COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Freshman Alexa Geiger made quite the splash in her first NCAA Zone appearance on Thursday, finishing 22nd overall out of 61 divers in 1-meter competition. Geiger finished four spots out of the top-18 qualifying spots for the finals and led three Northern Arizona divers on the first day of the NCAA Zone E meet at Air Force's Cadet Natatorium.
"The Zones is always very tough competition with tough divers and tough judging, but as a freshman Lexi really held her own," said diving coach Nikki Huffman. "She dove very consistent and she stayed focused on what she needed to do. She was sitting in 17th going into the last round, but the scores were very close from 16th to 23rd. She did a fabulous job and I couldn't ask for more than she did."
Despite competing in her first Zone meet, Geiger was not intimidated as she posted the team's best score on the day. Geiger's score of 250.65 was less than three points out of 18th-place and less than four points out of 16th after preliminaries.
Battling some injuries, sophomore Chelsea Jackson also posted a great day on the 1-meter springboard finishing 31st overall with a score of 236.90. Senior Gwen Smithberg, making her first appearance since suffering an injury at the Air Force Diving Invitational on Feb. 1, had a successful return recording a score of 219.85 to finish 45th overall.
"Chelsea hasn't been able to train much but she did some great dives," Huffman said. "She was in the mix but she had one really bad dive. That took her out, but she did all she could to get back in. With Gwen, she hasn't been training much either, but she was consistent. Considering it was first competition back, she did very well for herself."
The NAU diving trio will return for Day 2 on Friday with 3-meter competition. Preliminaries will begin at 10 a.m. Flagstaff time. Live scoring will be available at divemeets.com.