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Merch Madness
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:01/28/2009
Courtesy: JMUSports.com

By Carrie Klamut '10           


James Madison University’s two top divers are catching the eye of coaches all over the Colonial Athletic Association.  They are placing at most of their meets, scoring major points for their team, and one was even named CAA diver of the week.  All this may seem ordinary for two college athletes who excel in their sport, what does make them something to look out for is they still have more years to compete than they have already seen pass.


            Nicole Jotso is just a freshman this year and though her teammate Jessie Everett is a year older, Everett has only been diving seriously since last spring.


“When you work hard, results show,” says Jotso commenting on how successful these women have been so far this season.  Hard work is not something they avoid, rather they welcome it.  Jotso has been known to show up for practice early just to get a few extra minutes of training. 


            Hard work does not only give them an extra edge in competition, but it has also strengthened their bond as friends.  “Jessie is my best friend on the team.  We are together all the time, and we can get really competitive against each other sometimes,” says Jotso.


            Competition does not come pain free.  Apart from a few cuts and scratches, mainly from unwanted contact with the board, Nicole has come away without too much purple skin, “Jessie has had it worse than me,” says Jotso.  Though maybe not more painful, Everett’s bruises have certainly been more colorful and vibrant.  “The last one would change colors just about everyday.  It would be blue, then purple, then brown, green and yellow,” says Everett. 


            Bruises come with the sport, just as certain unpleasant habits from gymnastics have followed them into diving.  Both divers started out as gymnasts then moved on to compete more seriously with diving.  The switch has been relatively easy despite a few minor exceptions.  In gymnastics the goal is generally to land on your feet.  In diving, it is your head.  One of the obstacles they, especially Jessie who was on the club gymnastics team her first year of college, had to overcome was their tendencies to over power their flips.  “Diving is not whippy.  It is more smooth and graceful,” says Everett.


            Those words would certainly come from a young woman who her coach describes as caring and gentle.  “Jessie is kindhearted and sincere, but she has that surprise element when she steps on the board to compete,” says Coach Becky Benson.  On the other hand Jotso shows her competiveness in every aspect of the sport, “She has power.  She is feisty and a strong competitor,” remarks Benson. 


            It is their coach that these athletes credit for most of their success. “She puts a lot of work into it.  She gives us at a lot of individual attention and works on the specifics we need to improve our dives,” says Jotso.


            Attention is just what these women are going to get as they move forward in their college careers.  As their coach continues to add more difficulty to their dives, the scores will improve and they are going to find themselves higher up on the medal stands.


Note: Carrie Klamut is an intern in the JMU Athletics Multimedia Communications Office and is a communications studies major.


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