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Diving: Hendricks finishes strong at Academy

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By Mike Cote

ALBUQUERQUE — While there was plenty of competition to go around at Friday’s diving meet, divers from Los Alamos were scarce.Hilltopper diver Lisa Ann Hendricks was awarded a high score of six-and-one-half with her back dive straight and sixes in five of her 11 dives Friday as she tied for fifth-place at the Albuquerque Academy Invitational diving meet.Hendricks was the only diver from Los Alamos competing among 17 entrants in the girls competition Friday.The 11-dive routine, as well as the large field for the event, made things slow-going.“There’s a lot of waiting when you’re not diving,” Hendricks said. “Sometimes your nerves start to build up. At the beginning of the meet, you’re excited, but sometimes it’s hard to maintain that excitement, that ‘umph,’ through all 11 dives.”Hendricks performed a similar slate of dives to what she plans to do at the state meet, which she qualified for at the Albuquerque Public Schools meet on Dec. 22.At Friday’s event, Hendricks saw many of the same divers she’ll be up against at the state meet Feb. 22, and at the same venue.“I want to get those down cleaner, more consistent” Hendricks said of what she needs to do prior to the state meet. “Other than that, just little things here and there. Things I can fix.”Hendricks’ finished 11th at the 2006-2007 meet.In general, Hendricks said she was pleased with her performance Friday, where she picked up a final total of 263.75 points. Rio Rancho’s Hope Hoover won the event with a score of 371.45, while Isabelle Lydick of St. Pius X was second with 343.75.Perhaps the best diver in the state, Kaitlin Walker of Eldorado, was not at Friday’s meet. Eldorado was at an event Saturday against Valley. Most Albuquerque Public Schools were either competing against one another or taking the week off.Walker won the Los Alamos Quad, hosted by the Hilltoppers, Jan. 5.Hendricks’ topped off her event with her best dive of the day, a back somersault, which earned her three sixes and two five-and-one-halves from the five judges.Friday was the first time she tried a reverse one-and-a-half somersault tuck — with a difficulty degree of 2.1 it was the second-most difficult dive she attempted in her routine — but she didn’t turn it all the way and hit the water before fully getting out her tuck. She said she’d only practiced the dive a few times earlier in the week.She said it was exciting to try a new dive and would like to get that dive down to use later in the season as well.Los Alamos’ other diver that had previously qualified for state, Lauren Bucklin, sat out Friday’s competition recovering from back trouble. Bucklin is expected back for next week’s meet in Farmington.Diver Emily TenCate didn’t compete Friday but swam in Saturday’s event.