This is the second straight year that Owatonna junior Ali An has qualified for the state diving meet. This year she is focused on making the finals after mainly having fun and getting a feel for the event in 2016, "My sophomore year I mainly focused on having fun. So maybe this year I'll do better, because I have experience with it."

Thirty-two divers from Class AA take to the board at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center Thursday at 6PM for the preliminaries. The top 20 move to the semifinals the same night, with the top 16 advancing to Saturday's finals. Diving coach Ken Ringhofer says An has improved from last year with higher degrees of difficulty in her dives, plus more focus and devotion. He believes she can finish in the top ten, or even higher, "If you compare the scores from last year and where she is this year."

An says she gets nervous in the big meets and admits she felt more pressure at sections this year after qualifying for state a year ago. She aims to clear her mind leading up to competition. "I just try not to focus on dives as much and just listen to music and try and distract myself."

An was also part of Owatonna's third-place, state meet gymnastics team last winter. Ringhofer says, "I think the gymnastics background has helped her out a lot." An followed her sister into diving when she was a seventh-grader. She has competed in gymnastics even longer than that.

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