Baldwin Wallace University Sophomore All-American Julie Stancliff Dives Into Success at Baldwin Wallace
By: Matthew Florjancic ‘05
BEREA, OHIO -- Having a busy schedule as a double major in athletic training and fitness management may be almost overwhelming at times without any extra-curricular activities. However, Baldwin Wallace sophomore and reigning Ohio Athletic Conference Diver of the Year, Julie Stancliff, is succeeding at both.
Stancliff, a 19-year-old native of Erie, Pennsylvania, competed in another sport before deciding to make the leap into diving.
"My neighbor and I did gymnastics together," Stancliff stated. "Once she got into high school, she started diving so I came to watch one of her practices. I didn’t think I ever wanted to try it because I was not very fond of the water, but I tried out for the McDowell High School team in tenth grade."
While at McDowell, Stancliff made a name for herself by earning seven varsity letters, three in diving and four in outdoor track. She also served as a two-year team captain and made quite a splash at the WPIAC District Meet. During her three years in the Meet, she placed third in her first year and second in both of the other competitions. Stancliff’s personal bests at McDowell included a six-dive total of 250.25 and a score of 395 points in an eleven-dive total. Despite not making the state competition, she is very happy to have competed in high school.
"I was ranked in the top ten in the state most of my diving career but I was never able to prove myself at states," Stancliff said. "In our district, they only take the person that places number one to the state meet."
While she fell short of the state meet, Stancliff is proud of the way her team performed.
"I was lucky to compete on a great high school team," she said. "My team was undefeated in dual meets my senior year and the girls won the district meet for the past several years."
Like many athletes, Stancliff draws inspiration from those who have overcome long odds to succeed.
"My inspiration is hearing about athletes that have faced obstacles and battled against very slim odds to do what they love the most," Stancliff stated. "I find such motivation from their stories of triumph and it reminds me how lucky I am and that I should give what I do everything I’ve got."
Before making her decision about college, Stancliff took a visit to BW. It was then that the coaching staff realized she would be an asset to the program.
"We really started recruiting her after her first visit," stated BW Head Swim Coach Mike Gallagher. "We got to know her very well and we now understand she is a great asset to the team."
Stancliff made BW her choice because it offered her the best of the athletic and academic worlds.
"I chose BW because it was the only school that would allow me to dive and pursue athletic training at the same time because they are both very demanding," Stancliff stated.
When she got to Baldwin Wallace, Stancliff liked her classes but had to adjust to the time constraints of her majors and the team.
"The easiest part of my transition [from high school to college] was the fact that I loved all of my classes and I really enjoy what I am studying," she said. "The most difficult part was the huge time commitment between diving and athletic training. I have some pretty long days and that took a little getting used to."
Despite having a busy workload in her first year at college, Stancliff managed to achieve many great things in and out of the water.
Stancliff made a huge splash in the OAC as she claimed both the one-meter and three-meter diving titles with scores of 377.30 and 397.75 respectively. She earned the respect of many in the conference and was named the Women’s OAC Diver of the Year. Her great season did not stop there as she went on to reach All-American status at the 2003-2004 NCAA National Meet held at Principia College in St. Louis, Missouri. She placed 16th in the one-meter and 22nd in the three-meter events.
In addition to her diving, Stancliff was recently inducted into the Alpha Lambda Honorary and is a member of COAST (College Organization of Athletic Student Trainers).
Stancliff is happy with her accomplishments but knows she has to work hard to maintain her success level.
"I was extremely overwhelmed [by the awards] but I think it really helped me to step up to the plate and work even harder," she said.
As she competed at the national level, Stancliff spent time trying to learn as well as compete.
"The divers at National’s were amazing," she stated. "I think that was a great learning experience for me. I think they were the nicest competitors I have ever encountered."
Coach Gallagher is really impressed with her achievements.
"The accomplishments are awesome because not many people get to make the national championships," he stated. "Making it there is an outstanding feat and her making All-American is a bonus."
Stancliff’s teammates were very excited about how talented she is as a diver and how kind she is as a person.
"She really is a hard worker and she is someone you can always count on," said senior swimmer Kristen Showalter. "She works out of season as well as in season."
"As a person, she’s very caring, very kind and very considerate of her teammates," Showalter stated.
For this season, Stancliff has set a few goals for the team as well as for herself.
"I think all of our swimmers and divers are looking amazing," Stancliff stated. "We have really done well so far this season and I think all of us would love that OAC title."
"As for myself, I want to improve on a lot of dives," she said. "I think it is most important for me to help the team out in whatever way possible and do the best I can so that I can score points."
"For the rest of my career, I want to keep healthy so I can compete and hopefully mature in my diving abilities," Stancliff stated.
Stancliff appreciates everything she has accomplished, but knows she had a great support system around her.
"My parents have definitely been a huge part of my career," she said. "They have taped hours of practices and diving meets for me to watch and attend as many [meets] as they can even though they live in Pennsylvania."
"My high school coach was also a big part of my career," Stancliff said. "He taught me a great basis of diving and the theory behind it and now I can understand the several parts of each dive and what must go into it."
After her BW diving career is over, Stancliff plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy and a possible coaching career. She wants to be remembered for the way she pursued her goals and the way she handled herself in all situations.
"I want people to remember that I worked hard in diving, my schooling and relationships," Stancliff stated. "I also want people to remember a positive attitude and a smile that I always try to keep no matter what the situation."