March 14, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Junior Samantha Pickens qualified for her third straight NCAA Championship after earning a victory in the 3m competition and freshman Rafael Quintero punched his first ever ticket to the NCAAs to lead the Wildcats on the opening day of the Zone E Diving Championships at the Air Force Academy’s Cadet Natatorium on Thursday.
Pickens won the event in somewhat dominating fashion as she earned a score of 708.45 to defeat the next closest competitor by more than 17 points. Hailey Casper finished in second with a 691.10 total. Pickens finished third in the 3m and fourth in the 1m last season at the NCAAs.
On the men’s side, reigning Pac-12 champion in the platform competition, Rafael Quintero, earned his first trip to the NCAA Championship after finishing third in the 1m with a total score of 775.85. Kristian Ipsen of Stanford took first place (903.25) and Harrison Jones of Arizona State placed second (824.10).
Meanwhile, senior Ashley Herrera advanced to the finals and placed 11th with a total of 591.20. Herrera will still have opportunities to punch her ticket to NCAAs as she will also compete in the 1m and the platform. Carter Craft and Josh Bidak each made the finals of the 1m for the Wildcats. Both will also have a chance to advance to the NCAA Championships tomorrow in the 3m and again on Saturday in the platform.
The Zone E qualifier will continue tomorrow with the women’s 1m and the men’s 3m.
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