The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

February 22, 2014

Danville duo goes 1-2 in District 4 diving championships

BLOOMSBURG — Mark Arcuri had aspirations of a one-two finish for his Danville divers heading into Saturday’s District 4 competition. Little did the Ironmen coach realize he would have to wait until the final dive of the day’s competition.

It was worth the wait.

Nick Kapp and Joe Gentilucci finished one-two, respectively, for the Ironmen to qualify for the state meet at Bucknell University next month, while qualifying on the girls’ side of the competition was Bloomsburg’s Shannon Laubach.

“I knew they had a shot of finishing in the top two positions, but I also was aware that there were plenty of good divers from throughout the district and execution would be the key to their success,” Arcuri said. “It was nerve wracking waiting until the very last dive, and I was aware that Sayre’s (Juan) Velazquez was quite capable of hitting a big dive and possibly moving up in the standings because he had a big second round to put himself into position to move on to the state meet.”

Kapp went into the third round of dives ahead of his teammate 272.50-261.30, lurking in third place was Velazquez with 246.50 points.

“I knew it was a possibility that Joe (Gentilucci) and myself could both qualify but in order for that to happen we both had to hit our most difficult dives in the final round,” Kapp, who finished fourth last year as a sophomore, said. “We both had our eye on the diver from Sayre and knew he was capable of making a big move. It would come down to execution in our inward doubles and we had to come through to maintain our place in the standings.”

Kapp held his part of the bargain and claimed first place with 370.20 points while junior teammate Gentilucci grabbed the silver medal with 363.05 points. Vaszquez, after a less-than-impressive finale, grabbed the bronze with 330.60.

“It feels real good to advance to ‘The Big Show’ at Bucknell and all the hard work paid off,” Gentilucci said. “From the end of the first round right on through the final dive, I had my eye on Velazquez and saw he was very good and moving up in the standings.”

Lewisburg’s Erik Temple placed fourth with 301.70 points and Danville’s Gage Reber placed eighth (268.25).

Shamokin High School’s Jon Koons made the biggest improvement from the second to third round, jumping from 11th place after two rounds of dives to collect 19.1 points to just missing out on a sixth-place medal; he finished seventh with 270.25 points.

Ian Seasholtz (245.05) and Will Taylor (244.50) were 12th and 13th respectively, in the standings for the Green Dragons.

Lewisburg freshman Bailee Dryoff led the girls’ field after one round but fell victim to a hot Bloomsburg High School tandem and her own overall inexperience to finish fourth.

“I felt really good after the first round and my confidence was high,” Dryoff said. “But, I failed to complete the requirements of one of my dives in the second round and that really hurt my chances of winning the title and qualifying for the state meet.

“My goals are to work harder and be better prepared for the competition and try to make it into the top two.”

Kathyrn Faust of Shamokin made a good impression on her coach, and perhaps the rest of the field, in her first year of competing as a diver, as she earned a fifth-place medal.

“I don’t know what to say other than it feels awesome,” Faust said. “Once you get that first dive over with, it becomes a bit easier, but you never stop being nervous.”

Teammates Evelyn Madrak (185.50) and Caitlyn Pope (164.15) rounded out the top 10 finishers.

“To come out as a sophomore with no experience and earn a medal is something to be proud about,” Indians coach Rich Kashnoski said. “She’ll improve with time and experience. But this is a good start.”

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