Albert Lea graduate qualifies for Zone E championships

Published 1:56am Tuesday, February 18, 2014

After finishing in second place at state her senior year of high school, it didn’t take long for Karli Kriewall to excel at the college level.

Kriewall, a 2013 graduate of Albert Lea High School, just wrapped up her first season diving at Boise State University. Against Denver, she qualified for the Zone E Diving Championships at the Air Force Academy March 13 to 15. Qualifying for the championships was a feat for the freshman.

“It was our last home meet, and my parents were there and my coach came over and said, ‘You qualified,’” Kriewall said. “I was really excited.”

Boise State finished first, second and third against Denver. Three of Kriewall’s teammates will join her at the Zone E championships. Qualifications were based on scores throughout the season. Qualifying is based on benchmarks for 1-meter, 3-meter and platform dive, but divers who qualify for one event can participate in all of them at zones.

“I am super proud of Karli,” Boise State diving coach John Lynch said in a release. “She went a personal best by miles and got her zone score.”

Kriewall and the rest of the Boise State swimming and diving team will compete at the Mountain West Championships Wednesday through Saturday in San Antonio, Texas. She said her coaches and teammates have helped keep the nerves down during her first postseason.

“We do tons of repetitions of our dives each day, so I feel pretty consistent going into the conference meet and zones,” Kriewall said. “But my coach told me to not put so much pressure on myself and go out and dive like I do in practice. It was nice to hear that, just to make it seem a little less important.”

Important dives in the postseason are in Kriewall’s future. Before last year, Boise State captured the conference crown three years in a row.

“Our team is really looking to get the title again this year,” she said.

Kriewall was a four-year letterwinner at Albert Lea. She competed in the state tournament three times, was Big Nine All-Conference four years and All-State three years. She was one of the captains of the Tigers during her senior season. Though she found a lot of success in high school, Division I sports are a different animal.

“It’s a little more strenuous,” Kriewall said with a laugh. “I have weights three days a week, and I have dry-land practice two days a week. I practice on Saturdays and Sundays, and I also have class. It’s just a lot more in depth.”

Diving at a Division I level came onto Kriewall’s radar when she was a sophomore, though it was always a goal to follow in her father Todd’s footsteps, who was a Division I wrestler at the University of Iowa. She also attended diving camps in the offseason to further her skill.

“Him telling stories about how hard he worked, how he got there and how it was the best time of his life, that kind of intrigued me,” Kriewall said. “Going into sophomore year I was like, ‘OK, you need to buckle down, and we’re going Division I,’ then I told my mom and dad I was going to these camps and putting in more hours. From there on out I had that motivation, and that really helped me throughout high school.”

When it came time to pick a school, the choices were Boise State University and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. After a visit to Boise, Idaho, she canceled her trip to Green Bay, Wis., and decided to be a Bronco.

“I came here and the team atmosphere was awesome,” she said. “And seeing all the success that they’ve had — like winning conference championships — everything just seemed like the perfect fit. I went on one visit and I knew it was the place for me.”