CANTON: Hudson sophomore Alex Obendorf saved his best dive for last Thursday at C.T. Branin Natatorium.
Facing a deficit in the Division I state boys 1-meter diving championship meet, Obendorf clinched the state title with a spectacular 11th dive, an inward 2½ tuck, to jump in front of Nordonia sophomore Stephen Romanik and narrowly edge his friend.
“I feel pretty good,” Obendorf said. “I was a little shaky and nervous that I wouldn’t have a chance through 10 dives. Then with that 11th dive, I was like this is my last shot, so I knew I had to give it my all.”
Obendorf finished with a score of 510.65 points. Romanik placed second with 507.25 points and Lake junior Jon Schlafer was third with 476.30 points.
“I am just really happy to be in the top three,” Romanik said. “The guys I have been competing against are awesome. We have been competing against each other for a while and we really know each other’s strong suits.
“I am really happy for Alex.”
Romanik was ahead of Obendorf 452.65 to 450.20 going into the 11th dive.
“To my knowledge, that is the best I recall seeing Alex do that dive,” Hudson coach Dan Miller said. “The way we designed his list was he had an inward double in the 10th round. He did a great double. I was expecting big things. He needed to keep 6.0 to 6.5 from the judges on that last dive, and that is basically what he got. He got exactly what he needed to get to win. That is the best he has ever done on that dive and we will take it. It came at a great time.”
Obendorf said he remained confident when Romanik held the lead.
“I was really happy with my inward 2½ tuck,” Obendorf said. “I was a little shaky in warm-ups, so I wasn’t sure that it would go as well as it did, which it went really good. Also, my reverse 2½, I was really happy with that, too.”
Obendorf, Romanik and Schlafer are all friends and train with Chris Medvedeff and Kristin Dodson at the Akron Rippers Diving Club, which is based at the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium.
“It is really cool to go 1-2-3,” Schlafer said. “I am really happy. I wasn’t expecting to be third at all, so I am just ecstatic. I just want to keep improving my score. That is all I can ask for. I came in here today to do my best and I feel like I did the best I could.”
Dublin Jerome sophomore Grant Saale (474.20 points) and Worthington Kilbourne senior Hunter Atha (468.15 points) took fourth and fifth, respectively.
GlenOak junior Austin Baad finished ninth with 429.45 points and Brunswick junior Ty Talley was 13th with 406.25 points.
The competition started with 24 divers. Romanik led following the first cut to 20 divers after five rounds and led after the second cut to 16 divers following eight rounds.
“I just wanted to stay consistent with my dives and do as well as I could with them,” Romanik said. “I thought I did really well with my reverse 2½ tuck. I also was happy with my front 1½ with two twists and my last dive, my reverse 1½ with 1½ twists.”
Obendorf was second when both cuts took place.
“We know he might be behind going into those final dives, but that is why we put those higher-scoring dives on the back end of his list so he can come back,” Miller said. “He knows that if he is behind he doesn’t have to worry or get anxious or nervous because he has his best three dives in the finals and even if he is a little bit behind he knows he is good to go.”
Obendorf trailed Romanik by exactly 21 points going into the final three dives Thursday. Miller said he was 23 points behind going into the final three dives at the sectional meet.
“When you are up there, you just think about the dive and do what you normally do in practice,” Obendorf said. “I thought it was a pretty good dive and that I could seal the win.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/.