ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Virginia Tech men’s and women’s divers opened the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships this afternoon with a huge sweep of the men’s 1-meter springboard event. Ryan Hawkins earned the first automatic bid to the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, bringing home the gold, followed by Logan Shinholser in second and Daniel Martin in third. Sarah Milton had the top performance for the women, placing fourth on the 3-meter springboard.
“Overall, for me to think that we were going to come in here and sweep that first event in the men’s competition, to go 1-2-3 out of 46 divers, I am just blown away by how well the Virginia Tech men did,” said head diving coach Ron Piemonte. “And for Ryan Hawkins, who’s a freshman, to win the first event of the weekend, it is just a huge accomplishment for him and our program.”
Freshman Ryan Hawkins began the weekend by earning a gold medal on the 1-meter springboard. Hawkins led the pack of 46 divers after the preliminary round, scoring a 327.90, then held onto that lead in the finals, with a combined total of 657.85. Logan Shinholser, who became Tech’s first ever ACC Diving Champion on Feb. 19 with a gold medal in the platform event, took second in the 1-meter, finishing just over five points behind Hawkins with a 652.05. Senior Daniel Martin then completed the H2Okies’ first ever event sweep at a Zone meet, overtaking Jason Cook of UMass for the bronze medal with a combined score of 616.55.
Over on the 3-meter springboard, Sarah Milton led the H2Okies, overcoming an eighth-place finish in the preliminary round to jump up to fourth in the finals with a combined score of 550.65. Sara Mokhtari finished in ninth place with a 497.40, followed by Carissa Santora in 12th (484.25) and Cara Murnan in a tie for 14th (476.00). Connecticut’s Danielle Cecco brought home the gold, way ahead of the pack with a 614.25, and Jennifer Betz of Rutgers earned the second automatic spot, earning silver with a score of 565.25.
“The women had a very solid performance today,” said Piemonte. “Sarah Milton’s fourth-place finish is very impressive for her and a great start to the weekend.”
The Zone A Championship continues tomorrow as the men and women trade events. The men will compete in the 3-meter springboard and the women in the 1-meter. Prelims will begin at 1 p.m. followed immediately by the final round. Live results can be found here.
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