CLEVELAND: After trading the lead for much of the night, Nordonia junior Stephen Romanik pulled away to earn the top placing in a Division I district diving meet held at Cleveland State University’s Busbey Natatorium on Thursday night.
Romanik and Brunswick senior Ty Talley each held the lead three times through the first six dives. Romanik’s consistency allowed him build a cushion — all 11 of his dives scored 35.2 or better — and his picture-perfect ninth and 11th dives scored 55.8 and 58.5, the two highest of the meet, slammed the door. Romanik finished the meet with a total score of 496.85.
“I felt that I did all right,” Romanik said. “I had a couple dives that were pretty good and a couple that were just average. But I was happy with how I did today and I’m really excited to get down to Canton and dive with these guys again.”
Romanik could be particularly pleased with his ninth dive, an inward 2½ tuck, which he’s only been doing in competition for a month.
“It’s kind of a new dive for me,” he said. “But I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming along. And on the last dive I was just hoping to have a good hurdle.”
Romanik said he and Talley began joking around as the two went back and forth in first and second place.
“I was watching the scoreboard, sure,” he said. “I was really happy for Ty, he had a great day. We were joking about who’s taking the lead this round, who’s taking it next round.”
Talley ended up with a total score of 459.8. He credited his strong night by being able to relax and let go of the pressure of the meet.
“It’s just all about having fun,” he said. “Take it serious and focus but not too much. I just came in with an open mind and didn’t stress or get nervous, and didn’t overthink it.”
Talley’s best dive scored a 52.8, and he had six other dives score 40 or better.
Hudson junior Alex Obendorf finished with a strong series of 40-point dives and ended up in third place with a total score of 439.95. Lake senior Jonathon Schlafer had two dives that scored 49 or better and finished in fourth with 424.6 points.
GlenOak senior Austin Baab also broke the 400-point barrier with a total score of 417.85. Like Obendorf, he finished strong to move up the board a few places and had a 50-pointer in the 10th round of dives. And Canton McKinley junior Jackson Gray wound up in sixth place with 390 points.
The top seven divers at each district meet advance to the state meet.
Walsh Jesuit sophomore Kailey Francetic continued her run to the state tournament, placing second in the girl’s district meet earlier in the day. Her score of 450.75 was good enough for second place behind Solon’s Sivan Mills (457.05). At the sectional tournament, Francetic broke a school record with a score of 462.0.
Cuyahoga Falls will send two girls to the state meet, sophomore Erika Shane and junior Nicole Rozsa. Shane finished in fourth place (401.25) and Rozsa placed seventh, the final qualifying spot, with a score of 353.1 despite not scoring on her final dive.