CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. -- Junior Kelli Stockton and freshman T.J. Shinholser earned the H2Okies’ fifth and sixth diving berths to the NCAA Championships on Wednesday afternoon, as the Virginia Tech diving teams wrapped up competition at the NCAA Zone A Championships with the platform events at Christiansburg Aquatic Center.
Stockton dominated the platform from start to finish, turning a 52-point prelims lead into a 100-point victory after the finals, tallying 625 points to earn her third NCAA berth in as many collegiate seasons.
Junior Kaylea Arnett and freshman Ashley Buchter, who both clinched spots earlier this week, gave the H2Okies three top-five finishers as the pair took third and fourth, respectively. Senior Katie Bean racked up 396.75 points to take seventh in her final collegiate event, while freshman Leah Piemonte tallied 370.35 in tenth place.
Senior Ryan Hawkins, who had already won the 3M on Monday to sew up an NCAA berth, also took top honors in the men’s platform with a score of 826.10, almost 100 points ahead of the field.
Hawkins’ victory meant that Shinholser, who finished third in the 1M event on Tuesday, wrapped up the fifth and final men’s berth to the NCAA Championships. Shinholser also earned runner-up honors in the platform for good measure, using a finals score of 372.25 to finish with 726.55.
Junior Kyle Butts (685.55) and sophomore Logan Stevens (647.10) finished third and sixth for the H2Okies, while senior John Trope tallied 603.05 points to take home ninth place in his final meet at Virginia Tech.
With both Stockton and Shinholser qualifying for the NCAA Championships on Wednesday, giving the H2Okies three men and three women with berths to the event, Tech finished the week with six of the 11 available spots at the Zone A Championships.
“To qualify six divers to the NCAA Championships is virtually unheard of,” Head Diving Coach Ron Piemonte said. “I couldn’t be more proud of Kelli, TJ and really the whole team for how they performed all week. With those two getting those last spots today, I couldn’t be more proud of everyone at this event and I think we have a really great squad of divers going to the NCAAs for the H2Okies.”
The Virginia Tech women’s swimming and diving teams will head to the NCAA Championships next week, as the H2Okies travel to Minneapolis, Minn. on Mar. 20-22. The men will travel to their NCAA Championships on Mar. 27-29 in Austin, Texas.
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