No amount of adversity can diminish freshman Yellowjacket diver Brittney Lorentz’s 4th place finish at the Section 8A diving tournament.
COVID-19 has brought about many unideal circumstances and challenges to conducting high school athletics as normal. This included new guidelines for swimmers and divers, capacity limits on competitions , a limited amount of meets for athletes and no post section tournaments. The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors voted against a motion for post-section play for fall activities on Thursday, Oct. 1.
After working all season as if nothing was even different, Lorentz placed 4th at sections. In the typical season, that finish would bring her to the state tournament. After placing first in every diving meet of the year, Lorentz said she is bummed she doesn't get to compete at the highest level, but that her and her team are embracing the season they were not sure if they were going to have.
“I'm pretty upset that I worked hard all season and was looking forward to going to state,” Lorentz said.“ Even with COVID-19, I learned to appreciate every practice that we had not knowing how long our season was going to be.”
All of the athletes involved in this year’s swim season took each day as it came. Swimmers and divers enjoyed every chance they got to compete as a team. Perham-New York Mills diving coach Amanda Fischer said that Lorentz is a strong athlete who should hold on to hopes of making it back to the state tournament in the future. The freshman would have been seeded no. 13 if the tournament was still set to happen.
“Brittney has a positive attitude every single practice,” Fischer said. “She is always willing to learn new dives even if they scare her and she listens to instruction well.”
Fischer says she hopes to see Lorentz continue to qualify in the future and maybe even go on to have a college diving career. Lorentz followed Fischer’s daughter in qualifying for the state tournament. Dena Fischer, who was coached for six years by her mother, qualified for state her 10th, 11 and 12th grade.
Even though her postseason hopes are not happening Lorentz said that she is really remembering why she sparked a love for the sport in the first place. She said that the lessons she learns helps her in life in and out of the pool.
“The thing I like the most about diving is that this sport pushes me to be the best person I can be in and out of practices,” Lorentz said. “It teaches me life lessons as hard work pays off.”
Going forward, Lorentz hopes to continue to improve and grow from the circumstances challenges that she and her teammates faced this season. She said that she gained an extra appreciation for her team and every moment they got together.
“I also appreciated all the meets we got to attend as a team, even though we only had four,” Lorentz said. “The hope I have is to continue to work hard at my dives and hopefully make it to state in the future.”
It is safe to say that athletes and coaches alike gained something special from competing in a season like this one brought about by COVID-19. Fischer said that positivity and meaning was strong for her divers through every challenge that was brought to them.
“We took one day at a time. Every practice meant something because of the uncertainty and the length of our season,” Fischer said. “All the girls were happy to be able to have a season, even if it was short and half the meets.”