North Allegheny girls, Fox Chapel’s Manelis dominate at WPIAL diving championships

Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 7:47 PM

Going into the 31-diver girls event at the WPIAL Class AAA diving championships Saturday, the host North Allegheny Tigers had the top three seeds: freshman Zoe Ky first, junior Maya Ennis second and freshman Christina Shi third.

When the dust settled, the order had reversed, but the Tigers still dominated the event.

Shi won gold, Ennis earned silver for the second straight year and Ky took bronze. It is the first time in WPIAL history a team has swept the medals at the diving championships.

On the boys side, the top seed, Fox Chapel junior David Manelis, won by a little more than 100 points.

The outcomes were never really in doubt.

Shi led the entire way, and, in fact, did not even need to dive an 11th time to win a championship. The freshman finished with a school record 531.30 points, thanks in large part to five dives of 50-plus points.

Her best was her 11th, which earned 57.60 points. The gold medal for Shi ended a 24-year drought for the Tigers in the diving championships.

“I’ve been watching this meet for so long. I started coming to this event and watching my teammates dive since I was in like sixth grade,” Shi said. “Last year, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s going to be me next year,’ so this is crazy.”

Shi was not aware her score was a school record, but knew she didn’t need the last dive.

“I knew going into that, but in the warmups, I was so nervous,” Shi said. “Once I settled in with the first few dives though, I was all right.”

Ennis scored 473.65 points for second, and Ky finished with 457.85 points for the bronze. Joining the three Tiger divers at the PIAA championships will be Seneca Valley’s MacKenzie Clark and Bethel Park’s Sadie Coda, who scored 452.95 and 401.40 points, respectively.

Manelis didn’t lead the boys event from the get go, but 40-plus-point dives in Rounds 2 and 3, along with a 61.10-point dive on his fourth attempt, put him ahead for good. He also did not need his final dive after posting a 58.80 on his 10th.

Manelis just missed the medal spots last year and was the state runner-up. Now he has gold.

“I felt like I had one or two rough spots at the very beginning, but it got better,” he said. “It feels good, though. Overall, I had a really good performance.”

In terms of what he is going to do differently at the state championships, Manelis said he wants to score higher and hit a few of his dives better.

“This year, I plan on having harder dives,” he said. “I’ve got some dives that just need touched up a bit.”

He’ll be joined at Bucknell by runner-up Trevor Elliot of Seneca Valley (424.45 points), bronze medalist Will Schenk of North Allegheny (418.30), Franklin Regional’s Carson Yohe (399.00) and Seneca Valley’s Matthew Laslavic (391.60). Laslavic edged out Peters Township’s Garrett Buzzelli (389.55) for the final state-qualifying spot.

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