This weekend, the Bombers hosted and competed in the first-ever D-III diving regionals. The Blue and Gold had a total of six divers competing in the regional qualifiers. The Bombers came away with three spots in the national championship meet, which will be held March 20-23 in Shenandoah, Texas.
There were 24 divers in the field, 15 female divers and nine male divers. There were five qualifying places for the women and four for the men.
The men took two qualifying spots as sophomore Matt Morrison and senior Martin Brown moved on. Senior Kloe Boeckel took a spot on the women’s side. The other divers who competed were senior Heather Markus, who finished in eighth place and junior Korie Fackler who finished in fifth place.
The road to the national competition this year was different. Qualifying came from the two-day event this weekend. In years past, however, this wasn’t the case.
Before this year’s regionals, coaches submitted videos of their divers who hit qualifying scores. Then a panel of judges would review the videos and decide who went on to nationals. This avoided having a meet all together.
The format changed because it was only rewarding divers that had one or two excellent meets but not the divers that consistently dove at a high level. Holding the competition over a two-day span gave judges the opportunity to see the divers perform more than once. This allowed the best of the best to advance.
Morrison said the new format made the field in nationals more fair.
“I think it’s a lot better than last year, because it lets the more consistent diver go, (last year) you were judging the diver on one meet, and today you were given two chances, which was awesome,” Morrison said.
Boeckel didn’t have high expectations going into the meet and was just happy to be at regionals after only diving for two seasons.
“I was really excited just to be here, even if I didn’t make it,” Boeckel said. “It was a great season.”
Given the high level of pressure at the meet, diving coach Mike Wantuck said he was thrilled with how his divers performed and their ability to make it to the next level.
“I feel really proud of them,” Wantuck said. “It was a real catfight this year.”