Redbird Diver Wenting Zhang Set To Compete At NCAA Championships
March 19, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Coming off her historic achievement at the NCAA Zone C Diving Qualifier, Illinois State diver Wenting Zhang is set to compete in the one and three-meter diving competitions Thursday and Friday at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
The Shenzhen, China, native became the first diver in school history to advance to the NCAA Championships with her second-place score of 607.40 in the 1-meter competition at the NCAA Zone C Diving Qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend. She then went on to finish in fifth place overall in the 3-meter competition and will compete in both events this weekend.
"For Wenting to be representing Illinois State and our program at the highest level is truly an honor," ISU diving coach Phil Hoffman said. "To do something that no other diver in school history has done is something she will take with her for a long time. It will be something special to compete against the entire country in the top meet of the year. I know that she has trained extremely hard and set lofty goals for herself, and to see her attain them is truly special for me as a coach. Once we step foot on the pool deck Thursday, I believe she will be able to compete with anyone in the country."
Zhang, the two-time MVC Diver of the Year and three-time All-MVC First Team selection, is capping off a stellar third season at ISU. She topped her previous career-bests and broke her own school diving records with scores of 343.00 (1-meter) and 373.20 (3-meter) at the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Championship to help the Redbirds finish in second place overall.
Action for Zhang will begin Thursday with the 1-meter competition, followed by the 3-meter completion Friday. Hoffman knows that his star pupil will have some tough competition in the next few days, but believes Zhang is poised to have a strong showing against some of the best divers in the country.
"She had an outstanding week and set a precedent for the NCAA Championships with her performance at the zone meet," Hoffman stated. "Many of my coaching peers commented on her performance, as well as the diver from Southern Illinois. Many of them have been to the NCAA Championships in past years and know that they are diving at a very high level."
ESPN3.com will stream finals sessions on Friday and Saturday live. Thursday's sessions, along with the morning sessions on Friday and Saturday, will be streamed live via gophersports.com. Additionally, ESPNU will air a 90-minute show at 8 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 2. Live results for the championships will be available on NCAA.com and DiveMeets.com.
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