Kelly Marx Earns Spot At The 2009 NCAA Championships With Fourth-Place Finish Off 1-Meter
March 13, 2009
AUBURN - Auburn junior Kelly Marx earned a spot at the 2009 NCAA Championships with a fourth-place finish off the 1-meter springboard in NCAA Zone B Diving competition Friday afternoon.
Hosted by the University of Tennessee, the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships is a three-day meet, bringing together the top divers from 25 colleges and universities from the southeastern United States competing for bids to the 2009 NCAA Championships.
Friday's competition included the women's 3-meter and the men's 1-meter springboard.
Marx led the Auburn men, placing fourth in finals, scoring a 344.10 through six dives. The Overland Park, Kan., native posted a 346.85 to place fourth in prelims, advancing to Friday's final round. Marx scored a two-round total of 690.95 with an average round score of 57.35.
"Kelly did a great job today," said Auburn head diving coach Jeff Shaffer. "He set the example of how to compete in this event. At zones, you really have to go in and take care of business, be consistent and minimize mistakes. All the other divers had great moments but made some mental mistakes along the way."
Marx won the 2008 1-meter SEC Championship and finished as runner-up in all three diving events at the 2009 SECs.
"It's all about consistency," said Marx. "I was able to do that. To finish in one of the top four was my goal. But you can't really think about that.
"Pretty much now the pressure is all off, but you still want to prove that you are one of the best. It's still the same ball game. My attitude hasn't changed. We're going to go in there tomorrow and try to score high and get everyone qualified for NCAAs."
Junior Dan Mazzaferro finished Friday's finals in eighth with an even 308. The three-time SEC Champion posted a 318.85 in preliminaries for a two-round total of 626.85 and an average round score of 51.33.
"I am pleased with Dan's effort today," said Shaffer. "He hit some great dives but his two big events are coming up tomorrow and Sunday in the 3-meter and platform.
"I just told everyone to stay with our game plan, focus on each individual dive and let the product come out at the end of the event."
Auburn senior Scott Morgan placed 15th in the 1-meter finals with a 290.85 after scoring a 293.25 in prelims to make the finals cut. Freshman Adam Godzinski missed the finals after placing 26th in prelims with a 271.25.
"Adam's improvement was great to see," said Shaffer. "He was very consistent in his dives today and is starting to show a lot of improvement. For the freshmen, today was a big learning experience."
On the women's side, freshman Vennie Dantin led Auburn with a 12th-place finish on the 3-meter springboard, scoring a finals score of 271.95. The Conroe, Texas native was in 12th after prelims with a 271.85. Dantin finished the day with a 543.80 two-round total with an average round score of 45.33.
"Vennie had some great dives but also had some misses that prevented her from placing higher," said Shaffer. "This was a good finish for her first diving zone event."
Freshman Anna Aguero missed finals after placing 35th in prelims with a 229.85.
Miami's Reuben Ross placed first on the day with a two-round total of 755.30. Alabama's Aaron Fleshner placed second with Florida State's Terry Horner in third. The pair scored 725.65 and 722.65, respectively.
Duke's Abby Johnston won the women's 3-meter competition, recording a two-round total of 659.85. Alabama's Carrie Dragland (655.40) placed second followed by Miami's Jenna Dreyer (650.80).
Action in the NCAA Championship-qualifying meet continues Saturday with the men's 3-meter and women's 1-meter at 12 p.m., at Tennessee's Allan Jones Aquatic Center.
Live scoring will be made available via www.divemeets.com.
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