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Westminster’s O’Meara overcomes knee injury playing soccer, looks forward to state diving meet

By: Warren Mayes

Westminster sophomore diver Margo O’Meara won first place for the second consecutive year in the COMO Invitational.

Westminster Christian Academy sophomore Margo O’Meara remains one of the top divers in the state this winter.

O’Meara won first place in the recent COMO Invitational in Columbia. She won the diving competition for the second consecutive year in the 40-team meet.

“This year, I competed against about 64 girls, which was so much fun,” O’Meara said. “I love the diving facility at the Mizzou aquatic center. It is like a mini-state meet because I am competing against girls from all over the state and it is an 11-dive meet.”

O’Meara finished first with 489.05 points.

“I think last year she set the meet record with 517 points,” Westminster coach Kent Kehr said. “She won by almost 100 points, so it was definitely a strong performance.”

O’Meara won the Class 1 state diving championship last winter. Her point total would have won in Class 2 as well.

The way she is going, she could very well be on her way to claiming a second straight Class 1 state championship.

“[She’s having a] fantastic season and getting better,” Kehr said. “She came back strong after her ACL injury last spring. We just expect her to compete well in both diving and swimming. She is a fierce competitor with a great attitude and positive influence on the rest of the team.”

Besides swimming, O’Meara plays soccer. She is a forward and turned heads with her play as a freshman.

O’Meara led the Wildcats offensively last spring with 28 goals and seven assists to total 63 points. Westminster won a district championship.

The ACL injury happened in the sectional game against Summit that ended in a 4-0 loss by the Wildcats.

“I was quite deflated because I felt like I was doing so well at both sports and continually getting better,” O’Meara said. “This injury meant I was not able to compete in my U.S. National diving events this past summer, nor could I play in our ECNL [Elite Clubs National League] soccer nationals.

“Although disappointed, I was determined to come back even better than before. Right now, I feel even stronger and better than ever.”

Rehab has been going well, O’Meara said. She added that she’s had great help throughout the process.

“I have been blessed with a great doctor, an amazing therapist and trainers, and incredible, supportive coaches,” O’Meara said. “I was eager to return to diving six weeks ago. I feel great and am diving great.”

The injury put a slight stain on an otherwise outstanding freshman year. O’Meara will long remember what she did before she got hurt.

“I was so pleased with my freshman year,” she said. “Winning state diving as a freshman and being selected for first team all-state soccer was amazing. I was grateful to be able to celebrate all of this as a Westminster Wildcat in my freshman year.”

O’Meara is happy with how she is doing this year as a sophomore.

“My season has been going great. I feel that I am diving really well right now,” O’Meara said. “In my fourth meet this season, I broke my 11-dive record.”

That new point total is 583. It came against John Burroughs.

At this point, the COMO Invitational would be her biggest test this season. It’s about halfway through the girls swim season as well so it’s a good measuring stick for indicating progress made.

Margo O’Meara likes diving at the University of Missouri facility.

“COMO is definitely a meet in which I look forward to competing every year,” O’Meara said. “I look forward to it because it is a bigger meet in which many different schools around the state compete. It is like a mini-state meet because I am competing against girls from all over the state and it is an 11 dive meet.”

As the defending COMO meet diving champion, O’Meara knew what she wanted to do.

“My expectations for the meet this year was to dive consistently, keep my focus, and to make sure I do my dives as well as I can all while representing Westminster Christian Academy the best way possible,” O’Meara said. “I was happy overall with my performance but know I could have hit a few of my dives better. I try not to focus too much on the point total.

“I just want to dive consistently, while improving each time, and have fun doing it. I was happy with how I dived.”

Kehr likes having his team compete in the meet held in Columbia at the University of Missouri facility.

“COMO is a great meet for our team,” Kehr said. “For the divers, it really helps them dive on a big stage in front of judges that they might see at state. For swimmers, this pushed them to their get their best possible state qualifying time.

“We had two swimmers, including Margo, qualify for automatic state times as well as two relays.”

The automatic state qualifiers were senior Payton Dunn in the 100 fly and O’Meara in diving as well as the 50 freestyle.

“I also especially enjoyed this year’s COMO meet because I not only got to dive but also swim with my teammates and qualify for state in the 200- and 400-free relays while qualifying individually for state in the individual 50 freestyle,” O’Meara said. “Being with my Westminster teammates and cheering one another on was amazing.”

The 200-free relay team consisting of O’Meara, junior Camryn McMurry, junior Grace Skiljan and junior Lauren Zone qualified for state. The 400-free relay team consisting of McMurry, Zone, O’Meara, and Dunn also qualified.

The Wildcats will compete in the Metro League meet will be held Feb. 4-5. The state meet will be held Feb. 14-16 at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.

“I am definitely looking forward to state this year,” O’Meara said. “It was a lot of fun last year. I love to compete and it is always great to represent Westminster Christian Academy.”

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