Quaker Valley divers fill podium at WPIAL meet

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Sunday, March 3, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Two, three and five.

The Quaker Valley diving team ended up with three girls among the top five at the WPIAL 2A finals Feb. 23 at North Allegheny.

QV junior Ruby Olliffe placed second for the third year in a row with a 405.55 final score, ahead of third-place finisher Katie Blackmer, a senior, who had a 405.25-point total.

“I was definitely a little disappointed with my WPIAL performance this year,” Olliffe said. “Even though it did not go as I wanted, I was happy with my resilience and ability to come back regardless of my rocky start.

“And I want to add how lucky I am to have the team I have. Everyone is so supportive and when it comes down to it, everyone is there for each other when it counts. I’m excited for states and to have a good time with my girls before Katie graduates.”

Blackmer finished fifth the past two seasons before advancing to the PIAA championships. She improved her score at this year’s WPIALs by three points over last year’s 401.95.

“I was excited to place third at WPIALs this year,” Blackmer said. “It was great having the chance to stand on the podium again with my teammates. The WPIAL meet went really well, but I will definitely be working on elements of my dives in the next couple of weeks leading up to the state championships.

“I have been doing a lot of training year-round with my club diving program, American Flyers, with diving coach Ron Navarra. So with the guidance of coach Navarra and my high school coach, Vernon Yenick, I feel well-prepared going into the state championships.”

QV junior Ruby Krotine clicked for a 358.75 score to reel in fifth place at the WPIAL finals.

Krotine has improved from seventh to sixth to fifth over the past three seasons and, like Olliffe and Blackmer, is a three-time state qualifier.

“I’m very happy with my performance at WPIALs,” Krotine said. “The level of competition is always tough, and this year was no different. My goal was to improve my standings from last year; I was pleased with how my dives went and where I ended up on the podium.

“I think it’s amazing that all three of the Quaker Valley divers were able to represent our school in the top five. We have been diving together for years now and we always push each other to bring our best to every practice. I love diving with Katie and Ruby. I couldn’t ask for better teammates.”

This year’s PIAA Class 2A girls diving finals will take place March 15-16 at Bucknell.

Olliffe has placed sixth and seventh in the past two state championships.

“There are definitely improvements (to work on) for states,” Olliffe said. “Not only would I like to upgrade some aspects of my list, I would also like to focus on staying consistent for the PIAA finals. I am so happy all three of us have the opportunity to showcase our skills at states. I have gotten so much closer to these girls the last few years and I’m so excited to experience states with my team.

“I feel like every year the QV team, no matter the meet or circumstance, comes in and represents so I’m unbelievably proud of everyone’s progress this year.”

This is the third consecutive season the three talented QV divers have advanced to the state championships. Krotine placed 22nd place as a freshman and 15th as a sophomore.

“Going into states, I’m going to be focusing on my twisters and cleaning up my entries on my more difficult dives,” Krotine said. ”I’m grateful for the opportunity to head to states together for the third year in a row.”

Blackmer placed 17th in 2022 and 11th in 2023. She said she will miss diving for Quaker Valley following graduation.

“I’m happy with how my fourth and final high school diving season is going,” she said. “I’ve been really fortunate to dive with a program that has consistently been one of the most successful 2A diving programs in Western Pennsylvania. I really appreciate all of the support from QVSD, including our athletic director, Mike Mastroianni, our head coach, Merci McCarthy, and our diving coach, Vernon Yenick.

“I actually got started in diving 11 years ago because coach McCarthy, then the director at the Edgeworth Club, suggested I take up diving and compete with the Edgeworth Club team. So, it was a lot of fun having coach McCarthy at the pool for my last year.

“I will really miss diving with Ruby, Ruby and Gia (Kuyler). I wish them all the best and I hope to see the three of them on the podium at WPIALs next year.”

As a team, QV secured fifth place at the state meet last season behind Mt. Pleasant, Wyoming Seminary, Cathedral Prep and Northgate.

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