Jane Riehs is a star on the diving board at Neuqua Valley, but not too long ago she was dominating in the gymnastics room. She’s the subject of our player profile, presented by Edgewood Clinical Services.
We have so many outstanding athletes in our Naperville area schools, many of them are multi-sport athletes and some even develop into state champions. But it’s pretty rare to see someone rise to the level of state champion after less than two seasons competing in the sport. But Neuqua Valley diver Jane Riehs is one of those unique athletes.
The Wildcat senior began her high school sports career with the gymnastics team as a freshman and sophomore. Riehs was immediately one of the school’s top performers, excelling in the floor exercise, vault and especially the balance beam. As a freshman in the winter of 2018, Riehs was the sectional champion and the state runner up on the beam, the first state medalist in program history.
After gymnastic related injuries began to pile up, including ten broken bones and three concussions, Riehs decided to give diving a try as a potential alternative to gymnastics. It did not take the acrobatic athlete long to find her footing on the diving board.
Bad habits and all, Riehs qualified for state in her sophomore season and finished in 2nd place at sectionals behind teammate Samantha Carlson as Neuqua Valley won the 2018 IHSA state swimming and diving championship.
After competing with the gymnastics team once again that winter and winning sectionals on the vault and the beam, Riehs retired from gymnastics to focus on diving exclusively as her passion for the sport continued to grow.
The decision paid off as Riehs qualified for state once again as a junior. At the state meet, she put up a score of 450.25 and won the ISHA diving championship. The first for the Wildcats and legendary diving coach Gerry Petit since Lauren Mikuclecky in 2010. Neuqua also won the team state title for a second straight season.
This year there are no plans for a state girls meet due to COVID, so Riehs will be unable to become the area’s second two time state diving champion alongside Naperville Central alum Sydeny Dusel, another gymnastics convert. But there are still plenty of goals the Wildcat star can achieve as she continues her ascent through her relatively new diving career.
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