Two years ago, Pickerington High School Central senior Danielle Hulvey couldn't have imagined that she would receive several diving scholarship offers. Her focus at the time was on gymnastics, not diving.


Two years ago, Pickerington High School Central senior Danielle Hulvey couldn't have imagined that she would receive several diving scholarship offers. Her focus at the time was on gymnastics, not diving.

But 14 months after deciding to dedicate herself to diving, Hulvey signed a letter of intent with Eastern Michigan during the NCAA fall signing period, which began Nov. 12 and ended last Wednesday.

"It's hard to fathom," Hulvey said of receiving a diving scholarship with the Eagles. "It really does show that my hard work is paying off."

Hulvey selected the Mid-American Conference school in Ypsilanti, Mich., over Illinois and Kentucky.

"I was really comfortable on the campus and I meshed well with the team and I got along with the coach (Buck Smith)," she said. "He's the best coach in the country and he really wanted me to come there, so it's kind of exciting. He's very, very well-respected. And the facilities there are top of the line."

Hulvey has enjoyed much success in her diving career. She won the 3-meter title for 18-year-olds at the AAU National Championships held July 28-Aug. 4 in Coral Springs, Fla., scoring 357.2 points. At the same meet, she placed 15th of 24 divers in the 1-meter competition for 18-year-olds with 255.2 points.

At the Junior Spring Region 4 Championships held March 21-23 in Louisville, Ky., Hulvey placed sixth (276.95) of 25 in the 1-meter and 10th (281.45) of 21 in the 3-meter. Her performance in the 1-meter earned her the final qualifying spot for the Junior East National Championships held April 25-27 in Rockville, Md., where she placed 20th (289.3) of 30.

Last February, Hulvey became the first member of the Central girls team to qualify for the Division I state meet since Meghan Kroll in 2001. She survived the first two rounds of competition at state and advanced to the final, finishing with 323.75 points to place 16th of 24 behind the champion, Leanna Hoover (413.95) of Akron Firestone.

Hulvey had advanced to state by placing second (394.95) at the district meet behind Westerville South's Molly Wood (429.6). The top five qualified for state.

Hulvey set a program record for an 11-dive meet by scoring 401.05 points in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet. Her performance earned her a second-place finish in the league meet.

U.S. Elite Diving Academy coach Justin Sochor began working with Hulvey in September 2007. He attributes much of her quick growth in diving to her extensive background in gymnastics. Hulvey competed in gymnastics for more than eight years and reached level 10 in club before giving up the sport in May 2007.

"Yes, she has progressed at an accelerated pace," Sochor said. "This is mainly because Danielle came to me with a good amount of strength, flexibility and the ability to spin fairly fast. Her history of gymnastics gave her a good enough base to catch right up with many other girls her age.

"Danielle's biggest improvement has been her ability to stay balanced and in control of her takeoffs. I knew that keeping her in control of the takeoffs and learning to 'spot' (seeing the pool at each rotation during a dive with multiple spins) would build her confidence in a way that we could exploit her ability to do the bigger skills."

Sochor sees no reason why Hulvey's success won't carry over to the college level.

"Danielle is a very hard worker and has the ability to compete under pressure," he said. "Combining her above-average strength, flexibility, speed and determination, she will achieve great things as a college diver."

In the meantime, Hulvey is focusing on incorporating harder skills into her dives and making her dives "cleaner." Her goals for the coming season include getting back to state and breaking the program record she set in the OCC-Cardinal meet last year.

"Hopefully, I can beat it by 100 points," she said of the record.