Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Keck earns All-Ohio honors
By Gary R. Rasberry
The debut for Coldwater's Caleb Keck at the state diving championships was a memorable one.
The Cavaliers' freshman earned first-team All-Ohio honors by finishing fifth in the Division II championships held Wednesday at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
"It was amazing," said Keck via telephone after the competition. "I was glad I did as well as I did."
Keck was in podium position - top eight - throughout three rounds of dives (five dives first round and three each in the semifinals and finals). His score of 376.20 allowed him to edge Lexington's Evan Heath in the final dives.
"The competition today was really tough," said Keck, who credited his coach Kerry Smith for preparing him. "The nerves were a little bit crazy today. ... The energy was just really good today.
"I didn't have too many goals coming in. I just wanted to do as well as I was ranked or better (Keck was seeded seventh out of the 24-diver field). I gave it my all."
Hunting Valley University School's Noah Sterling captured the boys' title with a final score of 445.05.
Celina's duo of Chandler Kimmel and Jake Browder made it through all three rounds of the 11-dive format. Kimmel, who finished 24th last season, improved to 11th this year with a score of 326.30 while Browder settled for 16th with a score of 309.75.
"A big improvement," said Kimmel. "It was awesome. My first-round dives, I wasn't doing the best I could, but second round was my strong round. That gave me the confidence to push me through."
"I would say this meet was more important than districts, but not as nerve-wracking since I was here," said Browder. "Making that first round was rough, then it got tougher as it went on. Making it to the finals as a first-year diver was more important to me, honestly."
In the Division II girls' diving championships, both Celina divers, Olivia Schlotterer and Sawyer Weitzel, were able to advance to the finals.
Weitzel, the district champion, finished 11th with a score of 315.60, just 25 points away from earning a top-eight podium spot.
Weitzel, just a freshman, thinks that this year's experience will be an advantage as she prepares for next season.
"It will help towards next year," said Weitzel.
Schlotterer, who was battling an ankle injury suffered in sectional competition, matched her placement from last year by taking 14th with a score of 315.60, which was just under 22 points below her score from last year at state.
"It was a decent meet," said Schlotterer. "I just tried to get solid scores on each of my dives to keep me in the running. It wasn't too bad."
St. Marys' Madison Taylor was able to make it through the first round of dives to get to the semifinals, but bowed out at that level, finishing 18th with a score of 228.35.
Kettering Alter's Claire Schuerman dominated the day to capture the state title with a score of 414.35, 59.5 points ahead of runner-up Allison Brophy of Summit Country Day in Cincinnati.
The local swimmers will be competing this afternoon as preliminary heats for Division II start at 5 p.m.