Ashlee Erickson named Diver of the Year at 2012 MW Championships
Feb. 25, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The 2012 Mountain West swimming and diving championships came to a conclusion today and the New Mexico Lobos finished sixth with a point total of 285. The finish is a great improvement over last year when UNM finished eighth, the 2012 finish is the highest New Mexico has finished since 2003 and 2004 when it finished fifth.
Conference newcomer Boise State took home the title edging out San Diego State by only five points, 747 to 742. UNLV came in third with 551.5 points, Wyoming was fourth with a total of 470 and TCU finished fifth with 374.5. Colorado State was seventh and the Falcons finished last with point totals of 276 and 192, respectively.
The meet was a great showing for UNM who had a total of seven school records broken over the four days championships took place.
In the first day of competition the 200-yard medley relay team of Jorgi Hobson, Marissa Campbell, Ashley Blanchette and Stelicia Flores swam the event in 1:42.54, an NCAA B-Cut Qualifying time, and broke the record set last year by Hobson, Blanchette, Flores and Heidi Zeiger. Hobson also lowered her time in the 100-yard butterfly-- the third time she's accomplished the feat this year-- to 54.75. Her time also saw her finish fifth in finals.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Hobson, Campbell, Tesse Maciejko and Anna Lillistrom swam the event in 1:33.66, placing them sixth, and breaking the record set in 2006 by former Lobos Jenna Syverson, Tori Clarridge, Kelly Soldow and Katrina Leckovic.
The same Lobos who swam the 200-yard freestyle relay also swam the 400-yard free relay and broke the record in that event too. The teams' time of 3:25.79 bested the time of 3:26.47 set by Jennifer Patteson, Campbell, Sally Bellinger and Katrina McLoughlin in 2005.
Junior Lindsey Morris broke the record in the 100-yard breaststroke set by teammate Ashley Blanchette in 2011. Morris' final time of 1:04.02 was 51 hundredths of a second better that Blanchette's previous best time (1:04.53). Morris also completely shattered the Lobo record in the 200-yard breast, with her swim of 2:18.36 she bested the previous record set by Willa Bostock in 1997.
"We had a fantastic conference championship showing all around," said head coach Tracy Ljone. A total of 7 school records were broken multiple times. All the ladies pulled together to have an unbelievable meet. I am so proud of all our swimmers especially our seniors for finishing out a wonderful 4 years. Thank you to my entire team."
Last but not least sophomore Julia Carroll broke the school's 200-yard backstroke record previously held by Jocelyn Collela. Her preliminary time (she swam as an exhibition swimmer) of 2:00.98 was three seconds better than the previous best time of 2:03.05 set two years ago in 2010. It goes without saying that UNM also made a big splash outside the water.
Senior Ashlee Erickson was named Diver of the Year and Abel Sanchez repeated as MW Diving Coach of the Year. Erickson's award was the first time since 2005, when former diver Becca Barras won the honor, that a Lobo diver was recognized for her excellence off the boards.
Erickson placed first in both the 1- and 3-meter boards edging out San Diego State's Kristin Meier, the 2011 Diver of the Year, for the top spot in both events.
The native of Plainwell, Mich. first struck gold in the first day of competition winning the 1-meter with a final score of 311.85; during the 2011 MW Championships Erickson finished eighth in the event. She then repeated the feat winning the 3-meter crown with a final score of 326.35; in 2011 Erickson was fourth in this event.
"Ashlee's performance is not only a reflection of talent and hard work," said Abel Sanchez, UNM's head diving coach. "It also show the poise and confidence of a senior having great faith in her ability. In an intense environment against intense competition, Ashlee was clutch."
Up next for the swimming and diving team is the announcing of the 2012 MW All-Conference team. The names will be released Tuesday, Feb. 28 by the conference office. In order for an athlete to earn a spot on the all-conference team she must place in the top eight at the MW championships.