Diving team finishes season in Chicago

Alfred Johnson, Sports Writer

The UW Oshkosh dive team competed in the NCAA Division-III Region 1 Diving Championship in Chicago this past weekend. Freshman Matt Wilke and junior Gabrielle Kraus represented UWO at the event and were competing for a chance to represent Region 1 at the D-III championship in Indianapolis.

Wilke placed seventh place in two events while Kraus finished 16th in her respective competition. Despite the valiant performances from the divers, they were not selected to compete in Indianapolis for the championship.

Men’s diving

Wilke made his first NCAA regional appearance as he competed in two events: the 3-meter diving event and the 1-meter diving event. In total, he performed 22 dives across both events.

In the 1-meter event, Wilke scored 420.50 points among 27 competitors that placed him seventh in the event. Lake Forest College’s Heath Ogawa took home the championship in the event by scoring 523.90 points.

Rounding out the top six competitors in the event were Jacob Burris from Albion College in second, Dylan Gumaic-Berbeich from UW-Eau Claire in third place, Ryan McClelland from John Carroll University in fourth, Colin Grogan from Kalamazoo College in fifth place and Andrew Grabowski from the University of St. Thomas in sixth place with 423.25 points.

In the 3-meter event, Wilke competed against 24 other competitors where he placed seventh by scoring 444.30 points.

Ogawa won this event as well, scoring 512.50 points. Burris came in second again, scoring 460.25 points followed by Albon College’s Jacob Maurer in third place, Grabowski in fourth, Calvin College’s Micheal Moentmann in fifth place with 441.40 points and McClelland in sixth place.

Despite the two top-10 performances from Wilke, he was not one of the seven competitors that was selected to go on to Indianapolis to compete in the championship meet.

Wilke is listed as an alternate, meaning he will have an opportunity to go to Indianapolis if one of the seven selected divers cannot participate at the event.

Even with not directly qualifying for the championship, Wilke said he was pleased with this weekend’s outcome.

“Overall, I feel really good about my performance,” Wilke said. “My main goal for this weekend was to keep my diving consistent and not try to over-dive, and I think I did a really good job of completing that.”

UWO diving coach Amy McQuillan said Wilke handled his first season as a member of the team very well, especially the balance between academics and athletics.

“Our season is twice as long as a high school swimming and diving season, so it is a little bit more taxing,” McQuillan said. “Obviously adding all of the college classes and the demands of college life on to that, everyone handles that differently, but he has transitioned and adjusted how he needed to perform at his best.”

Women’s diving

Kraus made her third-straight appearance at the Region 1 Championship this past weekend. Last year, Kraus placed 13th in the 3-meter event and placed 18th in the 1-meter dive event.

She qualified only for the 1-meter diving event at this year’s competition, where she placed 16th, scoring 356.56 points off the 11 dives she performed.

The defending champion, Calvin College’s Sarah Bradley, won the event by scoring 430.65 points. The top-5 performances in the event came from Kayley Alioto from UW-La Crosse who finished in second, Nicki Bailey from Kalamazoo College who placed third, Madeline Jump from Kalamazoo College who finished in fourth place and Naomi Clayton of Denison University who placed fifth with 395.70 points.

Bradley would go on to not only win the 3-meter dive event by scoring 462.55 points, but join Alioto, Bailey, Allison Fitzgerald from Denison University, UW-La Crosse’s Caroline Holverson, Jump and Kalamazoo College’s Madeline Woods to represent Region 1 in the championship in Indianapolis on March 23.

Kraus said she was pleased with her performance in the 1-meter dive, even with the outcome.

“I did pretty good knowing that I started off this season with a broken nose and had a mental block this whole season,” Kraus said. “I came in and tried to do my best and I think that showed this past weekend.”

Kraus said the amount of help McQuillan provided her with over the course of the season was instrumental in her consistent development.

“[Coach McQuillan] is an amazing coach,” Kraus said. “She definitely has helped me out during the season because she is not only preparing us for college, but prepared us for life and says that diving will help you with the rest of your life with getting over those roadblocks. She is a great motivator and she is like a best friend to us.”