March 7, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Four of Army's most talented divers will travel to Buffalo, N.Y., this weekend (March 9-10) to compete at the NCAA Zone 'A' Diving Championship.
Juniors Chris Nguyen and Chad Drake will be joined by freshmen Zachary Woods and Josh Urnezis at this weekend's event, which will be contested inside the University at Buffalo's Alumni Arena Natatorium.
The diving will begin on Friday, March 9, with the three-meter event scheduled to get under way at 12 p.m. Action continues on Saturday, March 10, with the one-meter competition slated to begin at 12 p.m.
A total of 43 divers will compete at the Regionals, with the top four finishers off each board qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
Nguyen is coming off a dominant performance at the Patriot League Championships, where he earned first-team honors and collected Diver of the Meet accolades for the second consecutive year after sweeping both boards. The Cheshire, Conn., native, who holds Academy records off both boards, is appearing at the Zone Championship for the second year in a row. He broke his own school standard off the three-meter board at Patriots, racking up 393.15 points. Nguyen also established a season-best score off the one-meter board at the conference meet, totaling 371.05 markers.
Nguyen, who cemented his reputation as the top diver in the Patriot League this season, was selected as the conference's Diver of the Week six times during his standout junior campaign. He has been focused on this meet all season long, and should be in serious contention off both boards this weekend.
Drake, who missed the first half of the season as an exchange student at Navy during the fall semester, returns to the Zone Championship for the second year in a row. The Fort Drum, N.Y., product has topped the 300-point plateau in both events this season. He set a season-best score off the one-meter board in Army's tri-meet versus Colgate and Lafayette, posting 305.32 points. His season-best point total off the three-meter board came at the ECAC Championships, where he tallied 300.15 markers. Drake turned in a pair of top-eight finishes at the Patriot League Championships, placing fifth off the one-meter board and finishing seventh off the three-meter board.
Woods enjoyed a "breakout" plebe season for the Black Knights, posting Army's second-best scores off both boards. The Collierville, Tenn., native shattered the Academy record off the one-meter board, posting a score of 336.15 in Army's tri-meet versus Colgate and Lafayette. His personal-best score off the three-meter board (332.40) was recorded during the Black Knights' home dual versus Bucknell. Woods placed runner-up off the one-meter board at Patriots. The second-team all-conference selection also finished fifth off the three-meter board at the conference championships.
Urnezis, meanwhile, authored the Black Knights' third-highest point totals off both boards throughout the course of the year. He eclipsed the 300-point mark in both events this season, posting 305.80 markers off the one-meter board at the Patriot League Championships, and racking up 309.38 points versus Connecticut. He scored points in both events at the Patriots, placing eighth off the one-meter board and finishing sixth off the three-meter board.
All four divers will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, which will be contested March 22-24 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Seattle, Wash.