Neely to make debut at state diving meet
summit daily news
FARMER’S KORNER ” After missing out on the state diving competition for three straight years, Summit High School senior diver Shauna Neely made sure this season would be different.
Going into Thursday’s dual with Golden, Neely was just one qualifying score away from her first state berth, and before a large and unusually boisterous home crowd, she got it. Neely scored 191.3 points to go along with her 195.4 on Dec. 2.
Led by Neely and several strong swimming performances, the Tigers defeated Golden, 99-87.
Determined to qualify for state in her final high school season, Neely dedicated more of her time to diving during the offseason.
“I worked out very hard with my club team in Denver,” Neely said. “I kept it up during gymnastics and all during last summer.”
Neely is one of three Summit divers, all of whom are also gymnasts. Sophomore Nicole Luby finished second among the divers with a score of 152.45 Thursday, and freshmen Hannah Harris competed in her first varsity competition.
“It was her first meet and she got all of her dives,” Summit dive coach Shannon Hoffmann said of Harris. “Some girls work all season and don’t learn all of their dives.”
Now that she’s guaranteed a ticket to the state meet Feb.17-18 in Fort Collins, Neely said she will work to perfect her 11 dives and to earn a personal-best score of 200 points.
“We have three 11-dive meets left before states,” Hoffmann said. “Shauna can use those as practices.”
Backed by four individual first-place finishes and one relay victory, Summit’s swimmers did their part to preserve the team’s victory.
Sophomore Kylie Nilson won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, .53 seconds, and placed second in the 50-yard free with a time of 26:94. Nilson, a two-time state qualifier in freestyle events, has yet to qualify for this season’s state competition.
In her opinion, there are both pros and cons to competing in duals.
“You don’t have to sit around as long and let your muscles freeze up,” Nilson said. “But the competition is definitely better at the invites.”
Nilson and teammate Mallory Kaufman said they are hoping to qualify for state within the next two weeks, a time span that includes one invite and one dual.
Kaufman had an individual victory of her own Thursday, taking the 500-yard free with a time of 6:43.25.
It’s safe to say that Kaufman didn’t benefit from the schedule as she was forced to swim a grueling three consecutive events.
After winning the 500 free, the junior immediately turned around and swam in the 200 free relay and then the 100 backstroke.
“It was kind of hard the first time back,” she said. “I did three events in a row so it was kind of intense.”
“She really didn’t get enough rest in between events,” Summit assistant coach Jenn Blevins said. “It was probably not the best thing for us (the coaches) to do, but we thought it was going to work.”
Junior Erin Gray won the 100-yard breast stroke with a time of 1:23.72.
Gray said the Tigers benefited from the opportunity to scout Golden at a previous meet this season.
“We saw them at an earlier race and we could tell they were tough competition,” Gray said. “We knew we would have to step it up.”
Gray not only stepped it up in the backstroke but also took second in the 200-yard individual medley relay and was part of Summit’s 200-yard medley relay team which took second place.
Freshman Tessa Lindblade won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:17.52.
Summit’s next meet, a dual with Colorado Academy, is in question according to Blevins.
“The meet will not take place at Colorado Academy,” Blevins said. “It will either be in Summit on Monday or Wednesday or it will be canceled altogether.”
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