Frost carries dive tradition forward

By Matt Phelps

The Islander dive team walked on to the pool deck at the King County Aquatic Center with a strong tradition at the meet and walked out with another medal around an athlete's neck. The seventh-place finish of Holly Frost at state marks the ninth consecutive year a Mercer Island female athlete has stood on the championship podium at the state event. During that time the Islanders have won a total of 13 dive medals at state, including four state titles.

``State divers improve every year,'' said Mercer Island dive coach Penny Yantis. ``We had a strong group this year. They dive as a part of the summer club programs and it is a natural transition to high school.''

Frost continued the winning tradition by scoring 335.30 points at state on Saturday.

``It is awesome to be able to continue that legacy,'' said Frost, who is only a sophomore. ``No matter where I placed I was going to feel pressure. But it is good pressure.''

As a freshman Frost placed sixth at state, putting her in an unusual position on the dive team.

``There was some pressure to provide some leadership but most of that came from myself,'' said Frost.

But Frost wasn't the only Mercer Island diver to compete on the second day of state. Laura Maruhashi, also a sophomore, finished 12th Saturday, giving the program a big chance to continue its string next season.

``I was just happy I made it to state,'' said Maruhashi. ``I think I did really well this year and I improved a lot.''

The popularity of the program this season was no more evident than when defending 3A KingCo all-around gymnast Islander Kelsey Ingram turned out for the team.

``We get a lot of gymnasts for diving,'' said Yantis. ``But we had five girls qualify for districts and four competed with two qualifying for state. It is great to have Holly, a sophomore who is young with all that experience. Now the team has Laura too.''

The dive scores of both Frost and Maruhashi helped the Mercer Island swim team to finish fifth overall.

``It is nice to get as many divers out as we do,'' said Mercer Island head swim coach Jeff Lowell.

Next season the Islanders will attempt to make it 10 consecutive seasons with a medalist diver. With Frost and Maruhashi coming back the chances of the string ending any time soon are unlikely.

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