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By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
It was sixth grade when Angie McKane and Brooke Terwilliger first hit the pool together.

At the time both were taking part in Corning coach Alyssa Helsing’s youth diving camp just trying to learn the basics of the sport.

On Saturday the two finished up their high school careers together. By the time things were all said and done McKane was a five-time state champion, an All-American, and a three-time Federation champion.

The Hawks senior closed out her career on Saturday as the outstanding competitor at the state meet.

Terwilliger stuck with diving and finished her career Friday as a three-time state medalist, taking second in the state this year.

“When we were in sixth grade we went to coach Helsing’s diving camp in the summer and I remember wanting to learn how to do an inward dive and a back dive,” McKane said. “Just going through that with Brooke and then having both of us branch off into our specialties and grow together. It’s a really special thing and I don’t think many people get to experience that.”

Terwilliger had been a gymnast growing up and never really even knew much about diving until that camp.

“I didn’t even know diving was a thing actually until I had an injury,” Terwilliger said. “Until I couldn’t do gymnastics anymore and my mom was like oh, you can sign up for diving. So, I tried a summer clinic and I wound up loving it and I didn’t think in my wildest dreams I’d end up here with these people and the community and all the support from everyone. It’s really awesome.”

For both athletes it’s been special going through this journey together.

“It’s been such a blast,” Terwilliger said. “I’m so thankful to be able to have a teammate as amazing as Angie. She’s always supporting everyone, cheering everyone on. She has such a good mentality of what she does. Being on a team with her is awesome.

“It’s really awesome and I know both of us are so supportive of each other. We have watched each others events. It’s just such a special thing to have, especially within a team to be able to go to states three times with the same person.”

With some programs the divers do their thing and the swimmers do theirs and they don’t always take the time to watch each other.

That’s not the way it is with Terwilliger and McKane. When Terwilliger took second in diving on Friday she had McKane right there next to her cheering her on. As McKane won the two titles Saturday it was Terwilliger who was one of the first people to congratulate her after the races.

“That’s all been them from day one,” Helsing said. “Being on modified together and moving up the ranks. I’ve been lucky enough to have them both. Even though Brooke wasn’t on varsity as an eighth grader I still had her diving with me so she started out when she was like sixth grade.

“I have known both of them since they were young and have seen them grow up together and their bond has only grown stronger through the years as they have supported each other and they re even roommates here at he state meet. I think we really emphasized the importance of support within our team, support within our section and showing kindness in the moment you are focused on what you need to do. I think they have set a high bar in their academics, their athletics and their kindness to each other and their teammates.”

For McKane it’s always been about the entire Corning swimming and diving team.

“The team is a swimming and diving team,” McKane said. “Sometimes a champion shirt will say girls swimming and I think that’s sometimes really unfair. It’s two different sports, but it’s a combined team. I really think we have to be there for each other and support each other. I think our divers and swimmers do a really good job of that, supporting each other and it was just a really good year. I’m super proud of everyone.”

Terwilliger has always enjoyed seeing McKane’s success.

“I think it’s really awesome,” she said. “I’m so proud of all her hard work and everything she has put in over the years and clearly it has paid off the last few years. I’m very proud of both of us and what we have accomplished.”

For Terwilliger it hasn’t fully sunk in yet that she’s a state runner-up and a three-time state medalist.

“I’m like speechless, I don’t know what to think,” she said. “I think it’s awesome I have been able to score that well and do that well the last few years and also improve from the previous year as well. It’s been really awesome.

“I am still waiting for it (to sink in). There is some part of me that is like I didn’t actually get second, but I did. I have to acknowledge that and be proud of what I’ve done. I’m very excited, but it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

It’s been more than just success in the pool for the Corning seniors. On Saturday both were candidates for the scholar athlete of the year award, with McKane winning. Terwilliger was also the Section IV sportsmanship award winner.

“All three of those seniors that were here today (Terwilliger, McKane and Kara Peters) are our three team captains, voted on by the team,” Helsing said. “They obviously exemplify what it looks like to be at the top of a sport, but also excelling in other areas of their life.”

For McKane it was special that both her and Terwilliger could have a weekend like this where they combined for three top two finishes in the state.

“I am so excited, I’m so happy for both of us,” McKane said. “I’m so proud of Brooke. We were both able to grow so much. We started going our sports in modified and varsity together and we’ve really been able to watch each other grow. I think diving is such a difficult sport. It’s so mentally and physically tough. It’s only one event, like in swimming there are multiple events, multiple state champions. In diving it’s just one (state champion). So for her to come in second is incredible. I’m so beyond proud and I’m so excited we were able to share this moment.”

Terwilliger has watched McKane win five state titles in her career and it was exciting to get her own chance to compete for a state title this year.

“I have watcher her the last three years placing first in one or two events,” Terwilliger said. “It’s really awesome and it’s hard to think that it’s the entire state, being able to place second in the entire state is so special and something I never thought could ever happen to me. It’s such a special moment. It’s exciting.

“I started diving so many years ago and to be able to think all the work I’ve put in. The bad days I’ve had, it all led me to this point. It’s such an amazing way to end the season and end my high school diving career in general.”

It’s not fully sunk in yet for Terwilliger that Saturday was her last high school meet with the Hawks.

“It’s sad to think I won’t be here next year, or practicing with the coaches anymore,” Terwilliger said. “Competing with them, it’s my last meet with them. It’s really, really said. It probably won’t hit until I actually leave since I’ll be practicing over the offseason.”

When you have two student-athletes like McKane and Terwilliger there is no way to replace them for the Hawks.

“There is no replacing,” Helsing said. “The bond even we have with them is so strong. There is no replacing them. We hope to continue to support our athletes and continue and grow our program, but their is no replacing the two of them.”

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