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Perry to dive at WPIALs one final time

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 7:36 p.m.
Gary Bills | For The Times Express
Alison Perry prepares her WPIAL dives during a practice Feb. 17, 2014, at Gateway High School.

Gateway's Alison Perry hopes the third time is the charm.

The Gators senior diver will make her third appearance at the WPIAL Class AAA championships Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at North Allegheny High School.

As a sophomore in 2012, Perry placed 18th.

Last year, she took 12th.

If she improves six more spots Saturday, she would be making her first trip to states.

The top six finishers in AAA advance to the PIAA championships at Bucknell University.

“I'm really excited,” Perry said. “Hopefully, all my training pays off Saturday.”

Perry said being at WPIALs twice before helps her get prepared for what she will face Saturday

“It makes it less stressful,” Perry said. “I want to go in and do my best and see where I place. Hopefully, it matches up well with everyone else.”

WPIAL diving in AAA is broken down into three parts.

The preliminary round is dives one through five.

After dive five, the first cut will be made.

The semifinal round will be dives six through eight, and then a second cut will reduce the field for the finals.

The final three rounds will produce the WPIAL champ and the other five state qualifiers.

“She's getting to a good spot,” Gateway diving coach Mehran Hedjazi said.

“She is very capable of finishing in the top six if she dives the way she is capable. I just want her to go into WPIALs comfortable and relaxed. It's her final WPIAL competition, and I want her to have fun.”

Perry qualified for WPIALs with a successful performance during Gateway's section dual meet with Fox Chapel on Jan. 9.

It was the Gators' first section meet and first meet overall after the Christmas break.

She came up just short in two December nonsection meets.

“I was really close, but I knew if I was patient, it would come,” Perry said.

Perry said work on and off the board has helped her in her WPIAL preparation.

“Coach Hedjazi pushes me to do my best,” Perry said.

“I've also been doing some exercise (off the board) to keep my strength up.”

Perry was the lone Gateway girls representative at WPIALs as a sophomore, and last year, she dove at WPIALs with teammate Alex Denne, a 2013 grad.

She said she hoped one or more of the younger divers would've been able to qualify, but at the same time, she is excited for the future of Gateway diving.

“The younger divers really improved throughout the season,” Perry said.

“I hoped to have others at WPIALs with me, but I told them to keep working hard. I think they will make it next year.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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