The men's and women's diving teams are headed to Federal Way, Wash., to compete in the NCAA Zone E Qualifying Meet Friday and Saturday. Eight women's spots are available and five men's spots are up for grabs.
Mountain West Conference Honors
BYU's divers dominated the Mountain West Conference during the season. Four different divers were named the conference male/female diver of the week for a total of nine selections. Senior All-American Rachelle Smith Kunkel led the way with five such honors, while freshman Scott Randall was named twice. Devan Porter and Aaron Russell each received weekly diving honors once. At the inaugural Mountain West Conference Championships Feb. 16-19, BYU divers captured four conference crowns (Women's 1M, 3M; Men's 1M, 3M). They also swept the post-season honors, with Kunkel being named the Female Diver of the Year and Porter receiving Male Diver of the Year honors. Diving coach Keith Russell was also named the Diving Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season and fourth time in his career.
Divers to Watch
Kunkel leads the pack as the only Cougar with previous NCAA competition experience. She finished second on the 1M and fifth on the 3M in last season's Zone E meet, and garnered second-team All-America honors for her 15th-place finish on the 1M board at last year's 1999 NCAA Championships. Kunkel also enters the meet as the reigning U.S. Summer National Champion on the 1M board. Though Kunkel's strength is the 1M board, she has rapidly improved on the 3M, and swept both events for the first time at this year's conference championships. Junior transfer Anna Tutunnikova could also make an impact on the women's side.
For the men, a number of divers could qualify. After a season plagued with injury, senior Devan Porter is riding a hot streak, repeating as the
conference 3M champion and being named the MWC Male Diver of the Year. Sophomore Viraj Patil, last year's platform champion at the WAC Championships. Standout freshman Aaron Russell, this year's MWC Champion on the 1M, has a good chance of qualifying as well as fellow freshman Scott Randall.