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March 14, 2014

Jackson Advances to Zone 3-Meter Finals, Finishes 15th

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Sophomore Chelsea Jackson earned her second NCAA Zone finals qualifier in as many years on Friday, finishing 15th overall on the 3-meter springboard on Day 2 of the NCAA Zone E Meet. Jackson improved a total of 27 spots from her 42nd-place finish on 3-meter a year ago.

"Chelsea dove great all day," said diving coach Nikki Huffman. "Even though we haven't been able to train as much as we'd like, for her to do that was really awesome. For a while she was in the top-three and if she could've had a little more time to really work on her lineups and degree of difficulty, she could've finished higher. She did a great job."

At one point through the middle rounds of prelims, Jackson held onto a top-three spot before finishing with a preliminary score of 294.75, which put her in 11th divers heading into the final. Having grabbed one of the top-18 spots in the final, Jackson totaled a score of 282.75 to capture 15th with a total score of 577.50. Her 15th-place finish matched her career-best showing at the NCAA Zones after finishing 15th on 1-meter at last year's regional meet.

Senior Gwen Smithberg and freshman Alexa Geiger also competed for the Northern Arizona diving team on Friday on 3-meter. Smithberg finished 41st with a score of 231.65 while Geiger finished with a score 166.85 for 57th overall.

For Smithberg, the event was the final of her career, capping off a triumphant return from a potential season-ending injury to finish her collegiate career on a high note.

"Gwen did some really great dives," Huffman said. "She missed one, but the rest were really strong. It was just fun to see her finish with a smile on her face feeling good about what she was doing."