Quaker Valley diver has come a long way during high school career
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After missing part of last season with a head injury, Quaker Valley diver Haley Ashner is determined to excel.
For the third consecutive year, Ashner, a senior, has qualified for the WPIAL Class AA championship, to be held Feb. 22 at South Park.
After finishing 15th a year ago, she looks forward to a top-10 finish and a berth at the state championship, to be held next month at Bucknell University.
Ashner missed the first half of last season with a concussion she sustained while playing soccer.
“It was eye-opening,” she said. “I wasn't used to being away from diving for such a long time.”
With her career shortened by injury and inexperience, Ashner has done remarkably well, said Quaker Valley diving coach Lydia Holley, noting that Ashner, a first-time diver, also did not compete much as a freshman.
In her 10th year at Quaker Valley, Holley considers Ashner the best diver she has coached.
“Unlike some high school divers, Haley joined us without a lot of gymnastics training,” Holley said. “In a way, that's been an asset.
“In doing their routines, gymnasts are taught to stay far away from the equipment; they approach the diving board the same way.
“Haley doesn't lean and isn't scared; she has a concept of what she wants.
“She rides the board and gets lift off it. She puts a lot of strength into her dives.”
Holley said Ashner is an ideal role model for first-year divers Brooke Sommers, Barbara De Mayo Silva and Dominic Crivelli, the lone boys competitor.
“They notice how far she has come,” Holley said.
Ashner enjoys working with novices.
“If I see them doing something wrong, I'll make suggestions,” she said. “Because I'm (the most experienced) diver, I feel the responsibility to take them under my wing.”
Ashner is co-captain of the Quakers swimming and diving team, a rarity for a diver, said Quaker Valley swimming coach Sue Morgan, adding that most captains are swimmers.
“She would make a good coach,” Morgan said. “She's very focused and strong-minded.
“She expects a lot out of her teammates.”
“Haley is like my assistant,” Holley said. “In my absence, she takes charge.”
Ashner, 17, has applied to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. She also is considering trying out for the team at the University of Pittsburgh, where for the past few months she has been part of a scholastic program sponsored by the Pitt Aquatic Club.
She is one of two Quaker Valley divers who have qualified for the WPIAL championship. Junior Olivia Ragoowansi also will compete.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Healthy safety Mitchell is eager for 2nd season with Steelers
- Late goal gives Riverhounds victory over Tampa Bay in U.S. Open Cup
- Knoch secures 1st WPIAL title by defeating defending champion West Allegheny
- NFL notebook: Vikings coach delivers ultimatum to Peterson
- One man found dead when fire sweeps through South Fayette apartment
- Emergency crews search Youghiogheny River in Layton for Charleroi man
- Pirates use big 7th inning to sweep Marlins, stretch winning streak to 6
- Plum teacher, held for trial, vows to fight witness intimidation charge
- Central Catholic downs Norwin to win 1st WPIAL baseball title
- Concert business booming at Heinz Field this summer
- Steelers notebook: Blake gets outside shot in nickel