San Antonio, Texas - San Jose State University set three school records to move into the second spot in the standings following day one of the 2010 Western Athletic Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Championship on Wednesday, February 24. The Spartans have 78 points through three of 21 events. The meet is taking place at the neutral-site Josh Davis Natatorium, and will continue through Saturday, February 27.
The 2010 edition of the conference championship began with platform diving, the only event held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, due to the lack of a platform tower at the Josh Davis Natatorium.
Amy Kilby, a freshman out of Oklahoma City, Okla., the only Spartan diver in Texas this week with sophomore teammate Jessica Holden unavailable through injury, provided San Jose State with 16 valuable points right out of the gate. Kilby, who had already qualified for the NCAA Zone E Diving Meet at the conclusion of her very first collegiate competition at Stanford back in October, turned in the best performance by a Spartan at the WAC Championship since a win on the one-meter springboard by three-time WAC champion Tracy Harkins back in 2003. In her conference meet debut, Kilby posted a 192.33 for the fifth-best mark among 26 participants during morning prelims, qualifying with seven other divers for the championship final.
After five more attempts in the championship final, Kilby totaled a collegiate-best 205.50, eclipsing her own modern-day school record, for a third-place finish. Hawai'i junior Stephanie De Lima won the event with a 259.83. Nevada sophomore Aniesa Debaji was second (233.61). It was De Lima's second league title on platform, and the sixth straight for a UH diver. Kilby earns a bronze medal and first-team All-WAC distinction for the first time in her career.
The Spartan foursome of Heather Denman, the 2009 WAC Freshman of the Year, and juniors Kirsten Trammell, Caitlin Macky and Meghan McCurley, were narrowly edged at the end of the 200 medley relay, swimming 1:42.76, second-best all-time in program history. Nevada overtook San Jose State on the butterfly leg, with freshman freestyle anchor Jiao Jiao Mi barely holding off McCurley to the wall. The Wolf Pack timed 1:42.49 for their fourth straight win in the event, with the top three spots unchanged from a year ago. Denman's 50-yard leadoff backstroke leg of 25.35 bettered her own school record of 25.41 from the Toshiba Classic last November.
Denman, Trammell, Macky and McCurley all pick up silver medals and second-team All-WAC honors. The foursome just missed an NCAA 'B' standard of 1:42.70 by .06 seconds.
Missing standout distance freestyler Amy Friedhoff, who is redshirting her sophomore season, the Spartan 800 freestyle relay of freshman Marisa DeWames, junior Julia Koch, freshman Taylor Stoddard and sophomore anchor Kristin Yamaguchi still turned in a blistering 7:31.59 for a new school record and fifth-place. That mark had not been broken at San Jose State since the 2000 WAC Championship, when Petra Banovic, Jackie Castellano, Charlotte Pierce and Gretchen Cook went 7:32.74.
DeWames' leadoff leg of 1:51.05, which had the Spartans in second-place when she finished, was a lifetime best, moving her up the program's all-time top-10 chart in the 200 free from eighth to fourth.
Boise State produced an NCAA consideration qualifying time of 7:20.87 for its first relay triumph at a WAC Championship, breaking a four-year run of success in the event by Hawai'i in third. The Spartans bettered their seventh-place 2009 mark of 7:33.54 by almost two full seconds. They last finished fifth in the event in 2008.
"It was a great first-day effort for us," remarked fifth-year head coach Sage Hopkins. "We are excited to get in and race again tomorrow. Our best events are Friday and Saturday, so we are looking to have a good Thursday morning and keep things rolling.
"The girls put together a great relay," added Hopkins about the 800 foursome. "Marisa led off in a best time with an incredible first leg, and Julia Koch had a tremendous second leg to set things up for the team. That was a record we have wanted for quite a while. The whole team was thrilled with that race."
About Kilby's bronze medal earlier in the day, Hopkins concluded, "Amy just did a spectacular job of sparking the team. We are all so happy and so proud of her, to step up and do that."
