Girls Swimming: Hinkley’s Brooke Connelly uses last chance meet to make state

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Hinkley junior Brooke Connelly takes a break between dives at the Cherry Creek Invitational diving meet on Feb. 4, 2015, at Cherry Creek High School. Connelly scored 350.75 points at the last chance meet to become the T-Birds' first qualifier for the Class 5A state swim meet in more than two decades. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Hinkley junior Brooke Connelly takes a break between dives at the Cherry Creek Invitational diving meet on Feb. 4, 2015, at Cherry Creek High School. Connelly scored 350.75 points at the last chance meet to become the T-Birds’ first qualifier for the Class 5A state swim meet in more than two decades. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

GREENWOOD VILLAGE | Hinkley junior diver Brooke Connelly took full advantage of her almost last chance to earn her way into the Class 5A girls state swim meet.

Along with several others from various schools, Connelly used the Cherry Creek Invitational last chance meet hosted by Cherry Creek High School on Wednesday to qualify for a spot in the Feb. 13-14 5A state meet proceedings at the Edora Pool & Ice Center in Fort Collins.

Connelly, a former gymnast who is in her first year diving, needed a score of 335 points with a 12.2 degree of difficulty in order to become the first Hinkley girls diver to make state in at least two decades. She got that and then some, posting a score of 350.75, which placed her fourth among 10 divers in the meet. Six of the divers earned their way into the 5A or 4A state meets.

The score also gave Connelly school records for both 6-dive and 11-dive meets. She broke a 24-year-old 6-dive mark set by Laura Wallace in 1991 when she scored 215.10 points in a dual meet against Brighton last month.

For a feature story on Connelly’s first year in diving, click here.

Connelly’s performance meant she could skip another Last Chance meet she was entered in on Thursday at Denver North. Next up is the East Metro Athletic Conference championship meet Saturday at Adams City High School, where Connelly is expected to face budding rival Jessica Mitchell of Gateway.

Mitchell, the defending EMAC champion, earned her way into the state meet at the Aurora Public Schools Championship meet on Jan. 31 with a score of 340.55 points.

Aurora’s diving ranks have swelled in recent days and now counts seven, with Connelly and Mitchell joining the Regis Jesuit trio of junior McKensi Austin (the defending 5A state champion), senior Kellyn Toole and freshman Anna Marie Kenny plus Eaglecrest senior Indiya Williams and Grandview junior Isobel Griffin.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

CHERRY CREEK INVITATIONAL DIVING MEET

Individual scores: 1. Ashley Jones (ThunderRidge), 383.80 points (5ASQT); 2. Haley Igoe (Arapahoe), 370.25 (5ASQT); 3. Erica Mann (Valor Christian), 353.05 (4ASQT); 4. BROOKE CONNELLY (HINKLEY), 350.75 (5ASQT); 5. Denise Jin (Rock Canyon), 342.40 (5ASQT); 6. Pristine Floyde (Valor Christian), 311.90 (4ASQT); 7. Amber Chisholm (Mountain Vista), 305.70; 8. Alexis Ingmire (ThunderRidge), 304.75; 9. Olivia Guarino (Cherry Creek), 280.25; 10. Bri Bauer (Mountain Vista), 276.55