placed in the top-eight of all three diving events at the 2008 Mountain West Conference Championships, which were held two weeks ago in at the same pool in Oklahoma City. All five divers also earned All-MWC honors in all three events. Bogner had the performance of the meet as he won the men's one-meter conference championship. UW diving coach Ben Herdt was selected as the 2008 MWC Men's Diving Coach of the Year.
Wainwright and Ortiz are the only UW athletes with previous zone diving experience. Wainwright will compete in the meet for the fourth consecutive year while Ortiz did so as a freshman last year. Wainwright's highest career finish at the meet was an eighth place showing in the three-meter event last season. Ortiz's placed 15th in the platform event last season which is her highest career finish.
All together, 20 men and 44 women will compete in the Zone "E" Diving Championships. Of that field, eight men and seven women will qualify for the NCAA Championships. Other schools sending athletes to the Zone "E" Championships on the men's side include Air Force, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, USC, Hawaii, Denver and Cal-Berkley. For the women, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal-Berkley, USC, UCLA, Colorado State, New Mexico, BYU, Utah, Hawaii, Nevada and Northern Arizona will all have athletes competing.
Over the past five years, Wyoming has sent at least five divers to the zone meet each season. Last year, Kevin Bretting became the eighth UW diver to qualify for the NCAA Championships and the first since Oscar Delgado did so in 1999.
The meet will begin with the men's three-meter and women's one-meter events on Thursday. The men and women will then switch events on Friday with the men competing in one-meter and the women in three-meter. Both the men and women will wrap up the meet on Saturday with the platform event.