North Allegheny duo earns medals at PIAA Class AAA girls diving championships

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Thursday, March 12, 2020 | 7:13 PM


North Allegheny junior Maya Ennis placed 19th two years ago in her first trip to the PIAA Class AAA diving championship at Bucknell.

She improved six spots last year and qualified for the finals.

On Thursday, Ennis, the WPIAL runner-up to Tigers teammate Christina Shi, made another big jump in her latest state-meet venture.

She totaled 431.40 points to place third overall.

“I was definitely more comfortable this time,” said Ennis, fifth after both the first round of five dives and the three dives of the semifinals.

“It’s cool to see how much better I’ve gotten throughout my high school career. Coming here with teammates was absolutely huge. Having me and Tina (Shi), Zoe (Ky) and (freshman) Will (Schenk) here together was so much fun.”

Ennis was the only North Allegheny girls diver at states the past two years, but Shi and Ky, both freshman, made their PIAA debuts.

Third through sixth place were separated by 15 points. Shi found herself in sixth after the first round and semifinals but scored 127.25 points in the final round and ticked up one spot to fifth (423.05).

“I think WPIALs was definitely more nerve-wracking,” said Shi, who battled through back issues leading up to the meet. “I wasn’t that nervous, but I definitely think I could’ve dove better than I did.”

Thursday’s meet ended up being the final competition of this year’s state swimming and diving championships. Earlier Thursday, the PIAA cancelled the Class AAA swimming consolation and championship finals and the two days of Class AA swimming and diving because of the ongoing safety measures being implemented in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

North Penn senior Meghan Wenzel, state runner-up the past two years to teammate Paige Burrell, led wire to wire and ascended to the top of the podium with a winning point total of 507.15.

Maddie Freece, another senior from North Penn, earned silver after taking fourth last year and in 2018.

Ky, 10th after the first round and 14th after the semifinals, moved up one spot to 13th place in the final standings (363.30).

North Allegheny diving co-coach Patti McClure was pleased with the way her divers performed.

“Maturity is a beautiful thing, and Maya came here wiser and ready to dive well,” McClure said. “She was focused, took one dive at a time and went for it.

“Christina is a fierce competitor. (Wednesday) was the first time she was on the board in five days. She was a little down on herself because she wasn’t perfect, but she was the fifth-best diver in the state as a freshman.

“Zoe just needs to focus on and tweak a couple of things, and she will be on that podium in no time.”

Seneca Valley senior Mackenzie Clark landed in 17th after the semifinals (261.10) and fell short of the cut to 16 for the finals by five hundredths of a point.

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

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