Seacats' Noah Miller dives way into state again: Scottsbluff/Gering teams both place 2nd in Twin City Invitational
     2014-01-30      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Noah Miller 
SCOTTSBLUFF — Noah Miller was attempting the most difficult dive of the Twin City Invitational on his final attempt Friday, with all eyes glued to the Scottsbluff/Gering Seacats senior to see if he would finish his program with a dive that would earn Miller the meet win in style.

But from the back room of Splash Arena came a ring of a telephone. Most of the spectators’ eyes shifted to look toward the ring, wondering why — of all times — it would come with the last diver on the board for his last attempt.

Miller said he could have stepped back from the edge of the board to restart his attempt, but he said he was ready to get the dive completed. After the phone rang three times, Miller got back to work.

Miller came up a little short for on his entry of the backward dive, with a degree of difficulty of 2.8. But it still garnered him 28 points and 316.65 total points for the 11-dive program.

“In my head I thought about it, and I just decided to throw it anyway. I could have stopped and restarted the attempt, but I was just ready to get it done.”

The dive not only gave Miller the boys’ diving win for the second straight year at the Twin City meet, but it also earned him an automatic qualification berth into the State Swimming and Diving Championships in late February.

“I nailed a couple good dives where I had 39 points and had one 40, and those are great to have,” said Miller, whose 40.95-point high score came on his sixth dive. “I just need to get all my dives to where they’re 39 points, and then I will be looking good. I just have those couple dives where I mess up and get in the teens, and that’s not acceptable.”

Miller also has his sights set on breaking the Seacats’ 11-dive program record of 367.8 points, set by Jose Arellano in 2006.

“I still have quite a few weeks here to work toward it, so that’s the goal. We’ll see what happens,” Miller said. “It will take a day where I dive my best on each dive and I will soar past that thing. But the problem is hitting every dive exactly how I need to. I had three or four dives that were not high enough.”

“I’m just happy to qualify so I can concentrate on improving each dive and I don’t have to worry about hitting 300 anymore.”

Tanner Malmkar of North Platte finished in second with 311.35 points and also qualified for state.

Scottsbluff/Gering had two other first-year divers in the competition. Devan Stooksbury placed eighth with 216.85 points, and Court Muir was 10th with 183.05 points. The three Seacat divers contributed 24 to the boys’ runner-up team total.

In the girls’ diving competition, Abi Mohr of McCook scored 338.1 points to win, passing meet-long leader Erin North of Omaha Westside on the final dive. North scored 323.90 points for second.

By the time the swimming competitions were finished on Saturday, Westside easily won both divisions and Scottsbluff/Gering finished in second behind the Warriors in the four-school competition.

The Westside girls posted 500 points, with the Seacats second at 234. The Warrior boys amassed 474 points, with Scottsbluff-Gering second at 304.

“We got second in both, which is what we expected,” Seacats coach Mike Hayhurst said. “Obviously we’re not going to beat Westside, but we probably had 90 percent best times, and we’re talking huge time drops, all the way across our lineup from our new kids all the way to our state qualifiers.

“The few kids who maybe didn’t get new times are fighting colds or sinus infections, things like that. It just shows what happens when you get to swim in your own pool, know the facility, and the biggie is not driving four hours, getting out of a bus and going to swim.

“It’s not like some teams where you’re going half an hour. This is a dang long ways every time we go anywhere. To not have to deal with that and get to sleep in, the kids just swam fantastic. You’re in front of your family and friends — twice a year, that’s it, although we travel great and take a lot of parents — is huge for the kids.”

Seacat swimmers added three first-place finishes to Miller’s diving victory, with Scottsbluff/Gering sweeping the 100-yard breaststroke events. Sarah Cloud won the girls’ competition in 1:15.5 and Jon Hastings took the boys’ title in 1:07.94. Both times are secondary qualifying marks for the state meet.

Freshman Ian Galindo won the 200 individual medley with a secondary qualifying time of 2:10.40 and finished second in the 100 butterfly in 59.35 seconds, another secondary qualifying count.

The Seacat boys’ 200 freestyle relay posted a secondary state-qualifying time of 1:39.02. The quartet of Galindo, Tito Garcia, John Stark and Zach Puckett finished second in 1:39.02. Puckett finished third in the 50 freestyle with a secondary qualifying time of 24.66 seconds.

Other top placers for the Scottsbluff/Gering boys were James Maag’s second-place finish in the 500 freestyle in 5:49.53, while Stark placed second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.33 and was third in the 200 freestyle in 2:03.84.

The Seacat girls’ 400 freestyle relay posted a secondary state-qualifying time of 4:08.30, which earned the team of Emily Yanke, Cierra Weatherfield, Rebekah Rawlings and Anna Yanke second place in the meet.

