| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Connellsville diver chasing spot on WPIAL medal stand

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Bill Shirley | Daily Courier
Luke Kisiel will represent Connellsville at the WPIAL Class AAA Diving Championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 at North Allegheny.
Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, 1:01 a.m.

Connellsville junior Luke Kisiel was not a diver from an early age. In fact, he wasn't introduced to the sport until a few years ago.

“One day I was on the trampoline with (Connellsville graduate and former diver) Kait Nedrow, and I just started doing flips,” Kisiel said.

Connellsville dive coach Tammy Nedrow noticed Kisiel's ability to do flips and turns in the air, and suggested he try out diving.

“He has a lot of natural ability,” Tammy Nedrow said.

Kisiel's natural ability has complemented his strong work ethic, and for the second straight season, he will compete in the WPIAL Class AAA diving championships.

This year's competition will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at North Allegheny.

“To be honest, my goal since the beginning of the year is to increase my points and do that each year,” Kisiel said. “If I medal, that's great. If I don't, I still have next year.”

Kisiel qualified for WPIALs with a 211-point performance in a meet earlier this season. He enters WPIALs as the ninth seed in Class AAA. The top six finishers will be on the medal podium and will advance to the PIAA Class AAA championships March 12-15 at Bucknell University.

“I would love to podium,” Kisiel said. “The top six go to states and if I can perform, I'm pretty sure I can be up there. But I don't want to put that in my mind. I just want to stay calm.”

Kisiel is hoping that his experience at WPIALs last season will serve him well this time around. He noted that aside from former Connellsville teammate Kait Nedrow, he was unfamiliar with the other athletes at the competition.

“There's no reason to be nervous,” Kisiel said. “When I started meeting people there last year, they were very nice. It's a friendly competition and it's always nice to see people do new and insanely difficult dives.”

To medal at WPIALs, Kisiel will have to survive three rounds of competition. In the first round, each competitor will get five dives.

In Round 2, the dives are decreased to three per competitor. Those who advance through the first two rounds will get three more dives in the third round to determine their medal standing.

Kisiel likely will rely on a back one-and-a-half somersault and a forward one and a half somersault to help carry him through.

Despite his high seeding, Kisiel is making sure not to put too much pressure on himself, and according to Tammy Nedrow, that's his best strategy.

“His chances of getting to the podium are very good,” Tammy Nedrow said. “He's increased his level of difficulty and he's got a year of experience behind him. I'm confident that if he keeps calm, he will do well.”

Tammy Nedrow noted that Kisiel consistently has practiced for two hours in the evening four nights a week and does a weekend practice session as well.

Now, it's time to let all the hard work pay dividends.

“He just has to let his natural ability shine through,” Tammy Nedrow said.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  2. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  3. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  4. Reliving the moment a decade ago that shifted the Penguins history
  5. Pregnant woman killed by gunfire in Brighton Heights, other shootings reported in city
  6. 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
  7. Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line with Penguins
  8. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
  9. Pirates’ Liriano unaffected by poor last outing against Twins
  10. Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
  11. New Pens winger Fehr ready for defense-first role