Gymnasts are accustomed to twisting and somersaulting in midair to execute their routines. That's why they often make a smooth transition to diving.
Tiffany Etterman was a gymnast before she became a diver for the Brainerd Warriors. Head coach Dan Anderson had Etterman as a student and put two and two together.
"I had been doing gymnastics and I had Mr. Anderson for a teacher in seventh grade," Etterman said. "He was kind of on me to try diving since I already had the flipping experience from gymnastics and my uncle (Pete) had done it too (at Brainerd)."
Etterman, her sister Katy and Samantha Smith give the Warriors one of the state's top diving trios. They have often finished 1-2-3 in dual meets.
Smith won every dual meet in which Brainerd competed. She set a school record for 11 dives and ranks second for six dives.
Etterman finished second behind Smith five times. She added five third places and one fourth.
"Tiffany's kind of been in Sam's shadow," Warriors diving coach Mary Streiff said. "But to her credit she doesn't let that deter her. She's a hard-worker, she's very consistent. That's probably her strength in diving.
Weight: 105 pounds
Other sports: Gymnastics, track and field
Career highlight: Placing fifth in diving at conference meet
Grade-point average: 3.92
Favorite subject: Chemistry
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: "August Rush"
Future plans: Attend college, possibly compete in gymnastics or diving, possibly major in pre-med.
Athlete she admires: Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson
Parents: Jim and Stephanie Etterman
"In an 11-dive meet we can count on Tiffany being in that 5.0 range. Hopefully, she will pick up a few bigger dives. She has increased her difficulty this year."
Smith won the Central Lakes Conference title with Tiffany fifth and Katy sixth. Tiffany was seventh after the prelims.
"It started out well," she said. "I wasn't in as good a position on Thursday as I wanted going into Saturday, but I knew if I hit everything on Saturday I would be fine. I had my hardest dives Saturday and I knew I needed to hit them going into that."
Etterman finished with a personal-best 320.90 points, putting her ninth on the BHS all-time list for 11 dives.
"We were hoping that she was going to pull up even more with those last dives," Streiff said. "To be honest, everyone had a pretty sold final round, but we had difficulty left so Tiffany was able to pull ahead of Marissa Glazos (St. Cloud Tech and Beth Pollock (Willmar). She missed fourth place by 2/10ths of a point. It was very close. She had a great final round."
Warrior divers have this week and next to prepare for the Section 8-2A meet Nov. 14-15 at Elk River. Etterman likes the Warriors' chances of advancing to state.
"I'm definitely hoping to make it to state," she said. "I think it also would be cool if Sam and Katy and I all make it together."
Streiff believes that could happen.
"Going into sections the top four go to state," she said. "I see Tiffany right in the mix if she can put a consistent dive list together and let the pieces fall. I look for her season to continue a week longer after sections."
Whatever happens in the postseason Streiff knows Etterman will be a success.
"She's one of those kids who's going to be a success in whatever she decides she wants to do," Streiff said. "Academically she does well, she's in gymnastics in St. Cloud and track in Brainerd. ... She's quite studious. She's one of those kids who can balance it all."
Other notable efforts:
Thomas Ruttger, cross country, placed 23rd in the Class 2A meet and was all-state.
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