Connellsville diving duo excited for WPIALs
On Saturday, senior Kait Nedrow and sophomore Luke Kisiel will represent Connellsville at the WPIAL Class AAA diving championships at North Allegheny.
This will be Kisiel's first experience in the atmosphere of championship competition. Nedrow is making her fourth trip to the finals, and she's hopeful that her fourth trip to WPIALs results in a medal.
“My main (goals were) to qualify and make it to the podium this year,” Nedrow said.
The top six boys and girls in Class AAA qualify for the PIAA meet March 13-16 at Bucknell.
Nedrow didn't advance past the first round as a freshman. She made it to the second round as a sophomore, then finished 14th overall as a junior. She hopes to continue her upward trend but acknowledges that it won't be easy.
“I haven't had as much practice time because it's my senior year,” said Nedrow, explaining that she is involved in activities such as the high school musical and is president of Connellsville's student council. “But I feel like I can perform exceptionally well. You just have to have an ‘on' day. It just takes one dive.”
Nedrow qualified for WPIALs early in the season. Her best score is 208 points, easily eclipsing the 170-point qualifying standard for Class AAA girls.
“I qualified in my first meet,” Nedrow said. “It's always better to get it out of the way early.”
Nedrow is hoping that previous WPIAL experiences will help her doing competition.
“In my freshman year, I didn't know what to expect,” Nedrow said. “But now I know how things work. That should help me with nerves.”
Nobody can blame Kisiel for having a few butterflies; competing in a championship event for the first time can be stressful. But Kisiel plans to make the most of his opportunity.
“I'm looking forward to the experience,” Kisiel said. “I expect to be a little nervous, but I want to get that experience so that next year I can have that peace of mind.”
Kisiel qualified for WPIALs in the middle of the season with 176 points. His best score is 180.75. A score of 160 points is needed for Class AAA boys to qualify for WPIALs. For Kisiel, reaching this level was a source of pride.
“It wasn't my main goal,” Kisiel said. “My main goal was to just get my dives down, but it is definitely an accomplishment.”
Kisiel, who plays for the Connellsville baseball team, recalled what it felt like when he found out he had earned his first trip to WPIALs.
“It was definitely a surprise, and I was really happy about it,” Kisiel said.
Saturday's WPIAL boys championship will begin at 10 a.m. followed by the girls championship at 2:30 p.m.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.