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Felicia Surber's search for a coach ended after three weeks when Russell Mayfield agreed to provide assistance.

Mayfield was supposed to direct Ceres High's diving team for the third straight year but had to cancel the season due to a lack of interest. Top returner Brittany Lusk moved back to Oregon.

"I got lucky," said Surber, the lone diver on Central Valley High School's roster. "I almost gave up looking."

Felicia, a junior, made her debut at the Los Banos High School Diving Primer on April 19. She finished second in a field of 10 with a score of 227.

"That's pretty remarkable in itself because she didn't start practicing until the Monday after spring break," Mayfield said. "She also had to learn seven new dives in order to compete in the meet."

Surber finished 30 points out of first place.

"Getting second really surprised me," she said. "I did a lot better than I was expecting to do."

"I'm extremely pleased," Mayfield said. "Most of the girls that were there have been diving for three or four years."

Surber's transition to diving has been relatively easy because of her athleticism.

"She's never dove before," Mayfield said. "She has a gymnastics and cheerleading background. That's given her excellent form. She's basically a coach's dream."

Felicia was a member of the Ceres AcroGymnastics team for seven years, from age 7 to 13.

"I have a bit more confidence than most beginning divers because of my experience with gymnastics," she said. "I did a lot of the same things when I was younger-somersaults and twists. It's helped me in a lot of ways."

Surber competed in front of large crowds numerous times.

She claimed silver as a member of trio and mixed pair teams at the USA Gymnastics-Sports Acrobatics National Championships in 2003 and 2002, respectively.

"Getting on the diving board was easy for me," she said. "I'm just so used to being in that environment. Being watched upon and judged."

Surber will participate in the CIF Sac-Joaquin South Section Diving Trials on Thursday at Johansen High School. She'll be vying for a section berth.

"I'm really hoping I make top eight," she said. "We're going to practice really hard the next few days."

Felicia has enjoyed being Central Valley's only diver.

"I get so much one-on-one time," Surber said. "Coach Mayfield has taught me a lot. He's really supportive. He gives me a lot of good advice."