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Bemidji's Hedstrom, Grosfield looking forward to state swim meet

Jana Hedstrom is a veteran of the state diving meet while Kylei Grosfield is a rookie and both are excited to compete Thursday at the University of Minnesota pool.

As a sophomore two years ago Hedstrom finished 14th at the Class A state meet but last fall she finished 23rd and failed to advance to the second round.

The senior knows that she can improve upon that performance and she can't wait to hit the board.

"I'm more excited this year than ever because of my experience at state," Hedstrom said. "I know the routine now and I also know the pool's diving board."

During the past summer Hedstrom participated in a two-week camp conducted at the pool and made countless dives on the board.

"That experience will be a great advantage," said Lumberjacks diving coach Ryan Ohnstad. "I'm really looking forward to the state meet because we have two divers in the competition and I think both have the opportunity to place in the top 16.

"I'm can't remember the last time Bemidji sent two divers to state."

The state tournament field features 30 divers who will each do five dives in Thursday's opening round.

After those dives the field will be cut to the top 20 and they will perform three additional dives on Thursday.

The top 16 divers after the eight dives will make it to Saturday's final round of three dives.

Grosfield will be the youngest athlete in Thursday's competition and the Lumberjack plans to be a sponge at the state meet.

"I'm looking forward to having fun and to get an idea of the competition and the overall experience of being at state," the seventh grader said. "I'm proud of myself and I'm proud to have the opportunity to compete at state."

Ohnstad also is proud of Grosfield's performance at the Section 8A meet and would not be surprised to see her qualify for Saturday's championship round.

"If Kylei has a nice, stable and consistent meet she can make the top 16," Ohnstad said. "And the bonus is that Kylei is only a seventh grader so the experience she gains this week will set her up for the coming years."

Grosfield wants to advance to Saturday's round and she believes that goal can be reached.

"I'll be nervous but it will be a happy nervous," she said. "I'm going to have fun and I want to do my best and dive like I have been practicing. If I do that I could dive again on Saturday."

Hedstrom will be among those in Grosfield's corner.

"It will be fun having Kylei with me," Hedstrom said. "In the other years I was in the hotel by myself and didn't have anyone to share (the experience of being at state) with. But this year Kylei will be there and now I have someone besides Ryan to go shopping with."

Hedstrom's goal is to dive her best and let the chips fall where they may.

"After last year I learned that I can't let a poor dive take over," she said. "Last year I messed up my first dive and I let it get to me. Now I know that you will mess up but the key is to overcome it.

"My goal this season was to make it to state and once there just to do my best," Hedstrom continued. "If I dive as well as I can but don't make it to the top eight or the top 16, that's the way it goes. Ryan just wants me to look back at the state meet without any regrets. All I can do is my best and that's what I want to do."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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