Florida International University has announced the signing of NCAA-qualifying diver Paige Burrell as a transfer from the University of North Carolina. She will have one season of eligibility remaining: the bonus 5th year awarded to all athletes who competed during the COVID-impacted 2020-2021 season.
“Paige is a great addition to our diving program,” said Horner ” Paige brings a lot of experience to the team and will play a key role as (diving head) Coach (Josh) Larcom continues the diving excellence at FIU.”
“I am thrilled to have Paige join our Panther family,” said head dive coach Josh Larcom. “Her work ethic, drive, and passion are exactly what we look for when adding student-athletes to this team. Her experience both at the collegiate and international stage will be a great asset to the young group of athletes we already have coming in. Cannot wait to get started next season!”
Burrell’s signing was announced last week, shortly after Burrell finished competing for the Tar Heels at the NCAA Championships in Knoxville. She finished 41st on 1-meter (237.50 points), her only event at the meet.
Gouda also placed 6th on 3-meter at the ACC Championships and 8th on 1-meter in 2022. In 2023, she didn’t fare as well at the conference meet, finishing 9th on 3-meter and 16th on 1-meter. The season ended, though, with her first NCAA Championship qualification.
She also finished 23rd on 3-meter at the 2020 US Olympic Trials.
FIU scored 4 points at the NCAA Championships. 1 was scored by Christie Chue via a 16th-place finish in the women’s 100 breaststroke, and 3 were scored by Maha Gouda via a 14th-place finish in the women’s platform diving event. That ranked them 38th overall at the meet.
Gouda is indicative of FIU’s historical success in the diving events across multiple coaches. This was Larcom’s first season as FIU’s head diving coach, but Gouda’s All-America honor continues a tradition for the Panthers. She also placed 8th on platform as a freshman in 2019, and pre-COVID, FIU regularly qualified divers for the NCAA Championships – Rebecca Quesnel was 3rd on platform in 2017, for example.
FIU finished 2nd this season at the American Athletic Conference Championships, their first season in the conference. Gouda won the conference title and set a new Meet Record on platform.
Gouda is a platform specialist and Burrell is a springboard specialist, which makes them a well-matched 1-2 punch for the Panthers.
UNC is home to the NCAA’s best female diver this season, Aranza Vazquez, who will be a senior next year. She won the 1-meter and 3-meter titles at the NCAA Championships two weeks ago and finished 10th on platform.
Burrell is a native of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia. At North Penn High School, she was a four-time NISCA All-American and three-time Pennsylvania High School 3A State Champion. She was also a member of back-to-back team state titles for North Penn in 2018 and 2019.
She was also a two-time Pennsylvania state champion on vault and was the 2015 state champion on trampoline and double mini trampoline.