Cadet divers challenge each other

St. Joseph High diving coach Amy Bugge is pleased with the work and results turned in by her squad this past season.

“We were still young age-wise, but we did return experienced divers,” said Bugge, a Lauralton Hall of Milford state champion, who went on to dive at West Virginia University. “Last year, we had Emma LaBash (Stratford) and Abby Weber (Milford) as divers for the first time, and both qualified as freshmen for states.”

Bugge, who has coached high school diving for 15 years, and is in her second season at St. Joseph, found another pair of diamonds in the rough this season.

“Amanda Lopez and Melonie Chicinni, both from Stratford, were both new to the sport and the team, but had strong gymnastics backgrounds.”

LaBash and Weber challenged each other.

“Emma led the way throughout, and Abby was sick and sidelined with injuries in September,” Bugge said.

“Emma claimed both the 6-dive and 11-dive school records, and then Emma returned in October and made a strong comeback. She took back her 6-dive school record (175.40).

“Emma holds the 11-dive record (284.10), and all the girls increased their degree of difficulty learning many new and difficult dives.

“Emma and Abby both qualified for states, and Amanda Lopez missed qualifying by seven points, but I believe she is going to be a strong contender next year.

“Melonie Chicinni had a solid season, as her score increased weekly. All the girls competed in the FCIAC diving championships, where Emma placed 12th overall.

“At the Class S diving meet (Nov. 6), both Emma and Abby dove well and were consistent. Each medaled, as Emma was fourth and Abby sixth.

“I’m looking forward to next year, hoping to have all four girls qualify for states and hoping to see Emma and Abby make (State) Opens and possibly All-State.”