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Eight Springin' Eagles divers advance to zones

By CHUCK LANDIS - clandis@chronicle-tribune.com

Bobby Hart’s Springin’ Eagles diving club advanced all eight of its participants in the recent USA Diving Junior Region 6 Championships to zone competition this summer.

“This was the most we ever have advanced,” Hart said Tuesday afternoon. “Last year, we took 10 and advanced seven, and this year we were eight-for-eight.”

Leading the way was Grant Cates with a runner-up finish in the 12-13 boys’ platform and two other top six finishes. Cates, 13, an Oak Hill Junior High student, also took fifth in the 12-13 boys’ three-meter and sixth in the 12-13 boys’ one-meter boards. He’ll be trying to advance to nationals for a third-consecutive summer at zones.

“Grant was competing against some awesome divers from West Virginia, and Josh Sollenberger from Fort Wayne is unbelievable,” Hart said. “I thought he did very well.”

Caiden Lake competed for the first time since winning the IHSAA state one-meter diving championship in February and finished 10th in 16-18 boys’ three-meter and 11th in 16-18 boys’ one-meter. Hart said Lake showed some rust from his extended time off.

The top 15 finishers in each event advance to the Zone C meet June 14-16 at Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, and vie for berths in the USA Diving nationals later in the summer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Other Springin’ Eagles finishers were:

Eli Gardner, 11, Marion, had the highest finish after Cates with a third in the 11-and-under boys’ one-meter diving, the only event he entered.

Abby Sneed was another standout with an eighth place finish in the 12-13 girls’ one-meter. Sneed, 12, also is a student at Sweetser Elementary.

Owen Brookshire, 15, an Oak Hill High School freshman, had a ninth place finish in the 14-15 boys’ one meter.

Vincenzo Rooker, a 16 year-old Maconaquah sophomore, finished 15th in 16-18 boys’ three-meter board.

Oliver Werling, 12, also from Sweetser Elementary, had an eighth in the 11-and-under boys’ one-meter and 11th in the 12-13 boys’ one-meter.

Porter Brovant, 16, Eastern High sophomore, placed 15th in the 16-18 boys’ one-meter.

“We had a couple miss their dives, but overall I thought everyone did well,” Hart said.

While Hart is training his divers for the next round, he also will hold an open house/free tryout for new divers from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. May 20 and 22 at the Oak Hill High pool. Reservations can be made by calling or texting Hart at 618-4036.