In her first state diving meet, the moment didn’t appear to be too big for Verona Area High School freshman Annika Rufenacht.
Rufenacht scored a season-high 386.45 points to finish sixth place at the WIAA state diving meet on Tuesday, April 6, at the Waukesha South Natatorium.
“It’s exciting,” Rufenacht said. “I wasn’t expecting to do this well. I was happy with anything.”
After the first five rounds, Rufenacht was in fourth place.
“I was pretty surprised by that,” she said. “I performed some of those dives the best I have this year.”
After the first eight rounds, Rufenacht fell back to seventh place, but was still in contention for a medal. Rufenacht entered the state diving meet as the sixth seed.
Rufeancht said her final three dives are difficult, and the higher degree of difficulty helped, even though she didn’t stick her back tuck two-and-a-half twist dive.
“If there are some lower scores it evens out because of the higher degree of difficulty,” she said.
Varsity participants must complete 11 dives. There are five categories of dives a varsity participant must complete, including front, back, inward reverse and twist. The back, inward and twist dives can be either front or backward dives.
Rufenacht saved her signature backflip two and a half twist dive for the final round. The dive has a degree of difficulty of 2.7.
Rufenacht said she didn’t perform the dive as well as she has in previous meets, adding that on her flip, she noticed that she didn’t go in as straight as possible.
“I went over and washed over on the flip a little bit,” she said.
The state experience has fueled Rufenacht. She plans to continue diving for the Hawk’s Landing club swim team in the summer, she said.
Rufenacht said she plans to get to a higher level of diving where she can score 8 and 9s by working on her form and aim to get more height.