Stevens: 12 Lobos Moments: Erickson Has Huge Season Off The Board

Aug. 8, 2012

Top Lobo Moments From 2011-12: GoLobos.com is flashing back on 12 special Lobo moments from the 2011-12 season.
Today: Gabby Erickson Dives to All-American Finish
Next: Lobo Athletics Produce Four Academic All-Americans

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Above and in the water, Lobo Ashlee "Gabby" Erickson ended a long Lobo drought.

She became the first Lobo diver to reach the NCAA finals since 2005 - ending a seven-year drought.

And Erickson didn't squander away her opportunity in Auburn, Ala. The Lobo senior placed 16th off the 1-meter board to earn All-American honors and put the Lobos on the NCAA scoreboard.

"Gabby represented New Mexico with style and made us proud," said Abel Sanchez, UNM's head diving coach. "For any team, for any school, it's a great feat to get an All-American. The talent here is awesome."

To become an All-American obviously is a goal of any collegiate athlete. It's also a neat thing to be named the outstanding athlete in your sport, in your league. Erickson did this, too. But it wasn't an easy path to that MVP award.

Her performance at the MW Championships probably prepared Erickson for the talent and the pressure at the NCAA finals. The Lobo's path to MW goal was through the reigning MW Player of The Year, San Diego State's Kristen Meier. Meier had won titles off the 1-meter and 3-meter board in 2011.

But Erickson not only had closed the gap between her and Meier - Erickson created another gap with a Lobo on the positive side. Erickson won Mountain West titles on both the 1-meter and 3-meter board at the Mountain West Championships. She was named the 2012 Mountain West Diver of The Year.

"In an intense environment against intense competition, Ashlee was clutch," said Sanchez of Erickson's two gold medals at the MW Championships. Coach Sanchez was the MW's Diving Coach of The Year.

"The progress Gabby made from her freshman year to her senior year has been amazing and is the product of hard work and confidence in her ability," said Sanchez. "It's been very rewarding as a coach to see her mature not only as an athlete, but as a person."