Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Historic finishes for local divers at the state competition
By Gary R. Rasberry
The final event of the season for Todd Hertel and Luke Bonvillian ended like it has gone all season: neck and neck.
This time, though, the finish was a little different.
The Celina diving tandem finished within five points of each other at the Division II Boys State Diving Championship, giving the WaterDog program its most successful showing at the state meet.
Bonvillian edged ahead of Hertel in the final two rounds of dives to finish eighth, the highest a WaterDog diver ever placed in the state meet, with a score of 346.45. Hertel, the reigning Western Buckeye League diving champion, finished ninth with a score of 341.20.
After the prelims, Hertel was battling for a podium spot in placing 11th with a score of 156.25. Bonvillian was 15th with a 151.70 as the number of competitors was cut from 24 to 20.
"We were kind of behind and didn't have some of our best dives," said Bonvillian. "We pulled it around at the end. It was kind of nerve-racking."
"We didn't get off to the best start," said Hertel. "I guess we finished pretty well at the end, doing what we had to.
"We knew the scores were pretty close (from sixth place on). There were five that were really good at the top, but sixth was open to anyone who wanted to take it. We were pretty far back. After the second cut (from 20 to 16), we knew we had to do our best."
In the semifinals, Bonvillian jumped from 15th to 10th, raising his score to 242.80. Hertel, however, had a bit of a struggle, dropping to 13th at 238.75 as the final 16 was set.
In the last set of dives, Bonvillian made another jump, scoring 103.65 points in the finals to reach his final score and make it onto the podium. Hertel rebounded as well, scoring 102.45 on his final dives to break back into the top 10.
Both finishes bested the previous top finish for a Celina diver, that being Michael Grapner, who placed 10th at the 2003 state meet.
"The last ones, I realized I really had to buckle down and nail my dives," said Bonvillian. "We (Hertel and Bonvillian) were just pulling for each other, helping each other out.
"I was all smiles (going to the podium)," continued Bonvillian. "It was great."
"It was crazy to hear the results," said Hertel. "I wish we could have done better, but you have to be happy with where we finished."
Hosbach happy with debut
The debut of the Coldwater diving program at the Division II State Diving Championships was a fairly successful one as junior Angie Hosbach was in contention for a spot on the podium before slipping to a 12th-place finish on Wednesday morning.
"I did as well as I thought I would," said Hosbach via telephone after competition. "I thought I would finish in the middle of the pack. I dove as well as I could. I did my best."
Hosbach's finish with 317.45 points earns the first points for the AquaCav girls program in scoring five points.
"That's a really cool feeling to know that," said Hosbach. "It's cool to be part of your school's history now. Hopefully people will look back on it. I'll definitely remember it forever."
Nikki Craft of Bay Village Bay defended her state title with a score of 475.40. Shawnee's Chelsea Lucas finished second with a score of 424.10.
In the prelims, Hosbach was diving well, standing eighth with a total of 161.35, which would have earned first team All-Ohio honors and a spot on the podium.
"That was really exciting," said Hosbach. "Today was really fun and I saw a lot of talent. It was a good experience.
"The facility was awesome. The boards and everything were really nice. The people there were really nice. It was a really neat atmosphere. Very well-run."
With the first chance for state under her belt, Hosbach is ready to prepare for next year.
"Definitely," said Hosbach. "I saw some dives I definitely want to try. It's got me excited to do things in the summer and work hard for next year."
The swimming portion of the state meet gets underway Friday at 9 a.m. with Division II preliminaries. The Celina quintet of Kirsten Samples, Paige Mertz, LaRae Dorsten, Courtney McKirnan and Ashley Coon will compete, as will Coldwater's Sean Anthony.