Hayhurst was really pleased with the progress of Rawlings, a Gering freshman who is attacking the pool in similar fashion to the way she ran to a fifth-place finish at the Class B state cross country meet in October.

“She dropped a second and a half in her 50 free and three seconds in her 100 free, and she’s never swam before,” Hayhurst said. “You tell her something and she picks it up right away. And there are still some things she can go faster on, but she is picking up things fast and is going to have a great end of the year.”

Weatherfield swam to a pair of third-place finishes, both of which are secondary state-qualifying marks. Weatherfield was third in the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:55.57 and third in the 200 individual medley in 2:28.57.

In other top girls’ finishes for the Seacats, Emily and Anna Yanke joined Cloud and Jessie Sorensen to place second in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:53.79.

The Seacats’ other third-place individual finish was recorded by Emily Yanke in the 200 freestyle in 2:14.57.

The Seacats will return to action Friday and Saturday at the Omaha Westside Invitational. They will then have a week off before they play host to the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Championships on Feb. 14 and 15. The state meet in Lincoln is the following weekend.

Twin City Invitational

Girls’ Team Scoring

1. Omaha Westside, 500. 2. Scottsbluff/Gering, 234. 3. North Platte, 150. 4. McCook, 135.

Seacat Girls’ Individual Results

200 freestyle — 3. Emily Yanke, 2:14.57. 6. Megan Hayhurst, 2:21.90. 7. Hailey Sanderson, 2:25.22. 9. Makala Fogg, 2:30.50.

200 individual medley — 3. Cierra Weatherfield, 2:28.57. 6. Sarah Cloud, 2:34.77. 8. Hannah Holloway, 2:39.89.

50 freestyle — 5. Jessie Sorensen, 27.88. 6. Rebekah Rawlings, 28.36.

100 butterfly — 4. Hannah Holloway, 1:14.92.

100 freestyle — 5. Jessie Sorensen, 1:01.76. 6. Emily Yanke, 1:01.92. 9. Rebekah Rawlings, 1:03.23. 10. Anna Yanke, 1:04.00.

500 freestyle — 3. Cierra Weatherfield, 5:55.57. 6. Megan Hayhurst, 6:13.37. 7. Makala Fogg, 6:42.86. 8. Hailey Sanderson, 6:43.56.

200 freestyle relay — 2. Scottsbluff/Gering (Jessie Sorensen, Emily Yanke, Anna Yanke, Sarah Cloud), 1:53.79.

100 backstroke — 8. Zandria Unruh, 1:18.57.

100 breaststroke — 1. Sarah Cloud, 1:15.50. 6. Anna Yanke, 1:20.27. 8. Mikayla Kreider, 1:36.68.

400 freestyle relay — 2. Scottsbluff/Gering (Emily Yanke, Cierra Weatherfield, Rebekah Rawlings, Anna Yanke), 4:08.30.

Boys’ Team Scoring

1. Omaha Westside, 474. 2. Scottsbluff/Gering, 304. 3. North Platte, 175. 4. McCook, 126.

Seacat Boys’ Individual Results

200 medley relay — 2. Scottsbluff/Gering (Baylen Smith, Jon Hastings, James Maag, Tito Garcia), 1:56.13.

200 freestyle — 3. John Stark, 2:03.84. 4. Baylen Smith, 2:05.54. 6. James Maag, 2:08.19. 7. Jon Hastings, 2:13.13.

200 individual medley — 1. Ian Galindo, 2:10.40. 3. Tito Garcia, 2:21.61. 7. Cooper Buchhammer, 2:55.68.

50 freestyle — 3. Zach Puckett, 24.66. 11. Daniel Rohrer, 29.37.

100 butterfly — 2. Ian Galindo, 59.35.

100 freestyle — 4. Baylen Smith, 57.01. 6. Zach Puckett, 57.13. 9. Collin Maag, 1:01.82.

500 freestyle — 2. James Maag, 5:49.53. 6. Adam Lopez, 6:13.37.

200 freestyle relay — 2. Scottsbluff/Gering (Ian Galindo, Tito Garcia, John Stark, Zach Puckett), 1:39.02.

100 backstroke — 5. Tito Garcia, 1:06.99. 7. Collin Maag, 1:11.23. 8. Cooper Buchhammer, 1:20.55. 9. Adam Lopez, 1:21.22.

100 breaststroke — 1. Jon Hastings, 1:07.94. 2. John Stark, 1:09.33. 6. Daniel Rohrer, 1:23.30. 9. Travis Zeiler, 1:28.16.

400 freestyle relay — 2. Scottsbluff/Gering (Ian Galindo, Zach Puckett, Baylen Smith, James Maag), 3:42.11.

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