|3/19/2021 2:34:00 PM|
Opdahl looking to defend state title; Nord and Stiles joining again
The Chisago Lakes boys diving team continued their ridiculous stretch of success by qualifying three divers for the state tournament for the second year in a row. And one of them just happens to be the defending state champion in Storm Opdahl, and the other two both secured top seven finishes at the Class A state meet last year.
Their diving prowess was on full display in the Grand Rapids pool on Wednesday, March 10. Opdahl’s score of 531.90 put him in first place and broke multiple records, including his own section record, a team record as well as a 13 year old pool record, and his personal best, including shattering last year’s state championship score of 470.15. Opdahl’s score in sections puts him not far off the all time state meet record for both classes. Dan Croaston of Champlin Park in 1997 and Turner Eckstrom of Red Wing in 2010 share the record with a 532.70. If he can bring his top dives and perform them perfectly at the state meet, Opdahl may have a shot at some history.
In second place was sophomore Jimmy Nord, who scored a 441.7 and third place was Tobie Stiles, a junior who finished seventh at state last year, with a 408.05. All of their dive programs blew out their scores at last year’s state meet. Nord, who finished in fourth place, scored a 386.95 at last years meet, and Stiles scored a 336.1.
Their improvement is not only a testament to their hard work, but also to the CL coaches, including Head Coach Ellen Heath and diving coach Bri McClaskie.
The trio were the only Wildcats to qualify for the state tournament, and they will be representing Chisago Lakes at the state diving meet on Thursday, March 18. The schedule and setting are a bit different this year, as there will be no fans or media allowed at the event, and the whole thing will take place in one session. Typically, there is two sessions split over three days for the divers, but with COVID restrictions in place, it will be done all at once.
In the swimming events, there were many personal bests and many swimmers in the top 16, but they just couldn’t get anyone into the state field this year.
“Hard work and successful different training forced by COVID circumstances paid off in sections,” Heath said. “Diving has been starting each practice with the basic front and back approaches, gradually practicing to the smallest detail of their dives. During the shorter season and shorter practices the basics to smallest detail and videoing of dives and focus on technique paid off in a big way.
“It was the same with swimming. We take only the elite varsity swimmers to this meet and they practiced well, mentally were focused and competed well. With some shorter practices, weight training restrictions and 'new' competition rules the athletes were able to thrive because of great attitude and great focus.”