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Fox Chapel diving team grows strong

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Top high school sports
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The Fox Chapel diving team has slowly developed into a force to be reckoned with compared to what it was a decade ago.

Vernon Yenick, who has been coaching the Fox Chapel divers for six years, deflects much of the credit to an increased interest at the school and one of his recent graduates — JB Kolod.

“JB had been a gymnast and he switched to diving in 2009,” Yenick said of the 2011 graduate who holds the 1-meter and 3-meter school records at the University of Virginia. “He got so good so fast that I think he inspired a lot of kids to give diving a shot. Now, we've put together a pretty good diving team.”

Yenick was quite a diver himself. He was a member of the last graduating class at Turtle Creek High School before it became a part of the Woodland Hills School District. In his senior year, he won a silver medal in diving at the PIAA championships. He is also an assistant coach for the Pitt Aquatic Club, which has helped the Foxes' program, he said.

“All of the kids are with me at the Pitt Athletic Club. We have a great facility, and it's been a plus for our divers,” Yenick said. “This year, Miranda Simon and Addison Lynch have topped 200 points. JB did it numerous times while he was here, and he finished second at states in his senior year. Before Miranda, the last time we had a girl top 200 was in 1998.”

When Yenick took over as coach, he didn't really have to start from scratch.

“It wasn't like the program needed an overhaul,” he said. “The kids trusted me and what I was doing. When I came here, I didn't know what the mood was. It's been nothing but positive, and the results have shown that.”

Along with Lynch, a junior, and Simon, a sophomore, the team has gotten strong performances from sophomores Emily Eames and John Zottolla and juniors Paige Neid, Dan Tabas and Kyle Pawlikowski.

“We have four divers that have qualified for the WPIALs,” Yenick said. “Miranda is coming on strong, and I feel that she has a good shot at states. I expect colleges to be looking at her shortly. I think all of our divers are going to be top 12 divers at WPIALs. I think we can put three in the top 10.

“In diving, Fox Chapel diving was by the wayside for a decade. That's not the case any longer.”

And with such a youthful and talented squad, it shouldn't be the case for the foreseeable future.

Marty Stewart is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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