Smithberg Leads NAU on Platform, Ardavanis NCAA Alternate

Smithberg Leads NAU on Platform, Ardavanis NCAA Alternate

USAFA, Colo. – Junior Gwen Smithberg led the Lumberjacks in the platform competition with a 19th place finish and freshman Chelsea Jackson was 24th on the final day of the NCAA Zone E Diving Championship hosted by the Air Force Academy.

Senior Kristy Ardavanis, who was hoping to earn an NCAA Championship berth after finishing sixth on 1-meter yesterday, ended up as an alternate for the national championship meet following the platform competition. The scenario that Ardavanis needed to earn an NCAA bid, in which three specific divers who had already qualified at the meet had to be the top three finishers on platform, did not play out but she is one of two alternates for the national championship after finishing just behind the nine qualifiers from the zone.

"She'd love to be traveling to Indianapolis (for the NCAA Championship) but she feels good about what she did," said NAU diving coach Nikki Huffman of Ardavanis. ""It was still a really good week for us altogether. Every single one of them had some good dives and some good performances. It was great that Kristy made two finals and Chelsea made one and Gwen was really close on 3-meter and platform. All in all it was a really good meet for us."

Smithberg, the 2013 WAC platform champion and NAU's all-time record holder on the board, slightly missed one dive but still managed to finish 19th in the field of 37 with a 199.55 total. Jackson concluded her superb freshman season with a 191.05 score to place 24th overall.

The three NAU qualifiers for the zone meet recorded two WAC titles this season - from Ardavanis on 1-meter and Smithberg on platform – and eight All-WAC honors for the 2012-13 year while Huffman was named WAC Diving Coach of the Year.

Women NCAA Championship Qualifiers from Zone E 

1.      Hailey Ishimatsu (University of Southern California)

2.      Samantha Pickens (University of Arizona)

3.      Hailey Casper (Arizona State University)

4.      Michole Timm (University of New Mexico)

5.      Kahley Rowell (University of California, Berkeley)

6.      Emma Ivory-Ganja (University of California, Los Angeles)

7.      Aimee Harrison (University of Hawaii)

8.      Morgan Weller (Arizona State University)

9.      Hannah Prigge (Fresno State University)



1.      Kersten Merry (University of Utah)

2.      Kristy Ardavanis (Northern Arizona University)