Jayhawk Divers Head to Houston for NCAA Zones
March 8, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior Christy Cash, Junior Alyssa Golden and freshman Meredith Brownell of the University of Kansas diving team will compete at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, March 12 in Houston, Texas at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, for a chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The meet will feature 79 of the top divers from various conferences in the “D” zone. The Zone Championship will also mark the third time this season that the Jayhawks have visited the facility on the campus of the University of Houston, giving the Jayhawks an added level of comfort heading into next week’s meet.
“I think it’s great that they will know their boards, they know that facility, they know what to expect, there is an advantage to that,” Kansas diving coach Eric Elliott said. “At the same time, they have to keep it in perspective and not watch what the other divers are doing and just focus on what they are doing, get in their right mind and go from there.”
In addition to their experience with the facility, Cash and Golden are making their third and second trips to the Zone Championship respectively. Cash will compete in the event for the third straight year after qualifying in 2011 and 2012, with Golden joining her for the second straight year. With differences in scoring and the structure of the competition, the added experience will help the Jayhawks when they compete next week.
“(The experience) definitely helps, because the meet is a different format than we normally do throughout the year,” Elliott said. “They have to make every dive count. They know that and they are experienced with that, but it will still be a pretty tough meet.”
Brownell joins the experienced duo for her first Zone Championships and is coming off back-to-back strong performances. Brownell set season-best scores in the one- and three-meter events in a dual against Iowa State (2/8-9) and led the team in those events at the Big 12 Championships (2/27-3/2).
“I think the past month and a half, (Meredith) has really bought into her training and gained a lot of confidence in her diving,” Elliott said. “She just did what she does. She didn’t really miss anything at the conference meet and did some really great dives. (The Zone Championship) is a bigger spotlight, but I’m hoping she will carry some of that over.”
Brownell will enter the three-meter event on the heels of her seventh-place finish (276.25) in the Big 12 Championships, while Cash is looking to rebound from a disappointing performance in the event at the conference meet. Cash’s best performance at the Zone Championships is a score of 224.40.
“I think Christy really has an opportunity to show that she can dive a lot better than what she did at the conference meet (in the three-meter event),” Elliott said. “Alyssa too, they all have the opportunity to be right there and jockey back-and-forth like they have all year. I have to give a nod to the experience, but Meredith has been diving super well and she has been consistent all year.”
The one-meter event is the most balanced event for the Jayhawks. Brownell enters the competition coming off a fifth-place finish (273.05) at the Big 12 Championships. Cash also qualified for the finals at the conference meet and finished seventh with a season-best score of 268.80.
“I think all of them have a good opportunity to stand out (in the one-meter event), it depends on who is on that day,” Elliott said. “I think based on the conference meet, (Christy Cash and Meredith Brownell) have the best shot, but I think all three of them have a great opportunity to take advantage of the opportunity and do really well.”
The divers will take to the platform on the meet’s final day, where Cash narrowly missed the finals in last year’s meet. Her score of 214.55 was good enough for 18th place, just 15 points shy of the cut for the finals. Cash will head into the event after posting a season-best score at the Big 12 Championships (242.85), looking to put a positive mark on the end of her career.
“I expect (Christy Cash) to dive really well,” Elliott said. “She is a senior and she wants to go out with a good performance. If she doesn’t make NCAA’s this will be her last college diving performance. She really stepped up in the finals at the conference meet and dove great. I think she can really show them what she’s got on the tower.”
The meet will start on Monday March 11, with the three-meter event and will feature one event per day beginning with preliminaries and concluding with finals. The schedule of events is as follows:
Warmup (8 a.m.)
Event start (10 a.m.)
Warmup (8 a.m.)
Event start (10 a.m.)
Warmup (9 a.m.)
Event start (11 a.m.)
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