Lathrop diver number one in the state, starts well at regionals

FAIRBANKS-There is a high school athlete who is the best in the state in a sport you may not be too familiar with. Diving. Last night were the region VI championship prelims at the Hamme Pool and there were four divers participating-three from West Valley and one from Lathrop.

West Valley Junior Sabrina Nichols posted a 168.8 in last night's prelims for girls.

The Wolpack's Emily Shipman, a senior, bested her teammate with a 204.4. Shipman has been diving for two years and studied broad in Italy a year ago. She is currently ninth in the state.

Freshman Trae Curtis is also a member of the Wolfpack and put a 164 in his first regional prelim.

But the top dog is Lathrop Malemute Zachary Campbell. The junior is ranked first in the state and put up a 297.9 at last night's prelims. He's even done some gymnastics. Luke Jones of Ketchikan is his closest comp right now three points behind in the state standings.

Campbell has been diving for three years all with Regions VI diving coach Kara Nash who has been the region diving coach for six years. Nash is a former diver from the University of Rochester.

The divers will have three more dives this Saturday in the championship round. Doing well at state and winning is the ultimate goal but Campbell takes it dive by dive and is coming off a big win at the Valley Invitational. He credits his coach for his number one ranking.

"I don't know just a lot of practice and listening to my coach. Everything she tells me I got to do it and that's really helped [me] improve. She's a great coach and that's helped a lot," Campbell said.
"He's pretty confident about his diving more so than [me]. I get nervous and he never gets nervous he just competes and he knows he can do it," Nash said. "I love his attitude with everything he's doing."
"It's going to be really exciting," Campbell continued. "But I'm not trying to think about it too much. Just kind of stay where I'm at and see how it goes and then see where everybody's score are from around the state and then just see how I do I guess."