Steamboat Springs Four years ago, it would have been hard for Genna Bradley to believe it would come to this.
Bradley, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School who dives for the Moffat County High School team, is just days away from her final competition as a high school diver.
And for the girl who started diving just four short years ago, she also enters Saturday’s Class 4A state diving championships at Mountain View High School in Loveland as one of the favorites.
Bradley — coming off her highest output of the season in picking up her fourth straight regional diving championship Feb. 6 in Grand Junction — is among a group of four or five divers favored to win. Bradley has the third highest total for diving this season, behind Windsor’s Mikhaila Eckhardt and Arvada’s Kayla Lucas.
“I think she’s just starting to peak,” coach Dave Fix said. “She pulled out a nice solid A game at regionals. We’re hoping she has that A-plus game at state.”
Bradley finished sixth at the state championships last season and worked hard through the summer and beginning of the regular season to position herself as a top contender. That meant ditching the Western Slope events for the more highly competitive Front Range events.
Bradley struggled at times with the heightened level of competition. But as the season wore on, she not only grew accustomed to it, but also embraced it.
“I’ve never been a favorite going in,” Bradley said. “I don’t know if any of the judges knew who I was in years past. Now they know who I am. Going to the Front Range was unbelievably helpful. It was a different aspect of diving this year than years past.
“I’m more mentally prepared and know what the competition looks like.”
Bradley will leave Thursday and have a training session on Friday. Saturday’s competition begins at 10:30 a.m.
Bradley can take some insurance in the fact Eckhardt’s and Lucas’ high scores were at home meets. Besides those meets, the three divers had very comparable seasons.
Fix said the key is to try and stay consistent. With 11 dives to decide a state champion, Fix said making sure dive No. 1 is as good as dive No. 11 will be instrumental.
And if Bradley dives up to her ability, where exactly will that leave her?
“The perfect scenario,” she said, “would absolutely be winning.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org