Huang is Diving to Win
QiongJie Huang’s gymnastic coach was right. Seventeen years ago, he told the then 7-year-old Wenzhou, China, native that she wouldn’t go far in gymnastics. He suggested she try diving instead.
In spring 2005, Huang, then a junior at Mānoa, captured the 1-meter springboard NCAA championship at Purdue University’s Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Huang’s 327.00-point total broke a pool record.
"It’s always nervous when you compete," the four-time All-American says. "But if you don’t compete for a while, actually you miss the feeling of standing on the board."
In competition, Huang combines years of training and natural ability with an intensity that can be intimidating. "People said if they didn’t know me, they wouldn’t talk to me because my face was very scary," she laughs.
Diving coaches Mike Brown and Anita Rossing are impressed with Huang’s focus and diving intuition. "She knows a great deal about her own diving," says Brown. "Not all divers are as tuned into their own diving as she is. She’ll do the dive and she’ll know what correction needs to be made without much comment. When you coach a Buddhist, it’s best to do nothing."
Although the 2008 Olympics will be in Beijing, Huang does expect to compete. "I don’t have a chance to represent the Chinese team because they have such a strong team," she says. "They already have the people they want."
The years she spent outside the Chinese system—Huang has been at Mānoa since completing one year at University of Electronic Science and Technology in Zhejiang province—make it hard for her to get a spot on the team. "I just want to go and be a part of it with my country," she says.
She may be philosophical, but Brown and Rossing are hopeful. Huang is ready for the highest level of international competition, they say.
"You never know," Rossing speculates, "if she goes back and does well in their competitions, or gets back into their system?"
Either way, Huang is happy with her status. "I like diving right now," she says. "It’s something that’s part of your life, you get on the board and it makes you feel better."
Other 2004–05 Student Standouts
- Blaine Murakami is the third Mānoa engineering student in five years to receive the Alton B. Zerby and Carl T. Koerner Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Award—top honors from national engineering society Eta Kappa Nu. Murakami, who graduated in May 2005 with professional publications, a patent-pending invention and an award winning communication technology business plan to his credit, is working in industry before pursing a graduate degree.
- Single mother, UH Presidential Scholar and Maui Community College graduate Krista Jo Dusek was a USA Today Academic All American and received one of 25 national Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships worth up to $30,000 a year to continue her education.
- UH Hilo political science major Mark Farrell received $30,000 for graduate study as one of the country’s 75 Truman Foundation Scholars for 2005.
- Guam native and UH Mānoa marine biology student Aja Reyes won one of 80 Morris K. Udall Foundation Scholarships and one of two U. S. Coral Reef Task Force summer conservation internships.
- New Caledonian Pierre-Henri Soero was the first UH Mānoa golfer to compete in the U.S. Open golf tournament.
- Law students Ranae Doser, Christopher Terry and Jennifer Tsou won Best Memorial Brief in last fall’s International Environmental Moot Court competition.
- Mānoa libero Alfred Reft was named the nation’s best defensive player by ASICS/Volleyball Magazine.
- Mānoa graduate students’ in linguistics received the 2005 Partners in Excellence award from the Test of English as a Foreign Language and NAFSA: Association of International Educators for a project in which they teach language documentation techniques and issues to native speakers of undocumented languages.