Woodbury girls swimming and diving: Divers earn All-State honors in final meetFor Woodbury’s Emily Bonfig, it was a grand finale. For the Royals’ Lauren Puglisi, it was a coming out party.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
For Woodbury’s Emily Bonfig, it was a grand finale. For the Royals’ Lauren Puglisi, it was a coming out party.
Bonfig, a senior diver, finished in third place at the 2011 Class AA Minnesota State High School League state meet, earning All-State honors for a fourth straight year. However, Puglisi, a junior, gave the Royals two All-State divers by taking eighth place at the state meet.
The top eight divers at the stat meet earn All-State honors. Bonfig took third place with an 11-dive total score of 431.55. Puglisi finished in eighth place with 361.85 points.
“I’m just so proud of her,” Bonfig said of Puglisi. “I know it was her goal to make it to the podium and she did it,” Bonfig said. “I just couldn’t be happier for her. She works so hard and it’s great to see her accomplish her goal.”
This year was Bonfig’s fourth straight state meet – and All-State finish. It was Puglisi’s first trip to state.
Last year, Bonfig finished in second place in the state meet, scoring 425.65. Bonfig, who will dive for Harvard next fall, said she was proud of her accomplishments at Woodbury and was ready for college.
“It’s my fourth year here and it’s been a fun run,” Bonfig said. “But, I’m ready for the next level. Woodbury has been a huge part of my life and I’m sad to see it go, but it’s time for some new girls to step up now.”
In the diving contest, held Nov. 17 to 19 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, competitors perform five dives in the preliminary round before cutting to 20 divers for the semifinals on day No. 1. Then, the top 16 divers reach the finals on day No. 2.
Forest Lake senior Jessie Ramberg led the diving competition from start to finish, winning the Class AA state title, unseating defending state champion Jenna Karrow – a junior at East Ridge. Ramberg scored a meet-best 472.05 in 11 dives. Karrow was second with 433.75 points.
“The girl from Forest Lake had a great meet,” Woodbury diving coach Rick Light said. “You can only dive as well as you can dive. On her good days Emily can dive just as well, but (Ramberg) didn’t miss a dive and Emily missed a couple. But, she came back strong. I’m happy with how she did.”
With limited resources, the Woodbury and East Ridge diving teams practiced together the past two years. Bonfig and Karrow were teammates for Woodbury as recent as three years ago. They also train together in the summer, along with Puglisi and Ramberg with the Minnesota Diving Academy club.
“I couldn’t ask for better competition or better teammates,” Bonfig said. “Practice would not be the same without Red (Puglisi) and Jen there every day. They’re wonderful teammates and wonderful friends. I wouldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for the great teammates I had.”
Karrow said the diving season wouldn’t be the same without Bonfig.
“I’ve known her ever since I started diving,” Karrow said. “She’s fun to have around and I’m going to miss her. But, she has big things ahead of her.”
The state meet put a cap on a sparkling diving career that began as a seventh-grader. Since then, in addition to her four All-State honors, her accolades have included four All-Conference awards and two All-American awards.
“This is it for Woodbury, but her diving career is just beginning,” Light said. “Going to Harvard next year is an opportunity of a lifetime, accedemically and athletically. I’m really excited to see what she’s going to do.”
In addition to Bonfig and Puglisi, Woodbury swimmer Mikayla Mayer qualified for state in three events – two individually and one relay.
Mayer, a junior, finished in 10th place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.27 seconds and earned 12th place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.44 in the final.
Chanhassen freshman Kaia Grobe won the 50 and 100 sprints with times of 23.15 and 50.18, respectively.
Mayer also helped the Royals’ 200-yard freestyle relay team finish in 12th place with a time of 1 minute, 40.68 seconds. Others on that relay team are junior Kelsie Carter, sophomore Kristina Swanson and senior Mara Miller. Edina won the relay race with a Minnesota record 1:34.40.
As a team, Woodbury finished in 15th place with 47 points out of the 34 teams represented. Edina won the meet handily with 316 points.
“We’ve lost a lot of great swimmers the last couple years, but we definitely held our own,” Bonfig said. “I’m proud of this team and everyone on it.”