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Villa Maria diver Riley Miller is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

The Villa Maria Academy junior, who finished third at the PIAA District 1 2A Diving Championships, and has qualified for States, is having the best season by a Hurricane diver in nearly a decade. During the dual-meet season, she won every competition with exception of two second-place finishes. She has placed in the top five at Districts each of the last three years. Miller’s coaches have lauded the VMA junior for her selfless and positive team leadership. In the spring, she is an outfielder for the Villa Maria softball team.

Q: What was your most memorable moment during your diving competition at Districts? What was the key to your success that day?

A: I was fortunate to attend the district championship with two other divers competing from my school. For me, this was the most memorable part of the competition because it is a totally different environment, when my teammates and I can support each other throughout the competition. I believe that the key to my success at the meet was staying warm. It’s a very long meet, so it’s important to make sure you stay loose and are prepared for your next dive.

Q: What (in your opinion) has been your best dive so far this season? What was the key to your performance on that dive?

A: I think my best and most consistent dive this season has been my inward dive pike. It’s important to take your time and not rush on the board so that the dive can have a nice, high top.

Q: How do you adjust to different boards, and how important is it to get practice in at different sites?

A: At the start of every away meet, I make sure to just jump on the board a few times to feel if it seems more bouncy or stiff than I am used to. It’s important to practice on different boards so that you can be prepared for meets. When I practice at West Chester University, I make sure to alternate between boards so that I do not become too dependent on one board over another.

Q: You started your diving career as a freshman, after a successful gymnastics career. What sparked your original interest in diving?

A: Once I finished gymnastics, I knew that I wanted to carry what I learned in the sport to other activities in the future, so when I was introduced to Mr. Steve Curlee, Villa’s diving coach, I figured that diving would be a great way to do that.

Q: Have you ever felt that you hit a perfect dive? Was it in competition or just practicing?

A: I don’t feel like I’ve ever perfectly performed a dive. I’ve definitely had dives where I felt that I did the best I could on them, but there is definitely always room to improve every dive.

Q: What are your best dives, in order?

A: I would say my best dives are inward dive pike, front double tuck, and back somersault 1 ½ twists free.

Q: What’s the coolest place you’ve ever dove from?

A: When I visited Hawaii with my family, we went cliff diving in a forest. It was really cool to be able to flip off of the rocks while on vacation.

Q: Tell us a little about your pre-meet preparation the day of a meet.

A: Before a meet, I make sure I stay relaxed and ready for the competition. I like to listen to music and eat a good meal before the meet.

Q: Take us through a typical workout session, both in the pool and in the weight room.

A: During the school season, I typically four days a week, with dryland before my club practices.

Q: What aspect of your diving have you been working on the most recently? Who have been your biggest diving mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: Recently, I have been working a lot on my boardwork and approaches for all of my dives, and I hope to improve my dive list in the off season for next year. One of my biggest diving mentors is my school coach, Steve Curlee. He introduced me to the sport and taught me my first dive. After spending three seasons with him, Mr. Curlee and I have grown close, and I look up to him as a role model. In addition, my coaches at West Chester Diving, Ron Jenkins and Thomas Gallagher, have helped me further develop my dive list, especially in the off-season.

Q: What is your favorite academic course at Villa Maria? What do you think you would like to major in at college? Is there a particular career path that interests you at the present time?

A: My favorite courses at Villa are AP Biology and Honors PreCalculus. I hope to study science in college, possibly majoring in biology, and I am interested in a career in the healthcare field.

Q: Do you participate in any extracurricular non-sports activities at Villa Maria? What sparked your interest in these activities?

A: I am an assistant editor of Villa’s yearbook Reflections, where I enjoy taking pictures and designing pages. In addition, I am a member of Student Council because I enjoy being involved in different events going on at school.

Fun facts – Riley Miller

Favorite TV show: Riverdale.

Favorite movie: Stick It.

Favorite athlete: Carson Wentz.

Favorite pre-meet pump-up song: “God’s Plan” by Drake.

Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Favorite place to visit: Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Favorite color: Blue.

Family members: parents Janet and Dan, sister Dylan, brother Cole.

(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)

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