NEWVILLE — One would think that there was a ton of pressure on West York's Erica Sarver during Wednesday's District 3 Class 2-A Diving Championships.
First, Sarver was chasing a bit of history as the two-time defending District 3 champion.
Second, the points that diving will bring to the District 3 Girls' Swimming and Diving Championship team score may well decide if the Bulldogs claim the district team title.
None of that mattered to Sarver, however. A veteran of high-level competition, Sarver refused to let anything break her concentration en route to winning the title Wednesday evening at Big Spring High School.
True to form, Sarver again dominated the field. The San Diego State recruit cruised to a third gold medal after finishing the 11-dive competition with a score of 428.05. Sarver bested runner-up Shannon McCabe of Big Spring, who totaled 389.80, by nearly 30 points.
In the boys' competition, Dover freshman Jud Pequignot just missed out on a state berth after finishing fourth with a score of 291.60.
“I felt a little bit of pressure, but I was pretty much calm for everything," Sarver said. "I knew that my team relies on me to get them points and I didn't want to let them down. So I just stayed relaxed like I usually do.”
Leading from start to finish: Sarver led from start to finish against six other divers. While the lead was a bit closer through the first eight dives, Sarver started to gain separation late when she went to higher-difficulty dives, while McCabe's dives weren't as hard.
“My first five (dives) were OK," she said. "My front double was sort of my down and, after I have a down dive, I just try to kick it into gear and just try to do the best that I can. That's when I get the most motivation ... when I do a down dive.”
Sarver stretched a 20-point lead after eight dives to her nearly 30-point margin of victory.
Now Sarver will prepare for the PIAA meet next month. She's hoping to end her career with a top-three finish state finish.
Knowing that her career at West York is quickly coming to end, Sarver admitted feeling a bit emotional about her final District 3 meet.
“It's bittersweet," she said. "But I still have four more years left (at college). I know that college diving is a lot different than high school diving, but I'm just happy that I could end with a win.”
Young Dover diver gets experience: Pequignot is hoping the experience that he gained Wednesday will help him next season. He was in fifth place for much of the night before rallying to earn the No. 4 spot over his final three dives.
“I think I did a lot better than I thought I would," he said. "I came a long way for sure.”
Pequignot struck up a friendship with Trinity's Riley Spahr as the night progressed. Spahr finished second to claim one of the three state berths.
“We were talking a lot," Pequignot said. "He's a really good diver.”
Dillon Novak of Big Spring won the boys' competition with ease. Novak bettered Spahr by over 130 points en route to his first District 3 title.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.