Diving: Wesleyan, Etowah divers win state titles

Score Atlanta

Wesleyan freshman Abby Gardner capped off an undefeated season by winning the Class A-AAAAA girls one-meter diving title and Etowah junior Madison DuVall won in Class AAAAAA at the state diving championships Thursday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

The Wolves placed four divers in the top 10.

 Gardner may be following in the footsteps of former Wesleyan great Lauren Hall, who graduated in 2012. Hall won four straight individual diving championships and Gardner is one step on the way to such a feat. This, however, was the Wolves’ best-ever overall team performance.

"This is my first year that I've had all four divers get in the top 10," said diving coach Jonathan Nye. "Abby's a really special diver. She's been diving for many years and she dives year-round at Atlanta Diving Association. She has a really good work ethic. She's one of those really dedicated divers. I was hoping she would get top three as a freshman—there are some other top five divers that are really good—but to win it was great."

Fellow Wesleyan freshman Kate McCahan finished third while juniors Maggie Dryden and Taylor Panther came in sixth and ninth, respectively. Greenbrier junior Ayanna Woods, who placed fifth last year, improved to second place.

On the boys' side, Pace Academy put two divers in the top five: Moncino brothers Harrison (champion) and Owen (fifth place). Harrison has now won back-to-back state championships after finishing runner-up as a freshman. Owen has turned in consecutive fifth-place performances.

"I think the whole team did great," Pace diving coach Jim Ebert explained. "The competition overall was tougher this year, so for Owen to maintain his fifth-place position means he dove really well. I'm very proud of both of them. They're good kids, great divers and a lot of fun to have."

"It feels amazing right now," Harrison assured. "I'm overjoyed to be two-time state champion. I was kind of expecting it, but this year I had a little bit of competition because a couple of my (club) teammates dove and they did great. I'm hoping for a three-peat next year and also a four-time all-American."

DuVall was the top returning underclassman from last year’s Class AAAAAA meet in which she finished third. DuVall lived up to expectations and captured the title on Thursday. In the boys’ event, Norcross sophomore Griffin Ramsey took home top individual honors.

Ramsey finished fifth last year and this time overcame three divers who had topped him in 2013. Defending champion and Parkview senior Ben Warren finished runner-up. Campbell put two divers in the top 10 (David Bullock in third and Dalton Isley in ninth) to take the points lead going into the swimming portion of the competition.