TOWAMENCIN >> Back two and a half, gainer two and a half…
One dive after another, North Penn’s Bryce Hoch was spinning towards a second straight district title with gusto.
“This is probably the best meet I’ve ever had,” the Knights’ senior said. “I hit every dive, and enjoyed every dive that I did.”
So did the home crowd at the Rick Carroll Natatorium, as the cheers grew to thunderous by the time Hoch’s 11th and final plunge brought his point total to 559.75, allowing him to squeeze past Abington’s Sam Henninger for a well-earned second consecutive District One Class AAA Gold.
“(Experience) played in a lot,” Hoch said. “Over the years I learned to do a dive and move on. If you hang on to it for too long it can really mess with your performance.”
That certainly didn’t happen on this evening, as Hoch racked up 175 points with his ninth, 10th and 11 dives to rally past Henninger for top honors.
Making it particularly satisfying for Hoch was that the entire repertoire was on display, including the gainer two and a half — something he was striving to perfect — as well as the back two and a half.
“I really pulled through with those,” he said with a smile afterwards.
Hoch’s heroics led an overwhelming performance by North Penn, which placed four divers in the top 13. Fellow senior Ian Boland Bintner was fourth with a 518.50, Matthew Krise, also a senior, was 10th with a 426.30, and sophomore Evan Meiers placed 13th with a 405.20.
The Knights compiled 46 points in the diving event, giving them a nice head start heading to La Salle University next week for the swim portion.
Hoch and Boland Bintner already know they’ll be packing for Bucknell.
“I’m really excited for it, especially since it’s my last time,” Boland Bintner said. “I dove well last year there so I’m really looking forward to this one.”
Also earning a medal Friday night was Souderton’s Wesley Ahart, eighth with a 463.40.
Henninger led by 22 points after semis, but the finals would feature the best of Bryce Hoch.
Said the senior: “I’m hoping I can have a performance like this again at states.”
Henninger improved from a bronze medal last year to a silver one this time around. His double twister served as a fitting finale, boosting his point total to 553.05.
“Everyone did their best — Bryce had a really good meet,” the sophomore said happily. “Bryce deserves it. Everyone did great.”
The girls will be on the boards Saturday morning for a 10:30 start at North Penn.
District One Diving Championships
At North Penn
Bryce Hoch (NP) 559.75; 2. Sam Henninger (Ab) 553.05; 3. Bayne Bennett (Q) 519.90; 4. Ian Boland Bintner (NP) 518.50; 5. Will Canny (Hav) 470.20; 6. Alec Pirone (WCR) 469.20; 7. Matthew Werner (Cheltenham) 464.95; 8. Wesley Ahart (Souderton) 463.40; 9. Steve Szathmary (Hav) 436.25; 10. Matthew Krise (NP) 426.30; 11. Matthew Humbert (Pennsbury) 426.0; 12. Angelo Iapalucci (CR North) 408.10; 13. Evan Meiers (NP) 405.20; 14. Devin Gaul (Conestoga) 394.05; 15. Emil Vasko (West Chester East) 383.60; 16. Mason Beck (Ridley) 370.30.
Michael Robinson (Bishop Shanahan) 290.20; 2. Michael Watanabe (Lower Moreland) 268.75.
Top Photo: Bryce Hoch competes for North Penn at the District 1 Boys Diving Championships at North Penn High School on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)