Maybe Sara Cassady just wanted to make it interesting.
After winning the one-meter dive at the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference championships last week, the Cal State Northridge diver quickly fell behind in the three-meter competition after a sloppy reverse two-and-a-half on one of her early dives.
Her final three dives were all rated among the hardest in degree of difficulty, and she nailed all three. Cassady ended up narrowly beating Sheri Takeuchi of UC San Diego, 468-467.05, to win the event and take the conference's diver-of-the-year honor.
By winning two events, Cassady helped lift the Northridge women's swimming and diving team to a fourth-place finish in the PCSC, up from eighth a year ago.
Hot news: Michael Abraham, Cal State Northridge women's basketball coach, couldn't wait to get his players back together to talk about Saturday night's embarrassing loss to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. But NCAA rules say a team can't practice or meet seven days in a row, and Sunday was an off day.
So Abraham called a team meeting for Monday morning.
For 12:01 a.m. Monday morning, to be precise.
The players gathered at Abraham's house, which is near the campus, and Abraham gave them a speech about dedication and sacrifice and what it takes to be a Division I basketball player.
"It was interesting," sophomore Lisa Vaillancourt said. "I thought we were going to be running."
Fine finishes: Marion Jones of North Carolina, Deena Drossin of Arkansas and Nada Kawar of UCLA head a list of eight former local high school track and field athletes who have been picked to finish among the top 10 in their respective events in the NCAA championships at the University of Oregon on May 29-June 1.
Track & Field News magazine has tabbed former Thousand Oaks High standout Jones to finish second in the women's long jump, fifth in the 200 meters and 10th in the 100.
Drossin, who graduated from Agoura in 1991, is picked to finish third in the women's 10,000 and Kawar, a 1993 graduate of Crescenta Valley, is tabbed third in the women's shotput.
Arizona's Amy Skieresz (Agoura 1995), Arkansas' Ryan Wilson (Agoura '93), Brigham Young's Craig Lawson (Granada Hills '89), Wisconsin's Jeremy Fischer (Camarillo '94) and South Carolina's Crystal Brownlee (Westlake '93) are also picked to be top-10 finishers.
Skieresz, runner-up in last year's NCAA cross-country championships, is tabbed fifth in the women's 5,000, and Wilson and Lawson are picked sixth in the men's 5,000 and 10,000, respectively.
Fischer is picked seventh in the men's high jump and Brownlee 10th in the women's shotput.
Cal State Northridge moved up to No. 10 in the Collegiate Baseball magazine poll and to No. 17 in the Baseball America poll. The Matadors (12-1), who have won seven consecutive games, are off to the best start in school history and have more victories than any team in the nation.
"It's like bringing your own deck of cards to a card game."
-- Barry Schreifels, Cal State Northridge swimming coach, on the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference's decision to use Northridge's diving board for the three-meter event at the conference meet in Cerritos, replacing the outdated one that had been at the site.
Things to Do
The Cal Lutheran men's basketball team (18-6, 10-3) will conclude the regular season with a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game against visiting Redlands (8-16, 5-8) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Kingsmen are one game behind SCIAC-leading Claremont-Mudd (16-7).
Contributing: Jeff Fletcher, Steve Henson, John Ortega.