The friendly rivalry continued for three members of the Akron Rippers Diving Club on Wednesday night in their home pool.
Nordonia junior Stephen Romanik, Hudson junior Alex Obendorf and Lake senior Jonathon Schlafer, all close friends, separated themselves from a field of 37 divers to finish 1-2-3 in a Division I sectional diving meet at the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium.
Romanik compiled a personal-best score of 527.60 points for his 11 dives to earn the title. Obendorf, the defending Division I state champion, placed second with 509.65 points. Schlafer was third with 482.00 points.
“It is just fun,” Romanik said of having his friends in the competition.
“We try to cheer each other on as much as we can and support each other.”
Romanik, the Division I state runner-up last year, said his previous best score was 517.40 points last year.
“I feel great,” Romanik said. “The top dives that I personally feel I did well on were my reverse 2½ tuck, my inward 2½ tuck. These were dives I just got this season. I was a little nervous to throw them, but my [club] coach [Chris Medvedeff] said ‘Home pool advantage, and go big or go home.’ ”
The top 22 divers advance to the Division I district meet next week at Cleveland State University’s Busbey Natatorium.
Nordonia coach Claudio Costanzo said he was pleased with Romanik’s aggressiveness.
“We are extremely proud of Stephen,” Costanzo said. “Stephen set the school record tonight. It was his record that he beat. We were just talking about looking at the next step and taking it one step at a time, and hopefully in two weeks, he will be on top again [at the state meet at Canton’s C.T. Branin Natatorium].”
Obendorf acknowledged he was a “little discouraged” by Wednesday’s meet, but plans to bounce back in the coming weeks.
“Compared to last year, I didn’t do as well as I thought I would do,” Obendorf said. “I injured my back again this year, and I have been sick a few days recently, so that has kind of gotten in the way and put me back. I am feeling pretty good now, and I thought I dove well.”
Hudson coach Dan Miller said Obendorf’s result Wednesday is a personal best this season.
“Everything is good,” Miller said. “His best score from last year was 527.30 at this meet. For him to go 509.65 is really good for being here and the way we are structuring his list. He has the same back problems this year that he had his freshman year, so we are going easy for sectional and easy for district, and hopefully bring it on heavy at state.”
The meet started with 37 divers. Schlafer led after five dives, which was also when the field was trimmed to 25 divers. At that point, Schlafer was ahead of Obendorf by 4.3 points and Romanik by 19.4 points.
A second cut to 22 divers occurred following the eighth dive. Romanik had the lead at that point over Obendorf by 0.55 points and Schlafer by 2.75 points.
Romanik had more dives with a higher degree of difficulty at the end of his 11-dive schedule.
GlenOak senior Austin Baad finished fourth with a score of 436.80 points, and Brunswick senior Ty Talley placed fifth with 426.30 points.
Rounding out the top 10 were Canton McKinley’s Jackson Gray (398.30 points), Warren Harding’s Corey Butts (371.10 points), Perry’s Anthony Humphrey (345.55 points), Jackson’s Jeff Turner (344.20 points) and Twinsburg’s Jumal Afzal (295.05 points).
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.