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Lincoln High's Winston, Pius X's Phelan come back stronger to take HAC diving titles
HAC DIVING

Lincoln High's Winston, Pius X's Phelan come back stronger to take HAC diving titles

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Heartland Athletic Conference diving, 2.13

Lincoln High's Isaiah Winston competes in the Heartland Athletic Conference diving championship Thursday at Lincoln Southeast. Winston, a senior, won this year's event after finishing third last year.

Isaiah Winston and Caroline Phelan had strong showings at last year's Heartland Athletic Conference diving meet.

The two divers were stronger a year later.

Winston, a Lincoln High senior, and Phelan, a Lincoln Pius X sophomore, captured the boys and girls titles, respectively, Thursday at Lincoln Southeast High School. Winston finished third a year ago, and Phelan took runner-up.

"Since freshman year, I've been looking to win state at something, so this is part of it," said Winston, who scored a 405.50. "I'm a senior, so I have to make my mark this year."

Winston came in as the favorite on the boys side. He consistently posted solid scores through his dive program Thursday, and he saved his best dives for last, including a reverse 1½ tuck.

"I was kind of happy with that, because usually it's a big old splash," said, Winston, who ranks third in the state this year behind Millard South's Cayd McCarter and North Platte's Jonathan Brouillette.

Winston said he plans to add a couple of new dives to his program before the state meet.

"My mentality for state is just focusing on myself, because if I start thinking about everyone else, my mind's just going to start running wild," he said.

Lincoln Northeast's Jack Haeffner (335.90) finished second, and Kearney's Richard Harbols (327.40) was third.

Heartland Athletic Conference diving, 2.13

Lincoln Pius X's Caroline Phelan competes in the Heartland Athletic Conference diving championship Thursday at Lincoln Southeast. Phelan won the girls event after finishing runner-up last season.

Phelan's two best scores of the season have come in consecutive meets. She scored a 337.75 at last week's Fete Fling Invitational in Elkhorn, and topped that Thursday with a 341.60.

Before the HAC meet, Phelan added an inward double to her program. It was her ninth dive Thursday.

"I think that's what really helped me push over and win," Phelan said. "I started out strong and was a little bit rocky in the middle, but I knew I had my hard dives towards the end and knew I had to get to those. Once I hit those, I was pretty confident."

Phelan was in contention to win last year's HAC meet as a freshman, but Lincoln Southwest's Aleni Stoakes scored a high figure on her final dive to edge Phelan 330.15-329.30.

"Ever since I got that second-place medal, I wanted this gold one, and now that I have it, it's everything," said Phelan, who entered a wide-open HAC meet seeded sixth.

Lincoln High's Novalee Schmit (334.45) was second and Norfolk's Kiran Walker (320.75) was third.

The HAC meet will move to Fremont's Dillon Family Aquatic Center for the next two days. Swimming prelims will begin at noon Friday, and swimming finals are at noon Saturday.

Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.

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