SUNY Cortland diver qualifies for NCAA Div. III championships

Lee Wade (left) earned a trip to the NCAA Div. III Championships with his fifth-place finish on the 3-meter board, while Caroline Tighe (right) placed 25th on the 1-meter board (Darl Zehr Photography)

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cortland senior diver Lee Wade (Holtsville/Sachem East) earned a trip to the NCAA Division III Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships with his fifth-place finish on the 3-meter board during the final day of competition Saturday at the NCAA Division III Region 4 Diving Regional, hosted by Ithaca College.

Freshman Caroline Tighe (East Meadow) competed on the women’s 1-meter board during Saturday’s action and finished in 25th place with a score of 335.90 points.

Wade earned the last of six qualifying spots for nationals awarded to Region 4 men’s divers. He will head to Shenandoah, Texas, for the national championships March 15-18, and will be eligible to compete in both 1-meter and 3-meter diving at the meet. (Men’s 1-meter will be held March 16 and 3-meter will be March 18).

Wade finished fifth on the 3-meter board with a score of 484.90 points. The national qualifiers were then chosen alternating between the top finishers during Friday’s 1-meter competition and Saturday’s 3-meter leaders, with those already chosen skipped for the next finisher.

Fredonia’s Arron Carlson was chosen first as the 1-meter champ, followed by Geneseo’s Samuel Randall as the 3-meter runner-up (since Carlson also won the 3-meter board). Rowan’s Johnathan Morris was nest as the 1-meter runner-up, and Brockport’s Gabe Arias was the fourth selection as the third-place 1-meter finisher (runner-up Randall skipped). The last spots went to Rowan’s Sean Piacente (fourth on 1-meter) and then Wade from the 3-meter board (fourth-place Morris skipped).

Wade was toward the middle of the pack through the fifth round on the 3-meter board, but made a quick surge with his best three dives of the day (56.70, 61.60 and 56.70 points) in rounds 6-8 into the top five. He recorded at least 43 points on each of his final three dives to secure his national berth.

Wade was making his second straight NCAA diving regional appearance. Last year, in Cortland, Wade finished seventh on the 1-meter board and earned the second alternate spot for nationals from the region.