Diving Pair Conclude NCAA Zone E Meet

Austin, Texas - Jessica Holden and Jo Thibodaux represented San Jose State University at the three-day NCAA Zone E Diving Meet on the campus of the University of Texas, this past Thursday, March 12, through Saturday, March 14. Despite its location, the meet was actually hosted again this year by the United States Air Force Academy.

Holden, a freshman out of Fair Oaks, Calif. (Roseville HS), and Thibodaux, a sophomore from Alvin, Texas (Alvin HS), traveled to Austin, Texas, early last week, along with second-year San Jose State diving coach Brian Tanner.

The three-meter springboard, one-meter springboard and platform competitions were held on Thursday, March 12, Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14, respectively, with the divers with one of the top 18 scores advancing to finals following the preliminary rounds. The top three scorers after finals, moved on to the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, to be hosted by Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, March 19-21.

On the meet’s first morning, Thibodaux scored 223.35 over her six preliminary dives, to place 24th out of 40 participants on the three-meter board, while Holden had a 186.65 for 39th. Junior Emma Friesen from Western Athletic Conference foe Hawai’i, the NCAA champion in the one-meter event a year ago and two-time gold medalist at this year’s WAC Championship late last month, had the top prelim score of 300.50, and went on to win the event at night (594.20).

In the one-meter event on Friday, Thibodaux totaled a 210.85 for 27th place out of 40 after her six prelim dives. Holden was 37th with a score of 178.95. Once again, Friesen had the top morning score, of 289.40, and won the event with a 591.40.

The platform event on Saturday saw Thibodaux (154.95) and Holden (152.65) finish 21st and 22nd, respectively, out of 23 entrants following their five attempts. UCLA’s Tess Schofield won with a 476.90 after Stanford’s Carmen Stellar had posted a 237.05 to lead after prelims.

This marked the first Zone E appearance for both Spartans. Thibodaux was a four-time WAC Diver of the Week honoree this past season, arguably the best in program history, as the Spartans completed their dual meet schedule at 16-1 with 16 straight victories, and matched a program-best fourth-place finish at the WAC Championship in San Antonio, Texas. Holden earned WAC Diver of the Week selection twice in her first season of collegiate diving. The duo combined for 24.5 points toward the team total at the WAC Championship, with Thibodaux contributing 21.5 of them, and Holden posting her first three as a Spartan.

Seven divers from Zone E advanced to the NCAA Championships on the women’s side in all. Accompanying Friesen and Schofield to College Station will be Marisa Samaniego of UCLA, Victoria Ishimatsu of USC, Stellar and Margaret Hostage of Stanford, and another WAC performer, senior Candice Minette of Nevada.

San Jose State at NCAA Zone E Diving Meet
March 12-14, 2009

Results (top three finals finishers with 12-dive totals, plus Spartans with six-dive scores)

Three-Meter Diving
1. Emma Friesen, UH, 594.20; 2. Marisa Samaniego, UCLA, 591.65; 3. Victoria Ishimatsu, USC, 583.05; 26. Jo Thibodaux, SJSU, 223.35; 39. Jessica Holden, SJSU, 186.65.

One-Meter Diving
1. Emma Friesen, UH, 591.40; 2. Victoria Ishimatsu, USC, 572.10; 3. Carmen Stellar, STAN, 541.90; 27. Jo Thibodaux, SJSU, 210.85; 37. Jessica Holden, SJSU, 178.95.

Platform Diving (10-dive finals totals; five-dive prelims)
1. Tess Schofield, UCLA, 476.90; 2. Carmen Stellar, STAN, 468.25; 3. Victoria Ishimatsu, USC, 456.95; 21. Jo Thibodaux, SJSU, 154.95; 22. Jessica Holden, SJSU, 152.65.