Twisting to the top: Lukach shines in senior seasonJust add water. Jamestown’s Brooke Lukach has been involved with gymnastics since she was six years old and over the last six years she has taken those talents to the pool to not only become one of the best high school divers in the state this year, but also one of the best Jamestown High School has ever seen.
Just add water.
Jamestown’s Brooke Lukach has been involved with gymnastics since she was six years old and over the last six years she has taken those talents to the pool to not only become one of the best high school divers in the state this year, but also one of the best Jamestown High School has ever seen.
“There’s nobody we’ve ever had that can twist like Brooke can,” said Jamestown diving coach Dave Tews. “She’s always been able to do that and that’s kind of been her little niche.”
The senior diver used her niche over the weekend to break the school record in the 11-dive competition by finishing with a combined score of 427.5.
“She told me one of her goals was to go over 400 points,” said Blue Jays head coach Marney Shirley. “She’s put the stepping stones to her success in place.”
But it wasn’t noticed until three days later that the record was even broken.
Lukach’s score on Saturday, following the competition, was totaled to be 426.40 — over one point shy of Alissa Andrus’ record of 427.45, which was set in 2002.
“We were going through our diving sheets and at the end of Saturday I was up to 427.3 and that was enough to break the pool record by quite a bit,” Lukach said. “They re-totaled it because the slider was off — we had to do the scoring manually because the electronic board was being used for the swimming touch pads — and they saw an error on the slider, which actually dropped my score nine-tenths of a point. But then I saw an error on my sheet, which added 1.1 points and that gave me 427.5.”
The lengthy equation nonetheless eventually added up to a new school record, something Lukach said she wasn’t quite expecting heading into the season.
“I am doing a lot better than I thought I would do,” she said. “I knew I would do a lot better than last year, because I broke my collarbone last year and had surgery. So, I was coming off that right when the season started.”
Prior to the 2009 fall season Lukach broke her collarbone playing a game of kick-the-can in the dark, which eventually led to her having to get a plate and seven screws in her right collarbone.
“I was in a sling for about four weeks,” she said. “I was still in (the sling) when the (2009) season started, but then I got out of it about two days before our first meet. I was determined I would be back on the boards for that meet but I wasn’t quite ready.”
She went on to visit a physical therapist and did multiple exercises on her own to get back into shape, and despite not having the type of success she hoped, she still qualified for state.
“Part of last year, the problem wasn’t just my shoulder, I had some mental blocks as well,” said Lukach. “It all just kind of piled up and I didn’t have that great of a season.”
“There were some very frustrating days for her,” Tews said. “It wasn’t because she wasn’t trying, it was just her trying to get healthy.”
But this year has been a different story.
Lukach went to a diving camp over the summer at Minnesota State University-Moorhead and entered the season as prepared as she has ever been.
“A lot of the divers from the eastern part of the state were there,” said Tews. “So she got to see what a lot of them can do. ... She was able to pick up a lot from that camp.”
As a result, she finished first in every diving event she competed in this season and holds that state’s best dive this year by almost 64 points.
“After last year, after her shoulder surgery, you kind of worry how she’s going to be able to come back from that,” Tews said. “She did the camp this summer and fixed a couple of little things to get her back to where she was before. Then she just took off after that.”
Tews also is Lukach’s gymnastics coach during the winter, and according to him the two sports have a lot in common, especially when it comes to body awareness.
“I’ve always been a firm believer in multi-sport athletes and what a great offseason sport for gymnasts,” Tews said. “Very seldom are you going to blow a knee or do something like that. It’s a great crossover for both gymnastics and diving.”
Lukach has had some success at state in both sports, but this year she is in position to exceed everything in the past.
“Her confidence is very high,” said Tews. “All she has to do is do what she’s been doing all year. She doesn’t have to have a great meet. ... She has separated herself from a lot of other divers.”
Lukach and the Blue Jays will head to Williston to compete in the West Region meet on Saturday before going to Mandan for the state meet on Nov. 12-13.
“She has already far exceeded the expectations we’ve had for her diving-wise,” Shirley said. “All we want her to do is have a good meet.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com