East Ridge diver Karrow finishes second at state
Sometimes in sports, you just have to tip your cap to your opponent and say "Well done."
Defending state diving champion and East Ridge junior Jenna Karrow finished in second place at this year's Class AA Minnesota State High School League state meet held Nov. 17-19 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
In the diving contest, 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 Karrow. Ramberg scored a meet-best 472.05 in 11 dives. Karrow was second with 433.75 points.
"I think Jenna put a lot of pressure on herself coming back as the state champion," East Ridge diving coach Drew Brown said. "There's a lot of very good competition. I think she handled today very well and had a great last three dives."
Karrow said she was disappointed with the finish and that nerves played a factor in the result.
"I just let them get to me I guess," Karrow said. "When I get nervous I do bad approaches. I guess that's what happened."
Last week, Karrow set new Section 3AA and pool diving records with a score of 493.4 points on at Cottage Grove Middle School to reach state.
At state, however, Karrow stumbled out of the gate and was in sixth place after the prelims with 178.30 points - almost 20 points back of Ramberg's 192.05 points. After the semifinal round, Karrow moved up to third place with 285.00 points. However, Ramberg pulled further ahead of the field with 327.10 points after the first day - 42.1 points ahead of the defending state champ with only three dives left.
Brown was a three-time All-American diver at the University of Minnesota. He said he won a state diving championship after being in fourth place heading into the finals, so he believed Karrow had a chance after the prelims.
"I knew Jessie would probably have to miss at least one of her dives," Brown said. "But, it's been done. I tried to talk to her about what I went through."
Karrow nailed her first dive of the finals, scoring a 51.25 and picked up six points on Ramberg. Then, on the second dive of the finals, Karrow scored a 52.0. However, Ramberg wasn't swayed and scored a 50.0 to keep a healthy 34 point lead on Karrow into the final dive. Karrow's final dive was more than solid - a 45.5 - but Ramberg came through with a 49.5 on her last dive to seal the state championship title.
"I'm happy that I could come back today and do better than I did Wednesday, because I was really nervous Wednesday," Karrow said. "I tried not to focus on the scores and the places, just the dives and how to do them."
Brown said diving is "far from an easy sport."
"A lot of it is mental," he said. "You can go and do the dives, but you have to be set up mentally before you do it. It's really tough to get yourself into a good position. Some people are better at it than others. But, it's not easy."
Brown gave a lot of credit to Ramberg for a strong state performance.
"It's really hard to put a good meet together," Brown said. "You usually have a couple misses somewhere, but I don't think she really missed one. She was great."
The top eight divers at the stat meet earn All-State honors. This year was Karrow's fourth straight state meet. She has been All-State the past three years.
"It was a great season," Brown said. "She won all of her dual meets, had a great year, posted a new personal best and had a great season. Second place at state is alright."
In addition to Karrow, East Ridge senior Rachel Treadway competed in the 2011 state meet.
Treadway, a senior, finished 24th in the 100-yard butter fly at the state meet with a time of 1:00.67 in the preliminary round, but fell short of a finals berth. Edina senior Nikki Larson won the event with a time of 55.09 seconds. Treadway joined Karrow at the state meet after earning second place in the 100-yard butterfly at the section meet with a time of 1:01.05. The two Raptors combined for 17 points at the state meet, which put East Ridge in 26th place out of the 34 teams represented. Edina won the meet handily with 316 points.