North Allegheny’s Christina Shi captures 2nd straight PIAA diving championship
Thursday, March 17, 2022 | 6:13 PM
LEWISBURG — The PIAA Class 3A girls diving championship meet went down to the wire Thursday afternoon, and the pressure was on Christina Shi as she attempted to win her second straight state title.
But the North Allegheny junior was more than up to the task.
Leading by seven points heading into the 11th and final dive of the competition, Shi scored 40.80 points on a 2.4 degree-of-difficulty attempt.
When the water settled after the last diver went off the board, Shi held on to her leading position and wrapped up the gold medal.
“I knew it was going to be close,” said Shi, who dove at states for the third time and won last year’s title at Cumberland Valley High School.
“There was a lot of really good girls from eastern PA. I was nervous. But I was just hoping to do my best. I knew that if I did my best, I would end up with a good result.”
Shi finished with 428.45 points, less than last year’s winning total of 457.50 but enough to hold off runner-up Gabby Filzen, a senior from Perkiomen Valley (424.15), and Avery Hillier, a freshman from Conestoga (423.30).
Filzen , who made her PIAA debut in 2020 as a sophomore and placed 18th, was third after the first round of five dives before moving into first after the semifinals (eight dives) with 304.45 points, three ahead of Hillier and four ahead of Shi.
Shi said she readied herself for the state meet by working on technique and cleaning up things in her diving portfolio.
“Last year was a little different because of covid, but I knew from freshman year (at Bucknell) I just had to stay calm the whole meet,” Shi said.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be over until the end and I had to come through late. I was happy with the way I finished.”
North Allegheny diving coach Patty McClure said that Shi’s competitiveness and experience at big meets gave her an edge down the stretch.
“She’s been in tougher meets than this, national meets with even more pressure,” McClure said.
“The unknown in the meet is the judging. The judging was a little tight today. When it is tight like that, it becomes a degree-of-difficulty race. Fortunately, her degrees of difficulty is on the higher side. That really worked to her advantage.”
Shi said she was happy to share this experience with Tigers freshman Lola Malarky who earned an eighth-place medal (373.15) in her PIAA debut.
All five WPIAL divers at states qualified for the three-dive finals.
Latrobe junior Hannah Polosky placed sixth (380.70) followed by Seneca Valley senior Ashley Felitaky in seventh (375.25).
Upper St. Clair junior Addison Burnette rounded out the placements for the WPIAL contingent in 13th (343.25).
Polosky, Felitsky and Burnette all joined Malarky in making their PIAA debuts.
“This says a lot about the quality of diving in our district and how competitive it is,” Shi said.
“I am happy that it is that competitive. It’s fun. I am very proud of all that we were able to do here today.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
Tags: North Allegheny
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