NEWVILLE — After her first dive of the District 3 Class 2A Diving Championships, Big Spring senior Shannon McCabe promptly earned scores of 8.5 from three of the seven judges. Her total awarded score on the effort was 36.75.
On her next dive, she received two more 8.5 scores. It would be that kind of night for her final competition in her home pool.
Ahead by 1.05 points after the first round, McCabe took off from there and went on to win her first District 3 championship.
She totaled 418.75, more than 50 points better than West York’s Trinity Thomas, who finished second. McCabe said she gained momentum from the great start.
“It really boosted my confidence,” she said. “It gave me a more airy, upbeat feel, so I wasn’t down on every dive. I was more, ‘I can do this.’”
She also admitted to a little bit of nerves being the favorite coming in. In 2017, McCabe finished second to three-time district, and eventual state champ Erica Sarver of West York.
McCabe then placed second to her friend at states. With Sarver now diving at San Diego State, all eyes were on McCabe on Wednesday.
“Mostly the pressure was that I was expected to win it. That really messed with me mentally,” she said. “Now I am getting back in my groove. There was a lot of pressure to win tonight, but it was also a goal tonight because I am a senior and it was my last chance.”
Thomas and Trinity’s Erica Kenski staged a battle for second place, and the final PIAA qualifying spot for the girls. The duo flip-flopped for second place throughout the competition.
Kenski, who finished with 357.60 points, was in second after the semifinal round, but Thomas passed her on the ninth dive. Kenski led after the second-to-last dive, but Thomas scored a 44.85 on her final dive to sneak into second with 365.50.
On the boys’ side, Boiling Springs hadn’t had a district diving champion since 2002, but Jack Still made sure to change that Wednesday.
Still staged another battle with Trinity senior Riley Spahr, but managed to come out on top, scoring 405.00 points, although he avoided looking at the scoreboard for most of the meet..
“We’ve been like one point apart going into the last dive in the last three meets,” Still said of Spahr. “I didn’t really want to look and psych myself out. I thought to just detach myself from it all, and that worked out for the best.”
Although Spahr led after the first dive, Still came on strong, taking a 2.4 point lead after two.
But the fourth dive is when Still really made his move. He scored 45.60 on that effort, and suddenly led by 25.75. He followed with a score of 36.30.
“My first five dives were pretty good, a little better than I was expecting,” Still said. “I lacked a bit in my reverse-and-a-half and back-and-a-half. Luckily it didn’t hurt me that much.”
Still led after the preliminaries, while Bubblers teammate Jordan Morret took over second for awhile.
Wednesday, Feb. 21 at Big Spring High School
Spahr finished with 376.50 and Morret 339.70. All three qualified for the PIAA championships.
“Riley dove great tonight. He was on the ball,” Still said. “I am pretty excited and I am also really proud of Jordan. He did so well. Two of us at states is really great.”