PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Nine Divers Look to Qualify for NCAAs as Purdue Host Zones

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Sean Mokhtari finished less than one point shy of an NCAA berth at Zones last season.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Sean Mokhtari finished less than one point shy of an NCAA berth at Zones last season.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

March 12, 2013


Live Dive-by-Dive Scoring | Qualifying Matrix | List of Entered Divers

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The nine Purdue divers -- five men and four women -- striving to advance to the NCAA Championships later this month will have the home-boards advantage as the three-day Zone C Diving Championships is contested at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center beginning Thursday afternoon.

Alec Back, Jamie Bissett, Nate Cox, Sean Mokhtari and Layne Rogers will represent the Purdue men, Michelle Cabassol, Casey Matthews, Maddie Miskulin and MacKenzie Tweardy the Purdue women. After five of the six divers who competed for the Boilers last year got their first taste of Zones, only Cabassol and Rogers are new to the experience this season.

Action is set for Thursday through Saturday at the diving well of the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. The men's 1-meter and women's 3-meter competitions are scheduled for Thursday and vice versa on Friday. Both genders will compete from the platform towers Saturday. Preliminary round action begins at 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday. There will be a 10-minute break before the finals begin. Saturday, women's action begins at 11 a.m. and the men's competition will start 30 minutes after the women are done.

The top 18 finishers in the springboard prelims and the top 12 in the platform prelims advance to the championship rounds, from which the divers qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Purdue is hosting the Zone C Championships for the first time since 2010 and for the fourth time since the Boilermaker Aquatic Center opened.

There are five Zone meets around the country. Each Zone is allotted a different number of qualifying berths to the NCAA Championships, with Zone C receiving nine for both genders this year. Zone C is expected to feature a large number of divers from the Big Ten Conference teams but competitors from the Big East, Horizon League, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Southeastern and Summit League schools will also be in attendance.

There is a unique matrix utilized to divvy up the nine qualifying spots among the three competitions. In Zone C, automatic bids go to the top four finishers in the 3-meter, the top three performers in the 1-meter and the top two finishers in the platform.

However, if a competitor places highly among multiple events at his or her Zone meet, he or she will not account for more than one of the nine qualifying slots allotted to his or her gender. So divers that place just below the automatic qualifying spots still receive NCAA berths sometimes. Additionally, coaches often times adjust the dive lists of their competitors who have already qualified to enhance their teammates' chances.

Unlike their swimmer counterparts, the divers have to perform well this weekend to qualify for the NCAA Championships. No other scores or results from regular-season competition are considered.

"Since our sport isn't based on times like swimming, it's a one shot deal; this is the NCAA qualifier," Purdue diving coach Adam Soldati said. "You've got to put it all together in this meet. But this happens a lot in our sport, so we're used to one-time qualifiers."

Once a competitor qualifies for the NCAA Championships in any of the three diving events, he or she is permitted to compete on all three boards at NCAAs. However, divers must continue to compete in every event at their Zone meet even if they qualify for NCAAs on the first day of Zones.

Virginia Tech (Zone A), Tennessee (Zone B), Houston (Zone D) and Air Force (Zone E) are also hosting Zone meets this week.

All nine Purdue divers set to compete this week scored team points for the Boilers at the Big Ten Championships, helping both squads place fifth in the team standings. Tweardy (36 points), Cabassol (28) and Miskulin (24) scored in all three diving events for the women. Bissett (34) and Cox (17) did likewise for the men. Tweardy was the top individual point scorer among all Boilers and Bissett shared the honor on the men's team.

Tweardy was the runner up in the championship finals of the 1-meter and platform diving competitions. Matthews placed second from the 3-meter springboard while establishing a new program-record score. Both divers were named Second Team All-Big Ten.

For the men, Back (1-meter) and Bissett (platform) both placed third in a championship final to account for the top finishes. Rogers won the consolation final of the 3-meter springboard while becoming only the fourth diver in team history to surpass 400 points on a 3-meter list.

Matthews is Purdue's only active diver that has qualified for NCAAs in the past, representing the team at the 2009 and 2010 national championship events. After missing the last two seasons due to injury, she is once again among the Boilers' top springboard performers.

After five Purdue divers - three men and two women - qualified for the 2011 NCAA Championships, the Boilers did not have a representative last year for the first time in a long time. Mokhtari was the closest to qualifying as freshman a year ago, finishing less than one point shy of a berth in the platform competition.

Automatic NCAA Qualifiers (9 Spots per Gender in Zone C)
1-Meter -- 1st through 3rd
3-Meter -- 1st through 4th
Platform -- 1st & 2nd
More competitors qualify if the same divers place among the top finishers in multiple events

Teams with at least one Diver Entered
Akron
Ball State
Eastern Michigan
Evansville
Illinois
Illinois-Chicago
Illinois State
Indiana
IUPUI
Kentucky
Louisville
Miami (Ohio)
Michigan
Michigan State
Northwestern
Notre Dame
Oakland
Ohio
Ohio State
Purdue
Southern Illinois
Toledo
Western Illinois
Western Kentucky
Wright State
Youngstown State