AUBURN, Ala. – The second day of the 2019 NCAA Zone B Championships was about perseverance, grit and determination for the Florida State divers as junior Ayla Bonniwell and sophomore Joshua Davidson overcame adversity in order to qualify for the NCAA Championships on Tuesday at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center.
Bonniwell finished seventh in the women’s 1-meter with a total of 557.00, while Davidson took the final qualifying spot thanks to a 76.50-scoring final dive in the men’s 3-meter with a total of 731.65.
“I’m very proud of the fight these guys showed today,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “This has been a tough week. Everyone we have here has put the work in all year and I’m proud of them.”
With seven NCAA qualifying spots up for grabs, the men’s 3-meter was a battle over all 12 dives.
Davidson and junior Cam Thatcher were in the thick of the hunt after prelims with Davidson in fifth (362.55) followed by Thatcher in ninth (350.50) as 21.30 points separated third and ninth place.
Davidson started off finals strong, climbing up to fourth place, however a mishap on his newest dive (reverse 3 ½ tuck) in the fourth round sent him down to eighth and out of NCAA qualifying position by just over four points.
The Tomball, Texas, native answered with scores of 8.0 on his forward 2 ½ somersault, 1 twist pike, but still was just over nine points away from seventh place following the fifth round.
With the pressure on and needing his best front 2 ½ somersaults, 2 twist pike, Davidson delivered his highest total of the day behind marks of 7.0 to finish with a score of 731.65, securing the NCAA bid by 4.45 points.
“He destroyed that dive,” Proctor added. “It was awesome.”
With his 12th place finish on 1-meter on Monday, Davidson will advance to NCAAs in Austin, Texas (March 27-30) and will be eligible to compete in both springboard events.
Thatcher added 317.25 in his final round to place 14th.
In prelims of women’s 1-meter, Bonniwell was outside of qualifying for finals with two dives remaining, however she took advantage of two twisting dives, scoring 46.80 in the fifth round and 53.75 in the sixth in order to finish with a score of 264.40 in 13th place.
Sitting just 10.75 points out of an NCAA qualifying spot heading into finals, Bonniwell significantly improved her first two dives that included scores of 7.0 on her front 2 ½ pike when she received marks of 5.0 in prelims.
The Ithaca, N.Y., native came up big when she needed it most, scoring her highest total of the day on her fifth round twister, tallying 55.90 points to jump into seventh place.
Bonniwell would seal her bid after scoring a total of 48.75 on her final dive.
Junior Molly Carlson qualified for finals in ninth place after scoring a total of 278.25 out of prelims, where all six of her dives received marks between 6.0-7.0.
Needing to only a top 12 finish after punching her ticket to NCAAs on 3-meter, Carlson relied on three big dives of 50 points to carry her throughout finals, adding a total of 274.25 in order to remain in ninth place with a final score of 552.85. The Toronto, Ontario, native is eligible to compete in both springboard events at NCAAs.
Women’s platform prelims will begin at 10 a.m. CT on Wednesday, with finals following at 12 p.m. CT. The men’s platform will begin at 2:15 p.m. CT with finals starting at 4:15 p.m. Carlson will need to be in the top 12 in order to add the event to her NCAA list, but the top nine men will advance to NCAAs.
The Schedule (CT):
Wednesday, March 13
10 am – Women’s platform prelims
12 pm – Women’s platform finals (18 divers)
2:15 pm – Men’s platform prelims
4:15 pm – Men’s platform finals (18 divers)
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