Northern Arizona, which has finished each of the past two WAC meets as the runner-up, leads with 97 points. Boise State is right behind the Spartans with 77 points, while three-time defending WAC champion Nevada had its 800 free relay disqualified, and thus sits back in fourth-place with 72 points.
San Jose State has never been as high as second after the first day of competition under Hopkins, definitely not at least since 2003, and likely never in its 13 previous years in the WAC.
Three Spartans, Kilby, DeWames and Stoddard, made their first conference meet appearances.
The WAC Championship continues on Thursday, February 25, with preliminaries for the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 50 freestyle beginning at 9:00 a.m. PST. Evening finals for those three events, plus the 200 freestyle relay, start at 4:30 p.m. PST. McCurley is San Jose State's top medal hope in the 50 free.
San Jose State at 2010 WAC Championship
February 24-27, 2010
Team Scores (Through 3 of 21 events):
1. Northern Arizona 97
2. San Jose State 78
3. Boise State 77
4. Nevada 72
5. Hawai'i 70
6. Fresno State 65
7. San Diego 64
8. New Mexico State 58
9. Idaho 46
Results (Championship final only for platform diving):
Platform Diving: 1. Stephanie De Lima, UH, 259.83B; 2. Aniesa Debaji, UNR, 233.61B; 3. Amy Kilby, SJSU, 205.50; 4. Megan Collier, NAU, 203.55; 5. Cassie Anderson, NAU, 203.01; 6. Danielle Nero, UH, 196.38; 7. Stacey Luke, FS, 193.47; 8. Amanda Burnett, BSU, 170.76.
200 Medley Relay: 1. Nevada (Jeanette Tour, Margaret Doolittle, Marichi Gandionco, Jiao Jiao Mi), 1:42.49B; 2. San Jose State (Heather Denman, Kirsten Trammell, Caitlin Macky, Meghan McCurley), 1:42.76; 3. New Mexico State (Beth Cate, Maria Spies, Kelly Conrad, Tessa Bain), 1:43.88; 4. San Diego (Kristyn Deckard, Melissa Andruzzi, Kelly Stone, Jacquil Kimmel), 1:44.98; 5. Northern Arizona (Fi Connell, TJ Williams, Rachael Foe, Meredith Egloria), 1:45.16; 6. Boise State (Morgan McLain, Emily Irvin, Chelsea Lopus, Stevie Hughey), 1:45.37; 7. Fresno State (Heidi Gjoen, Britney Vogel, Rayanne Nguyen, Dani Yoho), 1:45.40; 8. Idaho (Staci Stratton, Elizabeth Jagusch, Treasa Ring, Katie Hendricks), 1:45.62; Hawai'i (Victoria Tan, Katie Edwards, Alyssa Manlow, Maura Barrett), DQ.
800 Freestyle Relay: 1. Boise State (Amber Boucher, Chelsea Lopus, Jennifer Cahill, Stephanie North), 7:20.87; 2. San Diego (Melissa Andruzzi, Francesca Finucane, Sarah Geerdes, Sarah Gleason), 7:25.60; 3. Hawai'i (Amathea Accornero, Ricarda Schellenberg, Maura Barrett, Emma Berry), 7:29.18; 4. Northern Arizona (Krista Maier, Vivian Landeck, Chalene Dirks-Ryan, Claire Ferro), 7:31.03; 5. San Jose State (Marisa DeWames, Julia Koch, Taylor Stoddard, Kristin Yamaguchi), 7:31.59; 6. New Mexico State (Beth Cate, Meghann Percy, Brittney Moore, Liz Thomson), 7:32.27; 7. Idaho (Kaela Pettitt, Amanda Watson, Alyson O'Brien, Corinee Hanson), 7:34.00; 8. Fresno State (Heidi Gjoen, Stephanie Hatayama, Rayanne Nguyen, Britney Vogel), 7:40.90; 9. Nevada (Dani Maddock, Calley Parham, Chavisa Thaveesupsoonthorn, Jiao Jiao Mi), DQ.