Sara Troyer has the special honor of being a state champion.

That achievement took place in 2018 when she was a diver for the Northridge girls swim team.

She can quickly relive that moment.

"I have a lot of pictures on my phone from that day," said Troyer. "I like to peak back and look back at them. Great memories. Some days it feels like it just happened and some days it feels like it happened a long time ago. It was a lot of fun and a good day."

Troyer is glad to have that time in her life, but she's hungry to have more success as a diver.

That's one of the reason she decided to go dive at the University of Nebraska, despite the 10-hour distance from Middlebury to Lincoln.

"I didn't want to go somewhere and be the best right from the start at that school," Troyer said. "I wanted to go up against other divers that were better than me at that school so they could push me."

It didn't take Troyer long to notice the difference between high school and college divers.

"Oh good Lord," Troyer said. "They're really good here. It's a big change. The divers in college do it year round. Not everyone does diving year round in high school. It's a big gap. It's a lot harder and more competitive in college and training is a lot harder."

When there were disappointments along the way, Troyer got plenty of support to help her stay positive.

"Teammates are great to work with and awesome leaders," Troyer said. "They gave me a lot of advice last year and helped me get comfortable. They led by example and how to go about my days. They told me it was OK when I had a tough day. That it's part of the process. You're going to have ups and downs and not have perfect days. My teammates are great friends to go to for everything."

The rough days have dwindled for Troyer, who has been a quick learner in college and adjusted nicely to being a collegiate diver. 

Last year as a freshman while competing in one and three-meter diving, Troyer had 14 top five finishes, including three wins and seven runner-up showings.

One meet that stood out for Troyer was the Big 10 Championships where she placed 11th in the three-meter dive (296.25).

"It was cool that I could compete and keep up with those really good divers," Troyer said. "I just tried to build off of that. I have high expectations for myself and I don't want to settle."

Eager to keep improving, Troyer has attacked the water with even more positive results this year. 

On Oct. 11 against South Dakota State, she came away with first place finishes in the one-meter dive (269.32) and three-meter dive (302.10).

Troyer added two more first place showings in the one-meter (281.93) and three-meter (302.63) on Oct. 12 against Northern Iowa. 

In her most recent competition on Nov. 9 against Kansas, she placed second in the one-meter (291.00) and three-meter (320.70).

"It has gone a lot smoother for me this year," Troyer admitted. "I had some nerves last year because I was new to college diving. This year I'm more confident and comfortable competing. I have a year under my belt and have a little experience and I know how things work. I just keep progressing day by day and keep getting better.

"But I haven't reached my full potential. I have high expectations for myself, but I'm pleased with how things are going so far."

Troyer can say the same about her academics, as she owns a 3.6 grade-point average majoring in Child Youth and Family Studies.

Troyer made it on the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll as a freshman.

"I maybe want to get into pre-school teaching," Troyer said.

Family has played a big role in Troyer's development as an student-athlete.

Troyer was driven to succeed by her three older brothers (Sean, Scot and Sam) and parents (Steve and Shanna), who were all gifted athletes. Steve played baseball at Northridge, Shanna played softball in college, while Sam played baseball at the University of Evansville and Sean and Scot participated in football and baseball at Northridge.

"My family always grilled that competitiveness in me," Troyer said. "We're a big sports-oriented family."

Steve and Shanna will be at the Mizzou Invite on Nov. 20.

"My parents make it out to a lot of my meets, which is awesome," Troyer said. "They see a lot of road trips." 

Home is still special to Troyer. 

"I'm close with a couple of girls on the (Northridge girls swim) team," Troyer said. "I talk to them as much as I can. They start soon with their season."

With her busy schedule, Troyer isn't able to make many trips back at home to be with her family.

"I come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas," she said. "I'm excited." 

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