Nick Cappella made a triumphant return and Abigail O'Leary delivered a smashing debut at the York-Adams League Diving Championships on Tuesday night.
Cappella, a senior at Central York, won the boys' title after not diving in his junior year. He finished second in the diving championships when he was a sophomore.
O'Leary, meanwhile, who's a freshman at Northeastern, captured the girls' crown in her very first try.
She earned 418 points on her 11 dives and Cappella recorded 356.25 points.
Cappella, who focused solely on swimming in his junior year, closed out his career in his home pool with a gold-medal performance.
"It's still hard to come to terms (with it) because it was really very close at the end," said Cappella, who finished 9.55 points ahead of silver medalist Izaiah Bosse of South Western. "I really had to pull it out, and a lot of hard work paid off."
Cappella, who will enroll at Clarion University next fall to major in nursing, said his forward 2 1/2, reverse 1 1/2 and back 1 1/2 with a half twist were his strongest dives.
"I knew I had to remember everything I practiced, and do them (the dives) just like it's a regular practice," he said.
Cappella placed right behind former teammate Garrett Sommer when he was a sophomore. Sommer, captured two York-Adams diving crowns.
"He (Sommer) was a great teammate," Cappella said. "He was always pushing me to do newer, harder dives."
While Cappella is in the final stages of his high school career, O'Leary is just beginning her career. A former gymnast, O'Leary held off the challenge of West York junior Trinity Thomas to gain the top spot on the awards podium. Thomas is a gymnast for the U.S. national team.
"I knew that Trinity is very talented," O'Leary said. "I had a feeling that she was going to win. It was a struggle, but I pulled it out."
Thomas earned the silver medal with 342 points and West York teammate Maya Sarver earned 311.55 points for third. Central's Kirsten Taylor (307.75 points) and Dover's Lexi Lippert (301.60 points) also broke the 300 barrier.
On the guys' side, Dover's Jud Pequignot eclipsed the 300-point mark with 315.95 points.
O'Leary credited the support she received from teammates and coaches for helping her achieve the victory.
"It's awesome to win the title because I'm a freshman, and I came from gymnastics," she said. "I've been diving for about three years and I did gymnastics for seven years before that."
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