Trojan divers win EPC titles
With 16 divers from Parkland competing in the EPC Diving Meet last weekend at Emmaus High School, the Trojans had, by far, the largest contingent. No other school had more than four divers entered in the competition, which consisted of 11 dives by each competitor.
When the day was done, Parkland came away with first place finishes on both the boys and girls side of the event. Kelsey German finished with a score of 414.65 to take the girls competition, while Chris Lehman finished with a score of 435.30 for the boys.
Parkland also captured third place on both sides, with Serena Johnson taking third for the girls and Jon Hansell finishing third for the boys. Emmaus’ Jess Hurlburt was second on the girls, and teammate Andrew Vanim was second for the boys.
Lehman led through much of the event and finished 12 points ahead of Vanim. Lehman surged ahead with scores above 44 on both his second and third dives of the day, and eventually needed a 32.10 on his final dive to lock up the win. Lehman closed out the competition with a 44.10 to give himself the victory.
German also seemed in control of the meet, but had to shake off tough competition from Hurlburt, who looked to capture the first EPC meet of her career. German was awarded a 35.0 on her final dive to give her the meet by 2.35 points ahead of Hurlburt.
Lehman and German both felt confident coming into the meet, but they also both knew that there was going to be tough competition standing in their way.
“I was very confident coming in,” said Lehman. “But there were two or three people who I was worried about, but in the end I knew that I could pull it out when I needed to.”
“I actually did feel confident coming into this one. There are a lot of great divers and they really inspire me to be better. Jess [Hurlburt, Emmaus] is really good, but I felt pretty confident coming into this meet,” said German.
Johnson and Hansel each had to battle to come away with third-place finishes. Johnson scored a 32.40 on her last dive, but Madison Young of Freedom made things close when she nailed her final dive for an award of 41.40, finishing just over two-points behind Johnson.
Hansel was struggling a little early on, but after a discussion with his coach, was able to put on a charge to pull into the third spot, and wound up just .45 points behind Vanim for second.
“My teammates and my coach really inspired me,” said Hansell. “My coach talked to me and said ‘you’re doing well, but I know you can do better.’ That really drove me, because I wanted to please him, my parents and my teammates; can’t let them down.”
All three divers talked about the atmosphere surrounding the program that helps them to succeed in meets like this. In fact, all three used the word ‘family’ in describing the Parkland program.
“It’s a family for me,” said Lehman. “You heard us doing our cheers and stuff, and that’s all stuff we do at practice, not just at meets. Our whole school is amazing. It’s a large school and a large athletic program, but I love it. The atmosphere is amazing.”
“I’m proud of our team and how we work as a family. It really pumps us up,” German said. “Their support really helps me. They talk to me before my hard dives and it really helps me to focus.”
Hansell, who takes somewhat of a more carefree approach to the sport than some, feeds off of the support he gets from his teammates.
“I like to have fun and I like competing to see where people are at,” said Hansell. “But it’s all about having fun with the people and my friends. Diving is just like a second family, honestly. It’s just a great group and I try to enjoy it all.”