FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona swimming & diving history was made on Tuesday, the second day of the NCAA Zone E Diving Championships, as sophomore Tanya Kurach qualified for the national championships on the 1-meter springboard. Kurach is just the second Lumberjack diver in program history to qualify for the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, and the first to do so on the 1-meter springboard.
"Over my career at NAU, there's been six or seven times where we've had the alternate or a diver one or two spots out of the NCAA Championships," said diving coach Nikki Huffman. "To finally have a breakthrough with Tanya, it's really exciting. We've always been so close, and this is for all the alumni. Tanya was spectacular today. When I saw her on the scoreboard, and I knew she was going to (the NCAA Championships)."
Kurach joins Valerie Carter as the only NAU women's divers to advance to the national championships. Carter placed 17th overall at the 1986 NCAA Championships on 3-meter. She is the fourth Lumberjack, swimmer or diver, to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The WAC Diver of the Year out of Saint Petersburg, Russia punched her ticket to Indianapolis with a seventh-place finish at Tuesday's Zone Diving meet in the Aquatic and Tennis Complex. The top 11 divers earned automatic qualification and Kurach was safely in the qualifying positions all day. After the preliminary round, Kurach sat in ninth with a score of 275.80, and she further cemented her positioning in the finals, moving up two spots with a two-round score of 565.90.
Two other Lumberjack divers competed on the second day of Zones with sophomore Christina Torrente and senior Alexa Geiger placing 26th and 29th respectively. Torrente posted a score of 248.50, while Geiger concluded her illustrious collegiate career with a score of 236.15.
"Christina dove really consistently," Huffman said. "A little here and a little there, and she would've been really good and made finals. Lex did a couple of dives really well, she did a couple ok and she missed one a little bit. It's not the way she wanted to go out, but she has had a great career and she's excited about what she's done and how she's represented NAU."
The four-day NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships will be held from March 15-18 in Indianapolis, Ind. Kurach will compete in the 1-meter event on Thursday, March 16.
Meanwhile in Flagstaff, the 2017 NCAA Zone E Diving Championships will conclude on Wednesday with the women's platform prelims starting at 11 a.m. in the Aquatic and Tennis Complex. All fans can attend for free and live results will be available on divemeets.com.