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Lindenhurst's Grace Reeves breaks diving record, headed to states

Grace Reeves of Lindenhurst dives during the Suffolk

Grace Reeves of Lindenhurst dives during the Suffolk girls diving individual championships on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Stuff the bus.

Lindenhurst's Gianna Cornelia had heard the phrase before.

"At first, I had no idea what it really meant," she said. "I thought everyone was talking about hot dogs because I was hungry."

Grace Reeves, Cornelia's teammate, can explain: "We wanted a lot of girls to go upstate. Get as many girls as we can on that bus. I'm proud to say I'm one of them."

Reeves broke the county diving record set by Half Hollow Hills' Gayle Rudofsky (503.75) in 2002 by scoring a 538.40 to take first place at Friday night's Suffolk individual diving championships at Hauppauge.

Cornelia is also headed upstate for the diving meet, which is Nov. 21 at Ithaca College.

When Cornelia found out what "stuff the bus" meant, she reminded everyone to be at their best and "rip through every dive."

Huntington's Patricia Arceri took second (524.70), Sachem North's Rachel Heymach was third (509.30), Half Hollow Hills' Jessica Coffey finished fifth (477.80) and Ward Melville's Jennifer Yavid placed sixth (419.10) and are the other Suffolk divers who qualified for the state meet.

The inward dive in the second round was the big one for Cornelia, who scored an 88.75.

"At that point, I knew I was in good shape," said Cornelia, who placed fourth with a score of 491.25. "This is my third year and I'll finally make it upstate. It's a great feeling."

Reeves had that same feeling early on. Her reverse dive in the third round -- one Reeves knew she nailed -- garnered a 10. "I just wanted to place. I didn't expect any of this," Reeves said. "I'm really grateful that this is all happening."

So is Yavid.

"This entire meet, I was convinced that I wasn't going upstate," she said. "I messed up a couple of my dives early on, but I knew I still had a shot."

Yavid made her final shot, er dive, count. Her front dive straight in the 11th round was near perfect, featuring two 10s, two 9.5s and a 9. "Once I came up from the water, I had this crashing realization that I did it," Yavid said. "And I did do it."

She also helped stuff the bus.

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