BOISE, Idaho-Boise State rising sophomore diver Ciera Cortney will compete at the 2011 AT&T USA Diving National Championships on the one-meter springboard. Cortney qualified by earning one of five berths awarded at the USA Diving National Preliminary Zone D competition July 15, in Tucson, Ariz. She will become the first Bronco to compete at the national championship meet August 11, in Los Angeles on the campus of UCLA.
The event serves as the Pan American Games Trials for USA Diving and will be an opportunity for athletes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
"This is a great step for Ciera and for our program," said head diving coach David Legler. "The hard work she has put in and we have been putting in here at Boise State is starting to show on the collegiate level and the national level."
Cortney finished sixth out of 57 participants in the one-meter event with a five-dive score of 228.55 at the preliminary meet (NCAA meets use a six-dive score). Samantha Pickens won the zone championship, but was already qualified for nationals, giving Cortney the nod. Cortney also placed 19th in the three-meter competition in Tucson.
"Qualifying for senior nationals is such an honor," Cortney said. "I can't believe I am going to have the opportunity to compete against Olympic divers. The caliber of diving that will be there is going to be awesome, and I am so excited to be surrounded by that atmosphere. I have been working really hard and it showed at senior zones. The shock is still hitting me that I actually qualified."
The Las Vegas native is no stranger to the Spieker Aquatics Center at UCLA. Cortney earned her first NCAA Zone qualifying score at the Bruin Diving Invitational Jan. 7, setting a then-school record on the one-meter. The performance garnered her first-place points in the Broncos' dual against UCLA. She also set a then-school record in the three-meter competition.
"I feel more confident that I have already competed at this pool," Cortney said. "I really like the boards, so that definitely will help me be more calm and confident. I am excited to go back to the UCLA pool and be a competitor at such a big meet."
Before arriving in Los Angeles, Cortney will compete at the AAU National Championships July 24 and 25, in Riverside, Calif. She will participate in the one- and three-meter events as well as the platform. Cortney earned top-four finishes in each of the springboard events in 2009, the last time she competed at the AAU meet.Cortney became the first Bronco to qualify for the NCAA Zone Championships in a springboard competition during her freshman campaign. Her debut season included a silver medal at the 2011 Western Athletic Conference Championships, the first Boise State diver to medal in any event.