MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  Propelled by a program record in platform by junior PJ Lenz, the West Virginia University men’s and women’s diving teams completed the third and final night of competition in Austin, Texas, wrapping up the 2021 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship, at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, on Wednesday.

With a record score of 377.00 in the final event of the championship, Lenz earned a bronze-medal finish to lead the men on platform. His total bests the previous record of 349.80, set by Austin Smith in 2020. Additionally, Lenz becomes the first Mountaineer diver to earn a top-three finish at the championship since classmate Nick Cover placed third in 2019.

In the final team standings, the West Virginia men finished in second place with 850 points, ahead of TCU in third with 718. On the women’s side, the Mountaineers jumped into fourth place with 526 points following the diving competition, just behind TCU in third place with 528 points. Texas once again swept the competition, as the Longhorns topped the men’s (1,123) and women’s (1,055) leaderboards.

“I’m so proud of this team for their efforts not just this week, but this season as a whole,” diving coach Karla Helder said. “Not only were they faced with the adversity of a pandemic, but with a brand new coach as well. These kids have exceeded my expectations, fully embracing the new foundations being built this year. I believe this is the new future of WVU diving, and there’s no better way to wrap up this week than with a school record.”

On the final night of the week-long conference championship, Darling opened the competition, representing WVU in the women’s platform event. She earned 196.95 points to finish in seventh place. In the event’s consolation final, freshman Sara Haggerty earned a second-place finish with a 228.60 total, followed by junior Emma Longley in third (197.30). Also placing in the consolation final where junior Camille Burt in fifth (191.40) and sophomore Marian Tiemeier in sixth (189.65).

The excitement in the men’s event closed the evening, as all five West Virginia competitors earned a spot in the finals. Lenz led the way with his bronze-medal and record-setting finish, but Cover was just behind him in fourth place with a 325.15 total. Redshirt senior Jacob Cardinal Tremblay finished in fifth, notching a score of 309.85, while sophomore Owen Johns was sixth (250.50) and redshirt junior Jake Lowe was seventh (211.25).

The Mountaineer divers have a quick turnaround facing them next week, as they head to the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Monday, March 8. The Zones competition runs through Wednesday, March 10, at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

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