It’s Now the Elite Eight
It is now the second year for the Elite Eight, an impressive list of those high school divers across the nation who put up the best performances in their regional, district or state competitions as judged by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) Diving All American Selection Committee.
Each of these 16 divers has been named a High School All American, and they represent a sample of many of the worthy and accomplished divers who competed during the 2011-2012 diving season. The full list of All Americans can be found on the NISCA Website.
Are They the Best?
Do these eight girls and boys represent the best eight high schools divers in the nation? Possibly. The results are based on the scoring of footage from their state meet, regional, sectional, etc. - not head-to-head competition. If these divers competed against each other in a larger meet, the results might be different, and then again, they might be the same.
Why they vary, or change from year to year, is do to a number of factors such as how competitive their individual meets were, where they competed, and without a doubt, the quality of the DVD that they submitted.
Diving's Elite Eight
This idea for the Elite Eight, which started as the Super Five, came about as a result of a similar selection of the top prep basketball players. And since divers desperately need, and should receive more publicity than they currently get, the idea of the Super Five / Elite Eight was born. For more information and background on the selections, read about the selection from 2009.
Why eight? Because this group separated themselves from the other 92 divers through the quality of their performance and also lent itself to a catchy phrase!
The Selection Process
All divers submitting applications for high school All American are judged by an independent panel of diving coaches selected by NISCA, and are scored just as they would be in any diving meet, except that it is in front of a large screen television instead of on the pool deck during a competition.
From these scores the top 100 boys and 100 girls are named All American. The top-ten or so divers are scored again producing a mythical high school champion, and a ranking from which these top-eight were drawn.
The Elite Eight for this year contains four repeat divers from last year – Jenna Karrow, Kelly Markle, Bryce Klein and Zhipeng Zeng, and two repeats for the national champions, Kassidy Cook and Zhipeng Zeng.
Hmm, how can Kassidy Cook be a repeat national champion and not a repeat from last year? Well, it’s all in the details. Ms. Cook was not able to compete in the 2011 Texas high school championship, but was named the national champion in 2010 as a freshman. So she is a repeat national champion, it was just not in consecutive years.
The list contains seven seniors, six juniors and three sophomores. Eleven states are represented in 2012 (as opposed to eight in 2011), led by Texas with five divers and Ohio with two.
While several divers from last year dropped off the list, it certainly does not mean that they are less deserving, but just that the particular performance from the competition that was submitted did not rank in the top-eight, which are listed below in alphabetical order with the national champion duly noted.
So here they are, a little late but no less deserving … The Elite Eight for 2011-2012!
Girls Elite Eight
- Olivia Ball – Sophomore (Olentangy Liberty High School/Powell, Ohio)
- Michal Bower - Junior (Loveland High School/Loveland, Colo.)
- Kassidy Cook – Junior (Woodlands High School/Woodlands, Texas)**
- Meghan Houston – Senior (St. Andrews Episcopal/Austin, Texas)
- Elizabeth Howorth – Junior (Elkhorn High School/Elkhorn, Neb.)
- Jenna Karrow – Sophomore (East Ridge High School/Woodbury, Minn.)
- Kelly Markle – Senior (Woodlands High School/Woodlands, Texas)
- Morgan Mullins – Senior (Centerville High School/Centerville, Ohio)
Boys Elite Eight
- Cory Bowersox – Senior (Robinson High School/Fairfax, Va.)
- Ian Forlini – Sophomore (Tennent High School/Warminster, Pa.)
- Brad Homza – Junior (Westwood High School/Austin, Texas)
- Bryce Klein – Sophomore (Southlake-Carroll High School/Southlake, Texas)
- Sean O’Brien – Senior (Carlisle High School/Concord, Mass.)
- Thomas Shinholser – Junior (Paint Branch High School/Burtonsville, Md.)
- Clark Thomas – Senior (Olathe NW High School/Olathe, Kan.)
- Zhipeng Zeng – Freshman (The Kings Academy/Sunnyvale, Calif.)**
**High School National Champion