Ligonier Valley’s Nick Roddy takes silver at PIAA diving championships

Friday, March 18, 2022 | 4:38 PM

LEWISBURG — Ligonier Valley senior Nick Roddy missed out on a chance to dive at the Class 2A state championships as a sophomore in 2020 as the PIAA canceled the entire Class 2A meet at the onset of the covid-19 pandemic.

Last year, as the pandemic continued to toy with winter sports, Roddy decided to forgo his junior diving season and concentrate on gymnastics.

Roddy’s return to diving this year resulted in gold at the WPIAL championships Feb. 25 at North Allegheny, and Friday afternoon at Bucknell, he produced 11 dives which resulted in a second-place silver medal with 406.45 points.

“At times, I regret not competing last year, but coming back, it all worked out really well in the end,” said Roddy, who was third after the first round of five dives and also third after the three-dive semifinals.

“I am glad to have had this one final opportunity to go for it all at WPIALs and here at states.”

Susquehannock senior Max Pflieger, runner-up at states last year at Cumberland Valley, took the title with 412.75 points.

Roddy executed a back one-and-one-half somersault with a one-and-one-half twist on his final dive. The 2.5 degree of difficulty allowed him to gain a significant amount of points and overtake Cathedral Prep senior Vincent Kloecker for second place.

“I was definitely super consistent, except for one dive, my double twist, that I screwed up a little bit. My coach always says to take it one dive at a time, and that is what I did,” Roddy said.

“That last dive is one of the ones I like a lot, but I’ve also struggled with it. But I really executed like I wanted.”

Kloecker ended third with 388.40 points, followed by 2021 champion Brandon Bush, a senior from Upper Moreland in fourth (369.10) and Boiling Spring senior Giovanni Andreoli in fifth (338.45).

Seven of the eight from the WPIAL advanced the 20-diver semifinals, and six qualified in the top 16 for the finals.

Blackhawk sophomore Brecken Finkbeiner, third overall at WPIALs, earned a sixth-place medal Friday with 333.80 points.

He was fifth overall at WPIALs last year and would’ve competed at states had the PIAA not limited the field to only district champions.

“I am really happy that covid didn’t mess with states this year and they took all of us from the WPIAL,” said Finkbeiner, who made his PIAA debut.

“I only had one bad dive, so I was really happy with that. I did what I wanted to do here. My coach was keeping score the whole time. He told me I was on the podium, but he didn’t tell me which place. He was keeping me motivated and positive the whole time. It is a great feeling to get this state medal.”

WPIAL runner-up Ryan Hartle, a sophomore from Northgate, missed a medal by seven points. He landed in ninth with 311.60 points.

Also scoring points with top-16 finishes were Derry freshman Jacob Hauser (13th, 286.75), Mars senior Kevin Butler (15th, 280.75) and Hampton freshman Pax Carslaw (16th, 275.30).

Butler also would have competed at the state championships last year had it not been for the PIAA changes. Cole O’Conner, a recent South Park graduate, represented the WPIAL last year in boys Class 2A, and he finished third overall.

Elizabeth Forward sophomore Garrett Vietmeier finished in 23rd after the first round and was eliminated.

Blackhawk sophomore Jonathan DeRose bowed out after the semifinals. The first-time state competitor scored 197.45 points and landed in 18th.

Mars female diver Kellen Fletcher, a senior, was designated a male diver to help score points for the Planets boys swimming and diving team this season.

She finished fourth at the WPIAL boys championships Feb. 25 at North Allegheny and qualified for states. But Fletcher decided not to compete at Bucknell.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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