EAST LANSING – In 10-plus seasons as the East Lansing diving coach, Tom Kuhlman has had several accomplished divers.
But this year, Kuhlman said there was something “special” about his group, which consists of only freshmen and sophomores.
The inexperienced diving unit made a splash — or lack thereof — for the Trojans this season as four of his eight divers placed in the top 15 at the CAAC Blue conference meet.
“I got a whole string of them (young divers) and they’re great to teach,” said Kuhlman, the LSJ girls diving coach of the year. “I got to give them a lot of credit. Their attitude is great and they’re all competitive. They all want to dive.”
Heading that group is Mary Phillips. The freshman won the 1-meter diving title at the league meet and placed 14th at the Division 2 state meet. Phillips, who was named the LSJ girls diver of the year, said Kuhlman encouraged throughout the season to push herself.
“He taught me to try new things all the time,” Phillips said. “I’ve been with really good coaches and I was kind of iffy coming into high school, I didn’t like the idea of a new coach and stuff. But he taught me a lot. It was a good experience.”
Many of Kuhlman’s divers came in with little or no experience in the sport. Sophomore Eve Petrie, who, according to Kuhlman, started diving in July, finished fifth at the conference meet. Freshman Devin Carapellucci placed eighth.
Kuhlman is excited for what the future has in store for his young group. He believes they have an opportunity to be competitive for quite some time.
“All of them are freshmen and sophomores, they’ll be around awhile,” he said. “It’s worth following. They’re really good.
“It (this season) snowballed and it was fun.”
Contact James L. Edwards III at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.