Any hopes of an easy followup to her state-championship season quickly disappeared for Lawrence High diver Brandy Bruno over the past two meets.
After winning two early meets, Bruno finished second to Olathe South's Michelle Rojohn at the Olathe Invitational back on April 4. Three days later, she was second behind teammate Keri Dobbins at Shawnee Mission East.
Life's tough, if not lonely, at the top.
"Everyone's saying, `Oh, she won it as a junior,''' Bruno said. "Now I'm a senior. I don't want to disappoint anyone if I don't win."
After the wake-up call, Bruno introduced a new dive a reverse, one sommersault, 1 twist on Wednesday at the LHS pool. With it, Bruno scored 237.85 points, which would have easily won her first place.
BUT SHE WAS competing in exhibition only, and teammate Carter Moeser won the diving.
The Lions, meanwhile, remained undefeated by winning the quadrangular, their final home meet. LHS won seven individual events, went 1-2 in two relays and 1-3 in the other relay to score 485 points. Topeka West was second with 386 points, Leavenworth was third with 289 and Topeka Seaman scored 145 points.
"This wasn't a very strong lineup for us," LHS coach Pat Grzenda said. "We had a number of girls that didn't go the maximum number of events. Still, this shows we're pretty deep."
At state, the Lions will be at least four deep in diving. Bruno, Dobbins, Moeser and Casse Jones have qualified, and Keri Stoner has come close to qualification.
"WE'VE GOTTEN so much stronger since my freshman year," said Moeser, a four-year state qualifier. "My freshman year, I took a leadership role. My sophomore year, there was a senior on the team that everyone respected, but I was one of the forerunners.
"Last year, it was really competitive and I became more team-oriented. This year, I try to be a leader becuase I'm a captain, but I know I'll be down in the places. I've thought a lot about it. I know where I stand."
Grzenda said she doesn't know where the team stands since it has been weakened by illness.
"It comes back to the fact that we could be a really great team if we stay healthy," Grzenda said. "If we can't turn it around, we'll be in trouble. We've had a couple of kids out for four days, a couple out for a week. Some have gotten it past them. We need them all to be together some day. Maybe we're headed that direction."
The Lions will head Saturday to Kansas City, Mo., Central for the MoKan Invitational.