Abby Weber top diver
One of the toughest skills to master in athletic competition is the fearless approach it takes to excel in diving, as a combination of athleticism, body control, a well-coordinated routine, and nerves of steel are required.
The St. Joseph High swim and diving team saw two bright stars emerge this season in a pair of freshman new to the sport.
First-year Cadets’ diving coach Amy Bugge was hard at work putting the girls through their paces and the former 12-year coach at Lauralton Hall and All-American diver knew she had the makings of two very special divers in Abby Weber of Milford and Emma Labash of Stratford.
“I actually had Abby as a student in first and second grade at Mathewson School,” Bugge said. “It’s so much fun being able to coach a former student. Abby has a strong dance background and that kind of agility has helped her in the transition to diving.
“Both of her parents are St. Joseph graduates, so there is plenty support. She has had an amazing year and finished in the top three in all of the dual meets.”
What Weber accomplished was breaking the St. Joseph school record of 170.1 in the 6-dive event set in the mid 1990s. The freshman racked up a score of 171.3 to set the new mark.
Labash also came to St. Joseph with a strong Cadet background, as her mother was a cheerleader for the Red and Gold.
“Emma is a gymnast which helped her to have an outstanding season, as well,” Bugge said.
“As a freshman, she qualified for both the states and the FCIAC, along with Abby. Emma has continually put up scores ranging from 140 to 165.
“She too is very close at breaking the school record.”
The star-studded freshmen were a bit nervous going into the FCIAC championship, as Weber finished 21st and Labash placed 17th.
But the postseason nerves were short-lived. Weber and Labash were the only two freshmen to qualify for the Class S championship meet, where the young phenoms certainly left their mark.
Weber turned in another record-breaking performance, setting the St. Joseph school record in an 11-dive event by scoring a 290 to finish fourth and take home a medal.
Labash missed the medal stand by 1.3 points, as she finished seventh after scoring a 265.50.
“They were both a little nervous going into their first 11-dive event at the FCIAC championship,” Bugge said.
“But they really came on in the Class S championship.Abby now holds the school records in the 6-dive and 11-dive events.
“They both seemed a little more relaxed and comfortable and it certainly showed in their performance.
“They support one another and are just a pleasure to coach. They are good kids and are off to a great career at St. Joseph after such a successful first season.”