Radio wins league championship
Throughout the East Penn Conference Diving Championships on Saturday, there was little doubt that one of the Parkland divers would come away with a gold medal around his neck. The question was which one was it going to be.
Ethan Radio took an early lead after two dives, but Kole Cannon led the rest of the way as the meet headed into the final round that saw Cannon with a scant lead of just 1.65 points.
Both divers had chosen to save the best for last, opting for high-risk, high-reward dives featuring reverse twists.
After both had completed their dives, it was Radio who came away with the top spot, besting his friend and teammate Cannon by a score of 464.45 to 458.80.
“As I was going to the board, I pictured it through in my mind and how I would do it and then as soon as I was on the board, I just went for it and took it down,” said Radio of the nearly perfect dive that garnered him a score of 55.90, the highest scored dive of the meet. “I kept checking on the scoreboard to see where we were and we were always close, so I kept pushing myself.”
Parkland diving coach Cary Lehman felt confident with his team coming in and had with four divers finish in the top five.
Following Radio and Cannon was Easton’s Brendan Griffiths in third, with Parkland’s Ryan Beltrame fourth and Matt Blommel in fifth.
There were no hard feelings that Radio edged out his teammate for the top spot because all of the divers on the team enjoy a friendly rivalry with each other. The duo was continually congratulating each other on their dives throughout the meet as they battled.
“On any given day, any one of them can get their turn at the top,” said Lehman. “Every meet we’re at they’re competing, competing, competing and that’s good. It helps. Plus, they’re used to it because there are a lot of meets where they’re competing and they always push each other.”
Radio, who is a sophomore, has been on somewhat of a hot streak, finishing second at the EPC midseason meet prior to grabbing the top spot in the conference championship. He’s hopeful that the success continues as Parkland divers prepare for the District 11 Diving Championship coming up on February 22nd at Emmaus High School.
That meet will determine which divers will represent the district at the PIAA meet at Bucknell University next month.
In last year’s district meet, Radio placed third just behind teammate Logan Choma, who did not compete in this year’s EPC event. Choma also placed second in 2018, one spot ahead of Cannon. Choma is a senior this season, while Cannon is a junior.
“Districts could be very interesting, because we have a number of divers who are doing really well right now and Ethan has some momentum coming in,” said Lehman. “Of course, there’s [Emmaus’s Brandan McCourt] and some other divers who are all really good.
“I like our chances going into districts, but it’s too difficult to handicap right now.”
McCourt, the defending district and state champion, didn’t compete in the EPC meet because of illness.