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This week's Peak Performer: Taylor Walsh, Palmer diving
Jacob Gilbreth, Colorado School for the Deaf & Blind
The senior scored 23 points in a 57-52 win over Edison and then added 24 points in a 47-44 victory over Southern Colorado Early College. The pair of games gave the Bulldogs their first back-to-back wins of the season.
Angela Vigil, Doherty
The senior point guard scored 15 points and added five assists in a 49-34 win over Pine Creek, and then topped that with 24 points – including two made free throws to clinch the game – in a 49-48 win over Rampart.
Logan Haverstrom, Air Academy
In three wins last week – where the Kadets outscored their opponents 22-5 – Haverstrom scored four times and added three assists for an Air Academy team that has won five straight and sits in second place in the Peak Conference.
Geo Martinez, Pine Creek
The two-time state champion 138-pounder became the first wrestler to win four times at the Colorado Springs Metro Wrestling Championships. Martinez pinned Palmer Ridge’s Tyler Thalhammer in the second round and is 29-0 on the season.
Coming into the 2012-13 girls' swimming season, not many people outside of Palmer had heard of diver Taylor Walsh.
As a junior, Walsh took 15th at the state meet last season, and entering her senior year was just hoping to make it onto the podium at the 5A state meet – which would mean a top-eight finish.
But in recent weeks she has taken the city by storm, breaking school and pool records on her way to becoming one of the top divers in the state.
“Taylor is very focused; she went from not being able to qualify for state two years ago to one of the top divers in the state this season,” said Palmer diving coach Ali Eustice. “She has always been a pretty diver, but her strength training has now given her the power to go with it.”
It’s no coincidence that Walsh has become a force on the diving board. She put in the practice time between her junior and senior years and it’s showing.
“I practice two to three times a week and do dry land training at the gym, in addition to club practice three times per week,” said Walsh, who has adjusted her preseason goals. “Winning the state title is definitely a goal, but I at least want to make the top eight – top three sounds pretty good, too.”
In a home-meet win over Fountain-Fort Carson on Jan. 22, Walsh broke both the Palmer school and pool diving records with 256.15 total points.
She then went on to win the Lewis-Palmer Diving Invitational on Saturday with a score of 404.30 – almost 60 points higher than second-place Maia Presti of Fountain Valley.
“The best word to describe Taylor is balanced; she is motivated and works hard but doesn’t let one bad dive ruin her day,” said Eustice, who also is impressed with the way Walsh has guided her younger diving counterparts on the team – including state-bound sophomore Bella Farrell.
“Taylor is the epitome of focus. Bella gets distracted sometimes and Taylor has been her rock to help her stay focused, as well as with the other girls.”
Walsh, who has received emails from out-of-state colleges about potential scholarships, said she’d like to stay in Colorado for college. But before she gets to that point she’s going to enjoy her recent success and push forward for more.
“Winning the Lewis-Palmer invite was incredible because I’ve lost to some of those girls in the past, so to beat them now was great,” said Walsh, who plans to study psychology in college. “I’ve been improving all season, but I was kind of shocked. At the beginning of the year I wanted to qualify for state at every meet and I wanted to break a Palmer record, and I’ve done both of those things. So state is the big goal that’s still left.”