FEDERAL WAY -- After a regular season which concluded in a sweep of the Mountain West Conference titles and honors, the BYU diving teams took the first step toward asserting themselves on a national level, sweeping the first day of events at the NCAA Zone E Qualifying Meet Friday in Federal Way, Wash.
Surprising no one, reigning Summer National Champion and Mountain West Conference Female Diver of the Year Rachelle Smith Kunkel captured the 1M women's event with a score of 454.40 to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships next weekend. Teammate Anna Tutunnikova finished 16th in the event, while Kelli Einfeldt was 21st.
The Cougar men were on fire, taking four of the top ten placements. Freshman Aaron Russell led the assault with a first-place finish on the 3M board to automatically qualify for nationals. MWC Male Diver of the Year Devan Porter finished third, while Scott Randall took fifth and Viraj Patil tenth in the competition. Porter may also qualify for nationals depending on the outcome of tomorrow's 1M men's event.
"We did a great job today," said MWC Diving Coach of the Year Keith Russell. "We need to do the job tomorrow as well."
BYU's divers will have the opportunity to qualify once again Saturday as the women's 3M and men's 1M events are held. The women's NCAA Championships are next weekend in Indianapolis, while the men's NCAA's are the following weekend in Minneapolis.