New Mexico divers make splash at National Preliminaries

July 21, 2012

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. - Abel Sanchez and his squad left quite the impression on the diving world this past weekend as they participated in USA Diving Zone National Preliminary Zone D Championships. The event, which was a qualifying meet for the AT&T National Championships to be held this August in Greensboro, N.C., featured some of the best divers in the country.

Yesterday, Michole Timm and All-American Ashlee Erickson set the tone by moving on to the championship round in both the 3-meter springboard and as a synchronized team off the 3-meter as well, by finishing in the top five. Junior Megan Harper was on pace to advance to finals as well, but a just missed dive in the finals round left her out of the top five.

"The girls really did great on the first day," Sanchez said. "It would have been great for Megan to move forward as well, but unfortunately she went too strong in her final dive and just missed the cut."

The Lobos put on a show, but it was just the start. The 1-meter competition was held earlier today, and as Ashlee Erickson proved during her senior campaign this event was one where she truly shines.

At the end of the preliminary round, with the top twelve divers advancing, Harper, Timm and Erickson stood at sixth, seventh and 12th place, respectively. Harper's score was 224.95, Timm stood at 222.40 and Erickson entered the final round with a score of 214.65.

In the final round, New Mexico showed the coaches and divers at the meet what most in the Mountain West have known for many years, they are a force to be reckoned with. With final scores of 251.75 by sophomore Timm, 242.05 by junior Harper and 228.75 by Erickson, these three Lobos placed second, fourth and fifth to move on to Nationals later this year.

"The girls were truly amazing today," said Sanchez. "They really are showing others out there what New Mexico diving is all about. This is a big year with the Olympics starting next week and I'm really excited for how they performed. The thing we need to focus on now is getting back to Albuquerque and training hard."

The Lobos return to the Duke City tomorrow to train, they will depart to Greensboro, N.C. on August 13th. The Championships run August 14-19.