Freshman Jasmine Matkovic
March 8, 2012
USAFA, Colo. - The Utah divers took to the boards at the Air Force Academy today in the NCAA Zone E Regional Championship meet. The women are competing to be one of eight divers selected to go to the NCAA National Championship meet next weekend in Auburn, Ala., while the men are competing for one of seven spots for their National Championship meet in two weeks in Federal Way, Wash.
Ellis Walters and Jasmine Matkovic began the competition with the 1-meter board today. Walters is coming off a fourth place finish at the Pac-12's in the event and continued her strong season by placing seventh with a 12 dive aggregate score of 533.50. Her score of 269.75 in finals moved her up two places after she qualified in ninth place. The NCAA zone meet is the only meet of the season in which the preliminary score and the finals score are added together to get the diver's final placing. At this same meet last year Walters took 15th on the 1-meter board.
Matkovic bettered her score from Pac-12's and placed 25th overall in the field of 46 divers. She was the third highest placing freshman in the meet.
"I am extremely happy with how the women competed today as it is such a long and tough meet,” said Utah diving coach Richard Marschner. “Ellis was in the mix all meet long to put herself in a position to grab a spot to the NCAA's, but I think she came up just short today. Jasmine had a very solid meet and even though it wasn't her best effort, for her to come into this competition as a freshman and compete the way she did was very impressive."
The men's meet started on 3-meter as Nelson Foo had a strong preliminary round by scoring 337.05, which qualified him in eighth place for the finals. His final score of 667.40 earned him a 10th place finish as he improved his overall score from last year's meet by over 57 points and placed six spots higher than at last year's meet. Brandon Stoppelmoor just missed out on making finals by placing 19th, which was only 1.7 points behind 18th place for the final qualifying spot in the final round.
"We had a great first day of the meet today and I am very excited to see what we can accomplish tomorrow,” said Marschner “I can't tell you how many compliments we've received from opposing coaches and teams in the past few weeks as our performances have surprised a lot of people."
The meet continues tomorrow with the women on the 3-meter and the men on the 1-meter. Live video and scoring can be found at: http://www.goairforcefalcons.com/sports/m-swim/spec-rel/030612aac.html