Making Waves

While two well known Okie hoopsters have landed in Dallas in search of victory, another more obscure Oklahoma athlete is headed for Houston. KU freshman Shelby Noonan qualified for the Zone D diving championships and will compete against top regional athletes at the University of Houston Natatorium this weekend.

While J.R. Giddens and Jeremy Case were facing off at the Oklahoma State basketball tournament last year, Noonan was working on her fourth straight title. The Edmond, Ok native won her state diving championship all four years at Santa Fe High. Last season she was an All-State selection as well. This season, Shelby was twisting and flipping as a Jayhawk.

"Shelby did great this first year. One of the biggest leaps from one level to the next is from high school to Division I athletics, especially in the Big 12 conference," said head coach Clark Campbell.

"She has really stepped up to the amount of work that is involved. In high school many athletes can get by on natural ability, but suddenly everyone has the same natural talent. It becomes about who wants it the most."

Second year diving coach Brad Szurgot shows athletes how to translate that want into the work it takes to succeed in the Big 12.

"He is excellent at getting an athlete to work towards a goal. They commit to rigorous dry land and strength training, as well as the diving," said Campbell.

The work paid off for Noonan. Approximately 30-40 divers will compete at each of the five regionals, with the top finishers progressing on to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships held at the Goodwill Games Aquatic Center in New York.

Although Noonan will compete in the one-meter and platform as well, the three-meter is her strongest event.

"High schools do the one-meter, but she had good club experience in the three-meter and that has helped her," explained Campbell. "She was a top eight finalist in the Big 12."

"She is really strong at the inward and twisting dives. Shelby just needs real consistency to put together a full set."

This weekend may be Noonan's last chance to demonstrate consistency this season. Still, the rising star has this last meet plus three years more to show the Jayhawk faithful just what an Oklahoma girl can achieve while wearing the Crimson and Blue. Top Stories