Standing just 4-foot-11 and tipping the scales at 90 pounds Katy Etterman has to put the hammer down on a diving board to vault herself into the air.
Etterman has found a way to succeed despite her stature, as is evidenced by her fourth-place finish in the Section 8-2A diving meet, which qualified her for this week's state meet.
After the first eight dives at the section meet, Etterman was in seventh place, two behind her sister Tiffany, while teammate Sam Smith was first. After a few swimming events completed their finals, divers came back to attempt their final three dives with the top four individuals advancing to state.
Brainerd's Sam Smith (left), Tiffany Etterman and Katy Etterman finished 1-2-4 in the Section 8-2A diving meet. All three advanced to this week's state meet. Photo/Andy Smith
"My sister was in a good spot," Katy said. "She was just out of (the top four). I moved up a couple spots to make it.
"During the final three dives, besides one miss by my sister, all three of us hit our dives as good as we possibly could. Sam ended up first, Tiffany second and I was fourth. We all had one of our best meets of the year.
Weight: 90 pounds
Other sports: Gymnastics
Career highlight: Qualifying for state diving meet
Grade-point average: 4.0
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite food: Tuna
Favorite movie: "Baby Mama"
Favorite Web site: Facebook
Hobbies: Being on a lake in summer and winter
Future plans: Possibly pursue career in medical or science field
Athlete she admires: Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson
Parents: Jim and Stephanie Etterman
"I expected to get fifth. I was preparing for that in case it happened. That didn't happen. Once it didn't I was so excited."
The diving order in the section meet had Tiffany finishing the meet after Smith and Katy.
"Tiffany just needed to hit that dive to get in," Katy said. "As soon as she did we jumped up and started screaming. It was an amazing experience."
Warriors diving coach Mary Streiff said the section finals were similar to the conference finals where the Ettermans had to hit their diving list to place highly.
"We left a strong three dives for both Katy and Tiffany," Streiff said. "We mentally prepared them, that they can move up in the finals if they hit their dives. Katy was a little farther back, Tiffany was in the thick of things. We knew Katy would have to hit all three dives to sneak in there, and that's exactly what she did."
In the regular season the sophomore often was the Warriors'' third diver, finishing behind her sister and Smith. As a supportive teammate, Katy had no problem being No. 3.
"At the beginning of the season Tiffany and I were kind of on and off," Katy said. "It was kind of weird. Tiffany always (beat me at) the away meets, I (beat her at) the home meets. We were pretty close. Toward the end of the season she started to get more consistent in beating me.
"Those two are seniors. They can beat me. I'm OK with that. I still have two more years to keep improving. Being third I was able to watch those two. That helped me this year and will help me in the years to come."
Streiff said she had prepared the sisters for the possibility one might not qualify for state.
"Katy probably wanted it more for her sister than she wanted it for herself," Streiff said. "Knowing it was her sister's last hurrah, that's the kind of kid she is."
Other notable efforts:
The 200 medley relay of Siri Smith, Della Gramer, Destiney Schindele and Sarah Dens qualified for state by time standard.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.