Bobcat divers rearrange routines to prepare for state meet

Hannah Taylor and Mia Rasmusson

Marshalltown High School will have a pair of divers competing today in the Iowa Girls High School State Diving Championships at the Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA.

The two Bobcat qualifiers are junior Hannah Taylor and sophomore Mia Rasmusson.

“[This] is going to be an absolutely fantastic meet,” Marshalltown head coach Angie Nelson said. “I am super excited. I’m not just excited for our girls but all of the girls. The field of competition has the potential to be a very tight field, which will make it a really exciting meet.”

The state meet is set up to have a field of 32 competitors, which will include three different cuts. The first cut will whittle down the field to 20 divers and occur after the first five dives. The next cut will happen after the ninth dive and shrink the field down to 16. The final 16 will finish out the 11-dive meet and will score for their respective teams as well as compete for a chance to win the state title.

According to Nelson, the key for both Taylor and Rasmusson will be making the first cut, which requires a different strategy than a regular no-cut meet. The strategy for both divers will be to have their most comfortable and consistent dives for their first five.

“We rearranged the list for both of the girls,” Nelson said. “We put their average, best scoring dives to the top so they have the most potential for a degree of difficulty and scoring potential in their top-five dives. Both of them are throwing a list that is rearranged from what we have done in a no-cut meet.

“They are both throwing a new dive at the end of their lists. Unfortunately, the way the state meet plays out cutting from 32 to 20 right away it forces everybody in the field to do exactly that. You are going to see every girl take their dive list and stack the top-five dives because they need to make sure that they have some cushion in [degree of difficulty] and scoring points to be able to have one dive that’s not exactly their best and still make that 20-cut.”

From there, the duo’s strategy is the same, which is to stay consistent on each dive.

“The next three rounds it’s kind of just keeping the scores up,” Nelson said. “You have to stay consistent so that you can make it past those next four. It’s keeping your scoring up while the degree of difficulty isn’t quite as solid in those middle three dives. The hope is to just keep consistent scores.”

Taylor, a two-time state qualifier, enters the meet ranked as No. 15 after scoring 414.75 points in the regional meet a week ago.

“This time I am more confident in my dives and I’ll have more fun this year,” Taylor said. “With my first five dives, I am very confident that I will make the first cut and just have fun along the way.

“My goal would be to perform all 11 dives [consistently] and do the best I can.”

For Taylor, the first five dives will be somewhat more crucial as Taylor has had back-to-back slow starts at the start of her meets. In the conference meet, Taylor started with an incomplete dive and in the regional meet, she started with a 28-point dive. However, on both occasions, Taylor bounced back with multiple 40-point dives.

“We have seen Hannah come out and fail her first dive and come back to win it,” Nelson said. “We don’t have that opportunity at state because at five they make that cut from 32-20. You don’t really have that opportunity for any kind of mistake. You really have to be spot-on in your first five.”

As for Rasmusson, it’ll be her first appearance in the state meet as she missed out on the opportunity of competing in the postseason due to an ankle injury last season. Rasmusson enters the meet ranked 31st after scoring 363.35 points in the regional meet.

“I was so happy with myself [when I learned I made it],” Rasmusson said. “I was really excited. I wanted to cry but I was just really proud of myself.

“If I make it past the first round my mindset is to just be happy that I made it that and to keep going. Being confident and not getting in my head.”

Part of Rasmusson’s preparation has been looking to Taylor for guidance on how to approach the meet.

“I have her to push me and she has me to push her,” Rasmusson said. “We keep each other company. I have asked her lots of questions of how things are going and it has really helped me a lot of what to expect and what not to expect. It’s not as scary as it seems and that it’s just like another meet.”

Looking at the meet as a whole, Ames senior Joscelyn Buss is ranked as the top-diver with a score of 532.55 points, Ankeny, senior Sydney Jorgenson is ranked No. 2 with a score of 524.10 and Johnston, junior Ciara Wheeler is ranked No. 3 with a score of 478 points.

“I think we would like for both of them to make the first set of cuts,” Nelson said. “I think realistically, I would like to see Hannah go all the way through and score in the top-12. I think for Mia I would love to see her make the first cuts and second cuts but she’ll have to work in the middle to get there. I would love to see them just have the cleanest first five [dives] that they can have. I think overall that’s my goal. Let’s take a look at the first five [dives] and then let’s give us every ounce of talent out of you.”

The diving state meet will begin at 11 a.m. today.