Fredonia State will be represented by its entire diving contingent - four women and two men - at Ithaca College for the NCAA Division III Northeast/South Zone D competition Friday and Saturday.
The women's quartet of senior Sarah Ficarro, and juniors Ashley Keller, Katelyn Haley and Breena Cogliandro, will be joined by senior Ryan Fuller and freshmen Rafael Santiago, for the first-of-its-kind event.
In past seasons, divers were required to post a provisional qualifying score and submit video for review of a panel of national judges. The panel would then verify the scores and choose the top 22 men and top 22 women for inclusion in the NCAA diving championship.
Fredonia State has sent at least one diver to the last seven NCAA meets. There have been times, however, that the coaching staff felt some of their divers had been slighted. That feeling ruled the day when the decision was made to switch to the zone format which has been in use in NCAA Division I for many years.
"This is something we wanted for a long time," Blue Devil diving coach John Crawford said. "Instead of video review, we wanted a head-to-head competition."
The format will be different for another reason. Division III divers are used to a round of preliminaries, followed by a round of finals. The zone meet will be consist of finals only - 11 dives with no do-overs. The women's 3-meter and men's 1-meter are scheduled for today beginning at 4 p.m. The women's 1-meter and men's 3 meter are set for noon Saturday.
"Under the video review system," Crawford said, "the divers had several opportunities to impress the judges. This is a one-time shot to go to nationals. That will put a different type of pressure on the student-athletes. I'm kind of intrigued to see how they handle it. It's the first time for everybody."
The NCAA field will be chosen from the top divers at each of the four zones based on a percentage of entrants competing on each board at each venue.
SUNYAC SCORING CHANGE
The SUNYAC office on Wednesday released recalculated women's 1-meter diving scores from the conference championship meet last Saturday. Keller earned an 11-dive score of 489.95 points to win the event and earn SUNYAC Women's Diver of the Meet honors. She was followed by Ficarro with 466.70 points and Haley with 431.35. Cogliandro finished fifth with 422.85. The new scores did not affect the order of finish. All scores exceeded the NCAA provisional qualifying standard.