Mike Fender | For The Journal Gazette Homestead diver Jackie Brenn placed second Saturday at the girls state swimming and diving finals in Indianapolis.
Mike Fender | For The Journal Gazette Mallory Jackson, from FW Carroll H.S., swims in the 200 yard individual medley at the IHSAA Girls Swimming/Diving Championship finals held at the IUPUI Natatorium Saturday, February 10, 2018.
Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:00 am
Homestead divers claim podium spots
MARK AMBROGI | For The Journal Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS – This hasn't been the easiest of seasons for Homestead's top three divers.
“They've had some injury quirks that all three of them have had to hammer through,” Spartans dive coach Jill Eakright said. “Next week they get to rest, which I think they are looking forward to.”
The three put aside any nagging injuries Saturday to place on the medal podium in the 1-meter diving final at the girls swimming and diving state finals at the IU Natatorium.
Homestead was led by junior Jackie Brenn, who placed second for the second consecutive season. Junior Mallory Walker finished sixth and senior Kayla Luarde seventh.
Brenn, who won the state title as a freshman, finished with 496.15 points.
Northridge senior Sara Troyer won with 507.65 points.
“It was really nice to get second,” Brenn said. “I competed like I normally compete, and I had the support of my teammates, which really helped me through.”
Eakright said Brenn has battled some leg issues.
“We thought it was shin splints, but the doctor said it was something different,” Eakright said.
Luarde won a medal for a fourth time, placing fifth as a freshman, sixth as a sophomore and eighth as a junior.
“It's always fun to see what happens because it's never easy,” Luarde said. “I don't think we would be as strong if we didn't have each other. If one person gets something done, everyone else wants to do it, too.”
Walker, who placed fifth last year, said competing against her teammates definitely made her stronger.
Homestead placed ninth in the team standings with 111 points, followed by Carroll in 10th with 103 points.
Carmel won the state title for 32nd consecutive season with 363 points, well ahead of second-place Northridge's 215 total.
Carroll sophomore Mallory Jackson placed second in the 100-yard backstroke in 54.47 seconds. Zionsville senior Tessa Wrightson won in 54.02.
“I've been working really hard on my underwater (swims) all season and my tempo,” Jackson said. “I was just ready to go. I've been ready for a month now. Tessa got first and she is one of my really good friends.”
Jackson finished 10th in the 100 backstroke last season.
“It was a big improvement,” Jackson said. “I'm very excited. We're going to aim high next year and hope for a bigger finish.”
Carroll swimming coach John Gibson desired an awesome swim by Jackson.
“It's really good for a sophomore,” Gibson said. “She wasn't where we wanted her to be last year so we did some things different to get her ready for this weekend.”
Jackson was joined by junior Avery Brooks, sophomore Mya VanderHagen and freshman Teagen Moon on a 200 freestyle relay team, which placed third.
“I was very surprised to get third,” Jackson said.
“I think we've trained very hard the four of us as a team.”
Jackson also placed fifth in the 200 individual medley and was a member of the seventh-place 400 freestyle relay team with VanderHagen, Brooks and Moon.
“Mallory had a busy second half of the meet,” Gibson said.
Homestead freshman Maggie Stock placed fourth in the 100 freestyle.
“I did a lot better than expected, and I'm super happy with it,” Stock said. “In my second 50 (yards), I pulled away a little more.”