P-R’s Lauren Lamendola Claims WPIAL AAA Diving Gold

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Saturday, February 26, 2011 | 12:00 AM


With Samantha Pickens and her three year stranglehold on the WPIAL Girls Class AAA diving title gone to the University of Arizona, there was opportunity today at Pine-Richland High School. In addition to Pickens, all of the top five finishers from 2010 had graduated. Seizing the opportunity was Lauren Lamendola from Pine-Richland. Diving at her home pool for the second consecutive year, the junior entered the final round in third place 4.10 points off of leader Jenna Zaldonis.

Lamendola saved her best for her final three dives, tallying 134.30 points to finish with a score of 421.65. Zaldonis, the senior from Franklin Regional, finished in second place with a score of 405.50 to take home the silver medal. Meredith Harbison score of 403.35 points was less than two points behind Zaldonis' score and was good enough for the bronze medal. The Butler senior Harbison was the highest returning finisher from last year when she placed sixth. Lamendola, who participated in gymnastics throughout her youth, has been diving competitively for only a couple of years as a back injury derailed her plans to compete collegiately in gymnastics.

Sophomore Ashley Sams from Bethel Park, who led the competition after the first 5 preliminary dives, slipped to fifth after struggling with her semifinal dives. Sams was able to recover and post a score of 389.10 to finish in fourth place and qualify for the PIAA Class AAA Diving Championships. The girls AAA state championships are scheduled for Friday March 18th at Bucknell University and that meet presents another opportunity for Lamendola and the other to finishers from the WPIAL as they get their chance to compete for state gold.

WPIAL GIRLS CLASS AAA DIVING RESULTS

1. Lauren Lamendola – Pine-Richland (421.65)

2. Jenna Zaldonis – Franklin Regional (405.20)

3. Meredith Harbison – Butler (403.35)

4. Ashley Sams – Bethel Park (389.10)

5. Kelly McClure – North Allegheny (371.80)

6. Jennifer Suder – Seneca Valley (369.35)

7. Ericka Culp – Kiski Area (354.25)

8. Danielle Malter – North Allegheny (353.60)

9. Heather Lonkert – Moon (351.45)

10. Jessica Tuite – Penn-Trafford (343.70)

11. Sarah Peterson – Gateway (335.45)

12. Alexis Rectenwald – Penn Hills (332.35)

13. Taylor Clayton – Hempfield (331.65)

14. Taina Broen – Pine-Richland (326.40)

15. Kianna Hedjazi – Gateway (320.00)

16. Anita Sewald – North Allegheny (307.95)

17. Samantha Miller – Seneca Valley (228.90)

18. Kait Nedrow – Connellsville (222.60)

19. Lizzie Ralph – Franklin-Regional (220.25)

20. Cassidy Schultheis – Latrobe (217.55)

21. Erin McTiernan – Upper St. Clair (138.15)

22. Caitlyn Kaufman – Butler (136.70)

23. Jackie Mickledge – Baldwin (130.70)

24. Amber Zanella – Butler (129.25)

25. Candace Hall – Latrobe (126.40)

26. Bailey Grimm – Peters Township (126.25)

27. Alex Fawcett – Penn Hills (125.10)

28. Lindsay McGivern – Hampton (124.85)

29. Victoria Halula – Hempfield (124.40)

30. Stephanie Croft – Butler (120.85)

31. Shannon Bossart – Latrobe (102.7

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