North Catholic’s Foley, Ligonier Valley’s Roddy win gold at WPIAL Class 2A diving championships

Friday, February 25, 2022 | 7:45 PM

Coming in as the two-time defending champion, North Catholic junior Maggie Foley was the obvious favorite at the WPIAL Class 2A diving championships at North Allegheny.

Foley did not disappoint, posting her highest finals score (470.70) to win her third-straight WPIAL title.

“Overall, it went smoothly today, so that’s very good,” Foley said.

Foley built a big lead and ended the preliminary round by scoring a 57.60 on her fifth dive, a front-two-and-a-half tuck.

“That’s one of my favorite dives, and it’s always a dive that I can count on,” she said. “It was last on my list the previous year. I moved it up into the first five to end on something good.”

Freshman Ruby O’lliffe from Quaker Valley finished an impressive performance in her initial competition by snagging the silver medal with a score of 393.10. Thomas Jefferson sophomore Addison Arndt, who finished fourth last year, took home the bronze with a score of 342.45.

Next up for the WPIAL competitors is the PIAA championships, which take place March 19 at Bucknell’s Kinney Natatorium. Because of covid restrictions last year, Foley was the only representative from District 7 and won the silver medal with a score of 397.25.

“It was weird last year. My first experience with states since my freshman year got cut short with covid,” Foley said of the state championships. “There weren’t a lot of people, little to no fans. It was just me, seven other girls and a couple of cardboard cutouts. This year, I’m going into it a lot more calm. It’s just staying consistent these next couple of weeks and focusing on the gold.”

In addition to the top three finishers, Lilia MacKenzie from Northgate, Katie Blackmer from Quaker Valley and Brooke Mihalik from Ringgold also qualified for the state competition.

On the boys side, the new kid in town won the gold medal.

Nick Roddy, a senior from Ligonier Valley, posted a score of 409.25 to win the championship.

Ligonier Valley returned to the WPIAL in 2020 after a 50-year absence, and Roddy was the only boys diver to score in the 400s.

“I was OK the whole way through this meet,” said Roddy. “I really like the inward-one-and-a-half, that was my last dive. I really did good on that one.”

That dive netted Roddy 47.30 points and cemented his first-place finish.

With only 11 divers competing, the jockeying for the other top spots and to finish in the top seven to qualify for states was where the drama took place.

Sophomore Ryan Hartle (315.10) overtook fellow 10th-grader Brecken Finkbiner (311.05) on his final dive to capture the silver medal.

According to Roddy, meeting his fellow competitors for practice earlier this week calmed his nerves for the championship.

“One thing that was different about this meet is on Wednesday, I did meet a lot of the divers and knowing that they were super nice and encouraging was definitely a good thing for me,” Roddy said. “It was definitely a great experience.”

Kellen Fletcher also was part of the story at North Allegheny as the senior from Mars choose to compete with the boys divers this season and not with the girls. Fletcher had a steady performance resulting in a score of 304.90 to finish fourth.

Her Mars teammate, senior Kevin Butler finished fifth, with Jacob Hauser from Derry and Pax Carslaw, a freshman from Hampton, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, to qualify for the PIAA boys championships March 18 at Bucknell.

Despite some challenges in preparing for the PIAA championships, Roddy is excited for that challenge.

“Our school (Ligonier Valley) doesn’t have a pool, so I practice at Derry and Latrobe,” he said. “After the WPIAL swimming championships (next week), the pool at Latrobe will be more open and I’ll be able to practice there a lot more frequently than I do now.”


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