MINNEAPOLIS – Sophomore Nathaniel Hernandez rounded out the NCAA Championships in strong fashion Saturday, claiming the first All-America honors of his career.
Hernandez placed fourth in the platform diving consolation final and 12th overall for honorable mention All-America accolades. He joined teammate Evan Moretti in achieving the feat this week in Minneapolis, as Moretti captured honorable mention All-America recognition Thursday on the one-meter springboard.
Hernandez became the fourth diver in men’s program history to garner All-America status, joining John C. Connor, Nick McCrory and Moretti.
Both Hernandez and Moretti represented the Blue Devils in Saturday’s platform preliminaries, with Hernandez finishing 16th (351.35) and Moretti 27th (307.45). Sitting 17th with two dives remaining in the round, Hernandez received scores of 62.00 and 54.45, respectively, to secure a spot in the consolation final.
The Southlake, Texas native topped the 60-point mark three times in finals, including in the third round when he earned 70.40 points on an inward 3.5 somersault. Hernandez closed out the afternoon with 361.00 points for fourth.
“It was very exciting that Nathaniel qualified to compete in two events here at NCAAs,” said head diving coach Nunzio Esposto. “He had a solid one-meter list. At this point in the season, here at nationals, everyone is really top-notch. He competed well one-meter and had a great preliminary today. And he ended up in 12th with a great list.”
Moretti also scored for the Blue Devils with his 13th-place finish Thursday on the one-meter board. He achieved honorable mention All-America recognition for the second time in his career after previously achieving the feat on the three-meter board as a freshman in 2016.
“Evan missed All-America last year so it was really, really gratifying to do a solid one-meter list and repeat as an honorable mention All-American this year as a junior,” Esposto said. “It was really exciting to see his hard work pay off."
Behind the performances of Hernandez and Moretti, the Duke men tied for 33rd in the final team standings with nine points. The duo joined fellow diver MaryEllen Targonski in achieving honorable mention All-America status this season, with Targonski doing so on the platform at the women’s NCAA meet. Senior swimmer Leah Goldman rounded out the group of Blue Devil All-Americans, placing 15th in the 100-yard butterfly.