Fossell in 3rd place after semifinals

MINNEAPOLIS — With three years of State Meet experience under her belt, Mesabi East’s Kailey Fossell was quite comfortable Thursday.

Fossell’s confidence showed with a string of strong dives, which left her sitting in third place after the semifinals at the Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in the U of M Campus. She ended the semis with 282.90 points, which is less than five points behind the leader.

“She dove very, very well and is having a fantastic meet,’’ Giants head coach Jon Isaacson said in a telephone interview. “She hit every dive she did. We’re looking forward to Saturday.’’

Isaacson added that diving coach Dave Setnicker has done a real good job with junior Fossell, who didn’t panic at all while completing her dives — five in the preliminaries and three in the semifinals. At least part of that came from being in the finals as a freshman and advancing to state as a sophomore.

Also helping her succeed was changing the order of her dives from the Section 7A Meet, which she won.

She now has to complete just a trio of dives Saturday, with a state title within her reach.

“She’s got 3 good dives left for the finals,’’ Isaacson said.

Rocori’s Olivia Motter is currently in first place with 287.20 points, while Winona’s Issara Schmidt is in second at 283.80.

Motter also led after the prelims with 186.35 points, while Fossell was in second at 180.90. Schmidt was in ninth at 166.20.

Virginia junior Helen Phenning was in 31st after the prelims with 101.85 points and did not advance into the semifinals.

The diving and swimming finals will be held at 12 p.m. Saturday. The swimming preliminaries will be held at 12 p.m. today.

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