Hales Corners - A third straight WIAA Division 2 state championship in diving appears well within the reach of Whitnall High School senior Rachel Stave.
After totaling 470 points and 444 points to claim the state titles in the previous two seasons, Stave will attempt to secure the triple crown at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Natatorium.
The Whitnall team captain easily advanced to state by winning the championship in a sectional meet at Cudahy on Saturday, scoring 451.65 points.
That total was a whopping 117 points clear of second-place finisher Erica Tennant of Kenosha Indian Trail, who also qualified for state.
Stave goes into the state meet 61 points ahead of the next-best qualifier, Gina Jacobson of Edgewood Sacred Heart, who tallied 390.4 points in her sectional.
Other state divers who posted totals of over 350 points are Taylor Knuth of Plymouth (381.85), Gabby Kraus of Grafton (363.25) and Hayley Seitz of Port Washington (371.4).
Alex Albrecht of Pius XI, who came in a distant second to Stave in the Woodland Conference Meet, checks in at 341.2 points.
Stave seems to have a definite edge in her battle for another gold at state, and Whitnall's diving future also appears to be in good hands as junior Brianna Tabat placed third in the sectional with 270.15 points, short of qualifying.
"We had a great sectional meet, with Rachel winning and our first-year diver, Brianna, taking third," Whitnall head coach George Guddie said.
The Falcons will also be represented in the swimming portion of the state meet as senior team captain Sarah Arteaga qualified in both the 200 individual medley and the 100 breast stroke.
Arteaga, who swam on a relay team at state last season, placed fourth in the sectional in the 200 IM at 2 minutes, 13.83 seconds and third in the 100 breast stroke with 1:09.62.
Whitnall also saw several sectional entries narrowly miss out on trips to state, including the 200 medley relay team of Jill Kolasinski, Arteaga, Lauren Zurowski and Leah Windt, which took fourth (1:55.91), just 0.13 of a second short of advancing.
Also taking fourth was the 200 freestyle group of Zurowski, Arteaga, Leah Jenk and Windt (1:43.34).
Windt also snared fifth in the 200 freestyle (2:03.83).
"She dropped three seconds at conference the week before and dropped another three seconds (in the sectional)," Guddie said.
Maddie Vokovitch came in fifth in the 100 breast stroke (1:12.33) and eighth in the 200 IM (2:22.25). The 400 freestyle unit of Kolasinski, Rebecca Wigington, Mary Sullivan and Vokovitch was eighth (4:02.56).
Lizzie Streim dropped four seconds in the 100 butterfly (1:04.84) and Wigington posted a season best in the 500 freestyle (6:04.01), Guddie said.
The Falcons tallied 227 points for fourth place in the sectional, which was won by Fort Atkinson's 329 points.
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