RF divers prepare for sectionals, hopeful for state

By Joe Peine
Posted 2/7/24

Nolan Tody finishes sixth in the conference and aims to qualify for the state tournament for the second year in a row at sectionals in Green Bay this Saturday.

The River Falls Wildcat divers …

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RF divers prepare for sectionals, hopeful for state


Nolan Tody finishes sixth in the conference and aims to qualify for the state tournament for the second year in a row at sectionals in Green Bay this Saturday.

The River Falls Wildcat divers competed in the conference championships on Friday night in Eau Claire.

In their last meet before going to the state championship qualifying sectional round, River Falls’ divers were able to get one last chance to perfect their dives in a live competition.

Overall, in the conference finals, Gus Schmitt-Mischke finished 11th, Tristan Patz finished 10th and Nolan Tody finished sixth, marks that each of them hope to improve upon going into sectionals next week.

Head Coach Brady Sievers says that although top diver Tody didn’t finish quite as high as he had hoped in the conference, it wasn’t far off and it lets them know what they still need to work on as they shore things up over the next week.

“That's around where we expected him to finish. I know today wasn't his best, and he would probably say that too, but we were thinking he'd probably finish around third or fourth place,” Sievers said. “In some ways that’s good because you know exactly which dives you need to work on, and you know what you need to do in preparation for the sectional meet, which is pretty important. That's kind of the most important meet of the year.”

Coach Sievers says there are a couple specific dives that will determine how far Tody can go in sectionals and possibly return to the state level of competition for the second year in a row.

“He competed his front two and a half today, and he kind of barely made it. So, his scores are a little low on that. We're going to work on his front two and a half and on his back one and a half, which he didn't do today, but we're hoping to put that in his list just to get his degree of difficulty up,” Sievers said. “Today, he was scoring a lot of 5’s and 5.5’s, but he's usually in that 6-6.5 range. So, we’re just kind of going to polish things up this week.”

Schmitt-Mischke and Patz finished roughly where they have been at the conference championship meet on Friday, according to Sievers.

“If you compare the dual meet scores, that's about where they’ve been. With Division 2, there's a lower amount of divers, so there's a good chance that they could make state if they have a decent performance at sectionals,” Sievers said. “Mostly, it's just going to be doing the dives they've done. I know Tristan wants to do a front double, and I know he's capable of doing that. So, I'm just going to kind of push them to do that extra dive that they may not be comfortable with right now.”

Tody says that it was good to get the practice in on his dives ahead of sectionals, even though doing so probably cost him a little bit in the final conference championship rankings.

“I wish I would have done better and finished a little bit higher, but I also put in some dives I probably shouldn't have if I wanted that to happen, mainly the front two and a half,” Tody said. “It's actually kind of the reason I put it in, to try and work on it so I can get it right.”

Tody says he’s also working on his back and reverse dives, and he wants to flip them over to get a reverse one and a half and a back one and a half. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, Tody explains what that means.

“So basically, a back one half is where you start facing away from the water on the diving board, you go up, you flip and then you go on the water hands first,” Tody said. “The reverse one and a half you start facing the water, go up, do a backflip and then into the water.”

Last year at state, Tody finished near the bottom, but he says this year he’s making every effort to improve upon that.

“I finished 19th in the state last year. I could have gotten higher if I had not underestimated myself. I had not completely warmed up all my dives and put some in the list that I had only done a couple times. So, this year I will be fully prepared with dives I have well practiced,” Tody said. “My dives are cleaner this year, and I got a few more dives that look cleaner and more proficient which should help push me up higher.”

Tody says he’s looking forward to having a couple of his teammates hopefully joining him at state this year as well.

“It helps to boost my confidence a little bit, just having someone else there to talk to and kind of get my nerves off the diving portion of it and cooling things down,” Tody said. “Last year it was just me, so this year will be a lot more fun.”

The extra divers for River Falls won’t be the only difference at the state championships this year either as they have moved from Division 1 to Division 2. For the Wildcat divers, this should be a leg up compared to previous years, and they have a real shot of going all the way.

Sectionals will take place next weekend at Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay. Competition begins at 1 p.m.

River Falls Wildcats, swimming/diving, conference championships, sectionals, Big Rivers