It’s a distinguished honor that very few from around the country receive. For Laramie High School, it’s historical. Recent graduate Kari Campbell has become the first female diver in the history of Laramie High School to earn All-America honors. It means Campbell was one of the top 100 divers from around the nation this past year as awarded by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.

The two-time State Champion and four-time All-State performer was being considered for the honor for a third consecutive year. Perhaps it’s true, the third time is the charm.

The process is not an easy one to go through. All divers must meet a minimum qualifying score of 375 points on 11 dives. If you qualify, then you must submit a qualifying DVD to the NISCA All-American diving committee, who then judges all qualifiers individually and without knowing their name or school affiliation. That committee then inputs scores for each diver and the top 100 earn All-America status. They do not rank the divers or release scores given.

NISCA published its list in mid-June. Campbell’s head coach Tom Hudson received the news about 10 days later and immediately contacted Kari. Upon hearing the great news Campbell said,

It is awesome. I was so excited. I didn’t expect it, and so it just means so much. Just to know all the hard work I put in is recognized, it’s awesome.

Apparently success runs in the family. Kari’s brother, Derek, actually beat her to the punch two years ago. That’s when he became the first ever male diver to earn All-America status from Laramie High School. In regards to joining her brother in this elite club, Kari said, “It’s so exciting, and it just kinda shows that my brother has pushed me to where I am today.”

Campbell had an outstanding senior season for the Lady Plainsmen in 2011. The All-State performer lost only one meet all season (to her teammate), finished as the 4A State runner-up, won her fourth consecutive South Conference title while setting a new conference record, broke her own six-dive school record, was a team captain for a second straight season and earned her fourth letter.

She also admits, she’s come a long way thanks to her gymnastics background. “I definitely didn’t see myself making it this far. It was really hard at the beginning, because you’re not used to landing on your hands, but once you overcome all of that, it just kind of comes naturally with all your gymnastics ability,” said Campbell.

She has even excelled at the club level. Campbell participated in Senior Nationals back in January, placing 45th, and has also qualified for Junior Nationals later this summer.

Campbell is continuing her diving career at the next level. She signed with the University of Wisconsin, Madison, on scholarship, to dive for the Badgers beginning this fall.

She also wasn’t alone in the quest for this honor. Campbell’s teammate, Emily Williams, was also up for All-American consideration in diving for 2011-12.

Back in May, Campbell received another distinction, as she was named the “Outstanding Athlete and Female Athlete of the Year” by the Laramie Quarterback Club for the 2011-12 school year.

To hear more about Kari Campbell earning All-American honors, tune in to KOWB’s Local Sports report with David Settle, Tuesday at 7:18 am, 12:30 pm and 5:18 pm. He’ll have more reaction from Ms. Campbell, her diving coach Trent Weitzel and Laramie High School Head Coach Tom Hudson.