Pac-12 Diving Awards Announced
Arizona's Ben Grado (left) and USC Victoria Ishimatsu were honored as this year's Pac-12 Divers of the Year.
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - The Pac-12 Conference announced its men's and women's diving awards on Monday. ARIZONA senior Ben Grado was named Pac-12 Men's Diver of the Year, his coach Omar Ojeda was named Pac-12 Men's Diving Coach of the Year and STANFORD freshman Kristian Ipsen was named Pac-12 Men's Diving Freshman/Newcomer of the Year. USC senior Victoria Ishimatsu was named Pac-12 Women's Diver of the Year, her coach Hongping Li was named Pac-12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year and UCLA freshman Emma Ivory-Ganja was named Pac-12 Women's Diving Freshman/Newcomer of the Year. The awards were voted on by the Pac-12 diving coaches.
Pac-12 Men's Diver of the Year: Arizona's Ben Grado
Grado became the first diver to sweep all three events at the Pac-12 Championships since Arizona State's Micky Benedetti in 2008. The Conifer, Colo., native was the first Wildcat to capture a Conference title since Ojeda won six events from 2001 to 2002. Grado then capped his collegiate career by winning the platform title at the NCAA Championships in Federal Way, Wash., with a score of 487.25. He also placed ninth on the 1-meter and 3-meter.
Pac-12 Men's Diving Freshman/Newcomer of the Year: Stanford's Kristian Ipsen
Cardinal freshman Ipsen won all 12 regular season springboard events and then swept them again at the Zone E Championships. Hailing from Clayton, Calif., he missed the Pac-12 Championships while competing at the World Cup in London. Ipsen and his partner Troy Dumais finished sixth in the 3-meter synchro to earn the U.S. a berth in the upcoming Olympic Games. Ipsen captured the NCAA crown on the 3-meter, scoring 494.20. He was also the runner-up on the 1-meter.
Pac-12 Men's Diving Coach of the Year: Arizona's Omar Ojeda
Ojeda completed his first season leading his alma mater. He coached two of his divers, Andres Guerra along with Grado, at the NCAA Championships. Ojeda was a five-time All-American for Arizona from 2000 to 2002, earning Pac-10 Men's Diver of the Year in 2001 and 2002.
Pac-12 Women's Diver of the Year: USC Victoria Ishimatsu
Ishimatsu is the first athlete to win four Pac-12 Women's Diver of the Year awards. The Seal Beach, Calif., native was named Women's Diver of the Meet at the Pac-12 Championships after claiming both springboard events for the third straight year. She also made history with her win on the 3-meter, becoming the first women's diver to win the same event four years in a row. Ishimatsu finished with seven Conference crowns. She capped her USC career by winning the 1-meter at the NCAA Championships in Auburn, Ala., scoring 354.10 for her first title.
Pac-12 Women's Diving Freshman/Newcomer of the Year: UCLA's Emma Ivory-Ganja
Ivory-Ganja placed third on both the 3-meter and platform at the Pac-12 Championships. A native of The Woodlands, Texas, she went on to finish fourth on the platform, seventh on the 3-meter and ninth on the 1-meter at the Zone E Championships. Ivory-Ganja was named Pac-12 Women's Diver of the Month for December after solid performances at the USA Diving Winter National Championships, which included a fifth-place finish in the synchronized platform.
Pac-12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year: USC's Hongping Li
USC's Li has been honored as the Pac-12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year for the fourth year in a row and a record nine times overall. Since joining the Trojans in 1999, Li has directed men's and women's divers to six NCAA titles. Ishimatsu will leave USC as one of the most decorated divers in Pac-12 history under Li's guidance.