MARSHALLTOWN — Cedar Rapids Washington senior diver Ayla Taylor has done most of her career work in anonymity.
It was more of the same Saturday morning at the state meet as Taylor closed out her career in style.
She got off to a great start in the early dives and ended up finishing second in the field of 32 divers with a score of 476.75 points. Ames senior Jayna Misra took top honors with 555.35 points.
The Little Cyclones went on to win their fourth straight team title and eighth in last nine years with 372 points, outdistancing West Des Moines Dowling (319) and Bettendorf (194). Iowa City West was the top area finisher, ending up sixth with 143 points, just ahead of Iowa City High, which finished with 118.
“In the beginning, I was a little shaky and nervous,” Taylor said. “It definitely took some strength, motivation and confidence to finish it out. I did what I supposed to do and I am so happy.”
Taylor was in seventh after the first five dives and moved up as the competition went along.
“She really hit and was strong in her first five dives,” Washington Coach Megan Lewis said. “We knew she would do always do, making sure she hit on each and every dive.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better finish to my career,” Taylor said.
While Taylor’s prep career is over, the future looks bright for Iowa City West as the Women of Troy also had a pair of individual runner-up finishes.
Freshman Scarlet Martin was just edged out in the 100-yard butterfly. West Des Moines Dowling junior Berit Quass finished in 54.16, just ahead of Martin, who touched the wall in 54.21. Martin also had a third-place finish in the 200 individual medley, finishing in 2:03.33.
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Quass, who was named the meet’s most outstanding swimmer, also denied another West swimmer a title in the 500 freestyle, topping sophomore Aurora Roghair to win. Quass won in 4:50.96. Roghair’s time was 4:53.20. Roghair also finished third in the 200 free (2:03.33)
It was a rugged schedule of events for the West stars.
“I truly don’t believe I ask more of them than they ask of themselves,” West Coach Byron Butler said. “It makes my job easy. They want to swim for state championships, make junior nationals and swim (NCAA) Division I. They have that drive and it shows every day in practice.”
West’s 400 freestyle relay team of Olivia Taeger, Lily Ernst, Martin and Roghair finished third in 3:30.13 while the 200 freestyle relay team of Ella Hochstetler, Taeger, Martin and Roghair added a fifth-place finish in 1:37.24.
Iowa City High’s 200 medley relay team of Carly Weigel, Olivia Masterson, Trinity Sadecky and Rika Yahashiri took third in 1:46.52. The 200 freestyle relay team of Masterson, Weigel, Yahashiri and Sadecky took seventh in 1:38.12.
Other Gazette-area top eight finishers included: City High’s duo of Masterson (third in the 100 breaststroke 1:03.26) and Weigel (fifth the 100 freestyle in 52.56 and eighth in the 100 backstroke in 58.04) along with Vinton-Shellsburg/Union’s Arabella Shepard (tied for sixth in 100 butterfly in 57.66). In diving, Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Anna Penning was sixth and Linn-Mar’s Megan Norris was seventh.