Sports Notebook

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State diving champion: Chloe Hacker

Freshman Chloe Hacker is the first Corona female diver ever to win the state championship. Although she led the competition after the first day, it was her stellar diving on the final day, Nov. 6, that sealed the championship.

“Going into the last day of competition, I knew if I continued diving like I had all season, that I would win,” said Hacker. “Fortunately, my last three dives are fairly solid and carry a high degree of difficulty, which gave me an advantage in the finals.”

Her Corona diving coach, Lije Arnold, agreed.

“I was on edge coming in to the final day of competition because I did not know the degree of difficulty of the dives planned by the other divers,” said Arnold. “I was quickly at ease after watching the other girls warm up because I knew that Chloe’s dives not only had a high degree of difficulty but that she could also land them.”

Hacker landed her dives scoring 8.80 points higher than her next competitor, according to Arnold.

Hacker, who started diving when she was eight, had a great freshman season meeting her goals and winning every dual meet and the Tempe City meet. The only meet where she didn’t take first place was at the Xavier/Brophy Invitational early in the season where she took second.

“I have received so much support from everyone at Corona and I knew that I had a lot of people pulling for me which gave me even more drive to win,” said Hacker.  “Being the first person to win the State championship in my sport for Corona is an amazing accomplishment and I feel honored to be that person.”  

Golfer signs with UNLV

Dana Finkelstein signed a letter of intent for a golf scholarship to UNLV. Finkelstein had received interest from several schools but chose UNLV because it was close to home, had similar weather to Phoenix and, she said, has awesome coaches and facilities.

Finkelstein, who started playing golf with her father, Jay, when she was 11, played the number one spot on Corona’s golf team all four years of her high school career.

“I would say playing No.1 the entire four years is Dana’s biggest accomplishment,” said Corona’s golf coach Pat Reed.

“She was All-City Champion this year, was named to the All-Region team every year and dropped her average from 79 to 71.5 over the last four years which is one of the reasons she was recruited by UNLV.”

In addition, Finkelstein had a great senior season.

“This year was my best year,” said Finkelstein. “I shot a 69 to win the Tempe Invitational, won the City Tournament, placed third at the Aguila Invitational and placed sixth at State. I was also a medalist in all of my high school matches this year except two.”

Finkelstein, who plans on majoring in physical therapy or sports therapy and training at UNLV, is planning on having an impact on her new team right away.

“The UNLV coach thinks I will be an impact player right away,” said Finkelstein. “I have a really good short game so that should be one of the strength’s I will bring to my new team.”

Finkelstein’s skills will also be missed on Corona’s team according to coach Reed.

“I will miss Dana’s consistency. Even when she had a subpar round, I could always count on her to come back in the next round” said Reed. “Dana was a great role model for the other players. She was always very professional during practice and especially at tournaments.

Cross country

Corona’s boys and girls cross country team finished in the top five at the 5A-I state tournament held Nov. 6 at the Cave Creek Golf Course to cap off a season where the team seemed to peak at the end.

“I think 2010 was one of our most successful seasons at Corona,” said coach Pat Smith. “We brought home trophies at almost every meet and our top five finishes for both teams at the state meet were outstanding.”

The boys team, lead again by Jared Hirschl, placed fourth behind Alhambra, Mesa Mountain View and Desert Vista. Hirschl took fourth place overall for Corona, followed by Jake Whitney, 17th, Jim Hert, 25th, Daniel Wrapp, 33rd, Ryan Normand 69th, Michael Seall 86th, and Justin Yang, 127th.

“We had our goal to finish first at state, but all of us didn’t do as well as we wanted, which is fine, because any team can win on any given day,” said Hirschl. “That day just wasn’t our day.”

Regardless of what happened at state, the five senior boys on Corona’s team have set a precedent for future runners by winning both the Tempe City Invitational and the Sectional/Regional meet.

“We were all ecstatic after winning City and Region, because no other Corona Cross Country team had won either meet since 1992,” said Wrapp.

“We had a great season winning both City and Sectionals and displayed repeatedly that we were one of the ‘teams to beat’,” said Seall.

Also running varsity for the boys team was Cody Jackson, Jeff Morrison and Grant Swenson according to Smith.

Corona’s girls team took fifth place with junior Dani LeMieux leading the way and exceeding her goal of finishing state in the top 20.

“We lost five of our top runners from last year, so finishing just one spot below at state, fifth as opposed to fourth last season, was an accomplishment for us,” said LeMieux. “I also met both of my goals of running the course under 20 minutes and finishing in the top 20.”

LeMieux was followed by senior Sara Wright, sophomore Hallie Swenson, junior Hannah Lewis, seniors Ellen Dunn, Alyssa Ramsland and Hanna Snyder. Mason Kuluris and Hanna Dinnel also ran varsity.

Dunn, a four-year varsity runner for Corona, who was injured most of the season, was happy with the team’s fifth place finish at state.

“I am very happy with our results all season but especially state,” said Dunn. “I felt like we were hardly going to be on the radar, but we ended up getting fifth.”

Losing four senior runners on the girls team also means Corona will need to count on some of the younger runners from this year.

“I’m not too worried,” said Smith “We have a great group of kids coming back next season and we will step-up like we did this year.”

Young wrestlers place at Amarillo Nationals

Two local wrestlers competed in the Amarillo Nationals in Amarillo, Texas, Oct. 29-30, and both came away with medals in the 15-and-under division.

Both wrestlers, now freshman at Corona, entered as “independents.” Glenn Farina took third place and Tristan Ezell took fourth.

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