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Men’s Diving: Top six move on to OSU

Chris Doyen | Friday, March 14, 2008

After claiming the Big East title in New York Feb 20-23, the Irish will send their top six divers to Ohio State’s McCorkle Diving Pavilion this weekend to compete in the NCAA Zone C Meet.

Zones A, B and D will be competing over the same time period, while Zone E competition began yesterday and will continue through tomorrow. Top performers at each regional zone meet advance to the NCAA Championships in two weeks.

The Irish representatives are a mix of rookies and upperclassmen. The squad is comprised of seniors Steven Crowe and Sam Stoner, junior Michael Bulfin, and freshmen Nathan Geary, Eric Lex and Wesley Villaflor.

As seniors, Crowe and Stoner will be attempting to extend their careers through one more meet.

“This will be the final meet for Steve Crowe and myself unless we make it to nationals,” Stoner said. “So we are looking to go out with a bang.”

The six will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to compete against approximately 90 divers in a 24-school competition. The divers in each of the five zone meets will compete for the chance at participating in the NCAA Championships that will take place in Federal Way, Wash. March 27-29.

During the Big East Championships, the Irish divers claimed five of the top eight spots in the 1-meter board. Bulfin took second place, while Lex took third. Stoner finished second in the 3-meter board, and Bulfin took third place.

Stoner and the rest of the divers are exhibiting a significant amount of confidence heading into the weekend.

“The top eighteen finishers in prelims advance to the finals, and everyone is capable and hoping to accomplish this,” Stoner said. “We have worked hard all year for this. Everyone is confident about their dives. We are just going to go out there, relax and go big.”

The Irish have proved successful in previous years at the NCAA Zone C meet. In 2007, Stoner claimed the seventh spot on the 1-meter board. Bulfin came in one spot behind him, and also took fifth place in the 3-meter board. As a freshman in 2006, Bulfin advanced to the NCAA Championship and claimed a remarkable top-20 finish in the 3-meter.

Bulfin’s 2008 regular season was full of highlights that showcased his talent and potential. On January 18th, he set a Notre Dame record on the 3-meter dive. That record lasted less than 24 hours, however, as Bulfin turned around and broke his own record the next day.

The Irish men will commence diving today at 1 p.m with the 3-meter board. The 1-meter board competition will take place Saturday at 1 p.m, with the platform diving competition will be held Sunday at 11.