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August 8, 2014

Jackson Qualifies for First USA Diving National Championship

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – It has been a great summer for Northern Arizona diver Chelsea Jackson and the Flagstaff native is hoping for even bigger things next week when she competes at the USA Diving AT&T National Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. Jackson qualified for her first National Championships last month after her shining performance on the 3-meter springboard at the Preliminary Zone D Championships.

"Chelsea has been working towards qualifying for Nationals since the day she started diving three years ago," said NAU diving coach Nikki Huffman. "She is very talented and I am always amazed at how fast she learns and makes changes. It takes most divers much longer to accomplish what she has in her short diving career. Her focus and determination has and will continue to take her very far in this sport and in life. I am excited to see what the future brings for Chelsea."

The soon-to-be junior in the fall was stellar at the Prelims held in Mission Viejo, Calif. from July 18-20. In a crowded field of 46 of the best divers in the West, Jackson represented the Lumberjacks at the highest level as she advanced to the 3-meter finals by finishing eighth during the preliminary round. She would move up five spots and nab a top-five qualifying spot for Nationals by finishing third in the finals with a score of 248.90, erasing last year's near-miss at the Zone competition when she finished eighth overall on 3-meter.

Jackson also had a shot at advancing to the National Championships on the 1-meter springboard as she snagged a spot in the zone finals. She wound finishing 12th overall out of 56 entries in the event to wrap up her weekend at the Preliminaries.

NAU sophomore-to-be Alexa Geiger also competed at the Zone D Championships on both springboards. Geiger finished 34th on 3-meter with a score of 176.60 and 39th on 1-meter with a score of 170.85. The Lumberjack teammates also paired for the synchronized 3-meter springboard event in which they placed 10th overall.

"Lex did not look as sharp as I usually see, but I still saw many good dives," Huffman said. "I know she is excited to get back to Flagstaff and train harder. It was great to see her and we are excited to get the team back training together."

Jackson, a three-time bronze medalist and All-WAC First Team honoree at the WAC Championships in March, will compete at the Senior National Championships next Friday, Aug. 15. More information about the USA Diving National Championships can be found here.