With a late rally, Clovis West High’s Kelli Ann Funk became a Central Section trailblazer.
Funk scored a school-record 468.55 points in the girls diving finals to place fifth during the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships. She was the first section athlete to medal at the inaugural event, which launched a three-year run at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex on Friday morning.
Immaculate Heart-Los Angeles’ Olivia Rosendahl was the champion with 517.50, followed by Nevada Union-Grass Valley’s Mikaela Lujan (492.85), Palo Alto’s Mimi Lin (489.85) and West Ranch-Valencia’s Carly Sherwood-Souza (469.80).
“I was super excited and could hardly sleep last night,” Funk said. “It was my last high school meet and I wanted to make it my best high school meet. I know how competitive California is. It’s an honor to medal. I’m so happy and blessed.”
Funk, a three-time Central Section champion who’s headed to dive for Texas Christian, sat in seventh place through eight of the event’s 11 dives. Only the top six in each of the 12 girls and boys vents earn a state medal.
But Funk nailed her final three dives — an inward 11/2 pike, back somersault with 11/2 twist and front somersault with double twist — to move into medal position.
“Honestly, I went out there and did my best,” Funk said. “I was nervous going against all this big-time competition. But I just told myself not to worry about them and keep my faith.”
Buchanan’s Connor Cain will be a threat to medal Saturday when the meet resumes at 8:30 a.m. with the boys diving finals.
Cain, a three-time section champion, enters with the No. 8 seeded mark of 498.10. Maranatha-Pasadena’s Jacob Fielding is first at 637.05. Funk was the No. 7 seed, performing on her home boards.