FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – NAU senior divers Cassie Anderson and Holly Frost, junior Kristy Ardavanis, and freshman Kali Lents will represent the Lumberjacks at the NCAA Zone E Diving Regional at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The meet begins with 1-meter diving on Thursday followed by 3-meter on Friday and platform on Saturday. NAU will have four of 48 female divers at the meet looking to qualify for the NCAA Championship.
"I hope they can continue to dive like they have all year," said NAU diving coach Nikki Huffman. "All four have been strong divers for us throughout the year despite struggling with some injuries. Making NCAA's is very difficult, but I think if they put one of their best performances together I am expecting very good things from all of them."
Eight qualifying spots for the NCAA Championship are available in the zone, which features divers from 19 different western universities. Among the other schools represented by divers in the zone meet are Pac-12 members Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC, and Utah. NAU is also joined by competitors from fellow WAC members Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, and Nevada along with several Mountain West teams. The meet is one of five zone diving regional's being held this week to qualify divers for the NCAA Championship.
All four Lumberjack competitors posted zone qualifying scores during the season on 1-meter while Ardavanis, Frost, and Lents also qualified on 3-meter. Each of NAU's divers will compete on both springboards during the meet while Anderson, Frost and Lents will also dive on platform. Ardavanis posted team season-high scores of 308.70 on 1-meter and 326.75 on 3-meter and Lents scored a team-best 221.00 on platform at the WAC Championship. Those team season highs were each the second highest scores for those boards in program history.
NAU had multiple qualifiers for the zone meet for the 17th consecutive season and had four or more participants for the third straight year. Ardavanis is making her third zone appearance in as many seasons at NAU while Anderson and Frost are each going for the second consecutive season, closing their Lumberjack careers competing with some of the best divers in the country.
"It's inspiring and really cool to be competing against Olympic caliber divers," said Frost on the Lumberjacks Weekly podcast. "It really is a mental game and you have to be thinking about what you can do and what you can control when competing against so many other divers. It's going to be fun and a great way for me and Cassie to end our careers."