Canton Central Catholic senior Alex Gonzalez is a state champion in just his third year as a competitive diver.
Gonzalez won the Division II boys state 1-meter diving title Wednesday at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton with a meet-record score of 511.75 points.
Gonzalez, 18, reached the top spot on the podium as a senior after being the Division II state runner-up as a junior and finishing sixth as a sophomore.
“It is an awesome feeling to know when you set your mind to something and then you can actually make it happen,” Gonzalez said. “Last year I visited state, and I got so close to being first. I got a taste of what it is like the last two years. I worked so hard this offseason and then during the season. I just could not be happier.”
Cuyahoga Heights senior Brandon Rosolowski finished second with a score of 434.80.
“I really want to thank my diving coach, Richard Blough, for all the work he does with me,” Gonzalez said. “We really clicked from the start. I also want to thank our swimming coach, Mark Rogers. He has come into the program and done a great job.”
Gonzalez is 5-foot-2 and 130 pounds. He said he wrestled at 112 pounds and played football as a freshman, then turned to diving as a sophomore.
“He is a phenomenal young man as far as diving is concerned,” Blough said. “He has characteristics that do not come along often. He has an uncanny kinesthetic awareness. He knows where he is in the air. He never crashes. The big dives he does well, and he learns very easily.
“He came out for diving as a sophomore, and now as a senior he is miles ahead of everyone else. He is a great kid who works hard.”
Gonzalez said he is looking at possibly diving at Cleveland State University. He plans to major in either exercise science or occupational therapy in college.
“Alex came in with the No. 1 seed by a good amount of points,” Rogers said. “He set himself up well. He came in 50 or 60 points better than the nearest diver following the district meets. He threw in some dives that he doesn’t normally do [Wednesday], but he was able to do very well on most of those dives. He scored very well.”
Walsh Jesuit senior Cole Francetic finished 14th with 325.15 points.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.