KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Senior MaryEllen Targonski and sophomore Jaina Gaudette earned qualification to next week’s NCAA Championships with top-five finishes on the platform Wednesday to wrap up NCAA Zone B Championships action at Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center.
Targonski, who garnered honorable mention All-America accolades last season on the platform, will make her second consecutive appearance at the national meet while Gaudette punched her ticket to NCAAs for the first time in her career.
Targonski was fourth in Wednesday afternoon’s platform competition with a combined score of 529.00, earning 269.95 points in preliminaries and 259.05 in finals. She topped the 50-point mark three times on her finals list, receiving an award of 61.50 in the second round on a forward 3.5 somersault for a 3.0 degree of difficulty.
Gaudette finished right behind Targonski in fifth, totaling 500.80 points across her two lists. The Windsor, Ontario native secured her trip to NCAAs with a score of 251.55 in finals. Her finals performance included a back 2.5 somersault in the second round that received an award of 66.70 from the judges.
“Jaina – first-time qualifier,” said head diving coach Nunzio Esposto. “That was awesome for her. And MaryEllen returning to NCAAs on platform. Both of them had very solid preliminary and solid finals to secure spots to dive platform.”
Junior Mackenzie Willborn also reached the platform final, placing 12th at 454.75.
A day after earning NCAA qualification on the one-meter springboard, junior Evan Moretti and sophomore Nathaniel Hernandez added platform to their list of eligible events at the national meet in Minneapolis. Moretti garnered automatic qualification with a seventh-place finish, scoring 657.40 points over preliminaries and finals. Hernandez recorded 649.70 points on his two lists of dives to come in eighth.
“Really proud of Evan Moretti and that he qualified on all three events,” Esposto said. “It was really good for him as a junior to add a third board. Nathaniel also added a springboard event this year. He was very consistent. He and Evan did a phenomenal job this week.”
Freshman Teddy Zeng finished 13th in preliminaries at 292.85.
The Women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships get underway Wednesday, March 14 in Columbus, Ohio, followed by the Men’s NCAA Championships March 21-24 in Minneapolis.