DeNunzio, Chirico Dive at Natatorium for Last Time This Season

ZACK EINHORN

ZACK EINHORN

By LAUREN BOYD

Two Middlebury divers, Mike Chirico ’20 and Elissa DeNunzio ’18, took part in last weekend’s NCAA Regional Diving Meet, held in the Natatorium. Both Chirico and DeNunzio posted impressive performances in what will be Chirico’s last home meet at the Natatorium this season and DeNunzio’s last opportunity to dive there for Middlebury.

Coming off a strong Nescacs performance, Chirico looked to continue his roll in both the one- and three-meter competitions. At the conference tournament last month, Chirico managed to finish second in the one-meter event and third in the three-meter event.

On the first day of the regional meet, Chirico held true to his recent success, opening up with an eighth-place finish in the one-meter competition. Out of 23 divers, Chirico’s 453.15 points placed him in the upper half of the pack.

Along with Friday’s results in the one-meter competition, Chirico’s fifth-place finish in the three-meter portion of the tournament qualifies him for the NCAA Championships in Indiana later this month. In the three-meter event, Chirico scored 456.45 points, which put him fifth in a 20-diver field.

DeNunzio completed her season, and her college diving career, at the regional meet. She did so in impressive fashion and was excited to have the opportunity at the Nat, at home and in front of her friends.

“I really enjoyed having regionals at Midd this year,” DeNunzio said. “I was comfortable with the boards, and it was great to have my friends come cheer me on. I had a great meet at Nescacs, so I was just hoping to build off of that performance and finish off my diving career on a good note.”

Like Chirico, DeNunzio looked to build on good performances at the conference meet. At Nescacs, she finished fifth in the one-meter competition and sixth in the three-meter.

In her last career action, DeNunzio put forth two solid efforts. On Friday, her three-meter effort earned 365.10 points, which got her a 19th-place finish. In Saturday’s one-meter competition, the last event of her career, DeNunzio racked up 370.50 points from the judges, good for a 17th-place finish. With her fifth- (one-meter) and sixth-place (three-meter) finishes at Nescacs, DeNunzio was able to continue her strong performances at regionals.

DeNunzio spoke highly of the final experience of her career, the opportunity to complete her Middlebury diving career alongside great competitors from across the region, and the chance to watch fellow Nescac competitors compete one last time:

“It was exciting to be surrounded by such amazing divers and watch them perform. I loved being able to cheer on the other Nescac divers.”

From Wednesday, March 21 to Saturday, March 24, Chirico will join seven teammates at the national meet in Indiana, where he will compete against the country’s best Division III divers to conclude his season.

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DeNunzio, Chirico Dive at Natatorium for Last Time This Season