North Allegheny’s Shi wins 4th straight WPIAL diving gold

Saturday, February 25, 2023 | 6:19 PM

One day after North Catholic’s Maggie Foley became the first girls diver in eight years to win four straight WPIAL gold medals, North Allegheny senior Christina Shi matched the feat, capturing her fourth with a score of 540.75.

“It definitely feels amazing,” Shi said. “But it was a hard one this year. It was really close.”

Latrobe senior Hannah Polosky and Shi pushed each other all day.

Polosky led by 41.95 points before Shi posted a score of 50.40, her third score of more than 50 in the meet.

“I always try not to look at the scores, but I just can’t help myself sometimes,” Shi said of her battle with her friend Polosky. “I had to take a peek. It’s just a friendly competition.”

Polosky, a Pitt recruit, settled for a second straight silver medal with a final score of 532.30. Shi’s North Allegheny teammate, sophomore Lola Malarky, won bronze at 488.10.

Shi and Foley become the first WPIAL girls duo to win four consecutive gold medal since Jen O’Brien from Penn Hills (3A) and Brittany Garza from Shady Side Academy (2A) each won four straight from 1997-2000.

Another Tiger, sophomore Juliet Hood (429.90), edged junior Emily Mueller from Mars (421.40) to grab fourth place.

Only the top three finishers in girls 3A head to the state meet, which means Polosky and Malarky will join the Harvard-bound Shi on March 17th at Bucknell.

Shi has won the past two PIAA gold medals, but a format change with fewer dives will present a new challenge this year.

“It’s definitely going to be a quick meet, but I hope I can just put my best out there.”

On the boys side in 3A, a year after placing second, Isaiah Clerkley from Seneca Valley was dominant, finishing with a score of 559.35 to capture his first gold medal.

“I was feeling really good. I was hitting my dives consistently with no major mistakes,” Clerkley said. “I’m happy with how I did.”

The Seneca Valley junior said last year’s silver medal aided this year’s championship.

“It helped my confidence,” Clerkley said. “When I’m not nervous, I feel I’m capable of winning.”

The Raiders boys were dominant for the second consecutive year.

Seneca Valley finished two through five in 2022, sending four representatives to the state finals. This year, along with Clerkley, senior teammates Jeremiah Laslavic (508.30) and Sam Hersick (452.70) won silver and bronze, and all three will head to the PIAA competition.

Another great story from Seneca Valley was junior Miles Miller, who just started diving in September and made the podium in eighth place with a score of 365.50.

“I’m so happy for (my teammates). They did great,” the gold medalist said. “We all worked hard. They definitely earned it, so I’m really happy how my team did.”

Joining the Seneca Valley trio in the PIAA competition March 18 at Bucknell will be Jackson Hagler. The Fox Chapel sophomore finished fourth with a score of 425.30.

All of the top four finishers from this year’s championships were state qualifiers last year.

“I’m just going to work on my consistency so I can get higher scores,” Clerkley about the state meet.

Unlike past years, the PIAA championships will be six dives instead of 11. That change led to the WPIAL meet adding an extra dive (12 total) this year.

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