Fox Chapel’s David Manelis set to defend his WPIAL diving title

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Saturday, February 13, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Fox Chapel senior diver David Manelis ran away with the WPIAL Class AAA diving title last season when he beat out the rest of his competitors by more than 100 points.

Now, in his final varsity season, Manelis is up to his old tricks and looking to take it one step further.

“I would say I’m pretty motivated, and I would say I’m pretty excited for that championship,” Manelis said about bringing home a state title this year. “It is at a different place now (Cumberland Valley), so I’m pretty excited for that. I think I’m going to put my hard dives in for that meet. I’m definitely a little motivated after how last year went.”

Last season, before the coronavirus pandemic canceled a majority of the state championship, Manelis placed third with a 472.55 score, which was 79.55 points behind first-place finisher Brendan McCourt from District 11’s Emmaus.

Manelis has been just as good during his senior season though. On Dec. 12, Manelis scored 336.40 at Fox Chapel’s meet with Woodland Hills. His score was 47.1 points higher than the next best mark in the WPIAL this season.

Penn-Trafford senior Xander Lentz scored 289.30 during a meet Jan. 28. Lentz placed seventh at WPIALs last year.

So far this season, Manelis said it hasn’t been too difficult adjusting to the ups and downs of the season with the multiple starts and stops the coronavirus pandemic has caused. But as the postseason approaches, Manelis said he feels he could improve his score even more.

“I’ve just been trying to focus on hitting my easier dives and working on technique and stuff like that versus trying to throw really big hard dives,” Manelis said. “I’ve just been taking it a little easier right now.”

Manelis said there are still a few things he wants to work on. But, for the most part, he said he just wants to be able to focus on his technique and perfecting all of his dives in order to improve his score.

“Just doing every dive perfectly would improve the score because the past few weeks I know I haven’t been hitting the dives exactly how I want to hit them,” Manelis said. “I definitely know I can do better.”

Manelis has been one of the top divers in the WPIAL since he was a freshman. He placed third in the WPIAL during his first varsity season with a score of 501.80. Then, as a sophomore, Manelis finished fourth, before winning his first title as a junior last season.

The Fox Chapel diver said he’s grown a lot during his high school career but his approach to diving and his maturity has definitely helped him improve significantly.

“I’ve definitely progressed and matured with my diving over the past four years,” Manelis said. “I definitely have a better understanding of my capabilities now than I did when I was a freshman. The past four years have really just matured my whole diving approach.”

During his freshman and sophomore seasons, Manelis had the opportunity to dive with and learn from Jonah Cagley, who won as a sophomore, junior and senior. Manelis said he was able to learn a lot from Cagley during those two years with him.

“I was able to learn how to be a senior and how to help freshmen or underclassmen,” Manelis said. “I was able to learn a little more about confidence and how to approach certain situations.”

Manelis will look to defend his title March 7 at the WPIAL Class AAA championship meet at North Allegheny.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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