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Hampton diver White sets sights on WPIAL gold after back-to-back silver

| Sunday, April 2, 2017, 11:25 p.m.

When Hampton's Adrienne White was learning gymnastics in elementary school, little did she know she already was practicing to become one of the top divers in the region.

White, a junior who has been among the WPIAL's top divers since her freshman year, left gymnastics with an injury before middle school.

At the suggestion of cousin Jamie Tomazich, a former All-American diver at Pitt, White walked onto the plank, and the rest is history.

“(Gymnastics) was definitely helpful with conditioning,” White said. “There's different movements and positioning in diving, but it wasn't hard to get because I had the gymnastics background.”

Fast forward a few years, and White has shown the skill and style that helped her finish in second place the past two WPIAL championships. She also placed in the top 10 — including a personal-best fourth this season — in three PIAA championships.

“I think she's naturally really graceful,” said Hampton coach Morgan Zweygardt. “She doesn't look like she's going to get around two-and-a-half times when she gets off the board and then all of a sudden .... You don't understand how she gets that much power so easy and delicately.”

White, who dives for Pitt Aquatic Club, thinks her self-focused approach also has been a catalyst to her success.

“I don't let any competitors get to me, which allows me to excel,” she said.

It could have been easy for that to happen when Mars senior and North Carolina recruit Taylor Hockenberry, the two-time defending Class AA state champion and three-time WPIAL champion, was bumped up to Class AAA. But White embraced the challenge and formed a friendship with Hockenberry in the tight-knit diving community.

“Her and I are really good friends,” said White, who finished second to Hockenberry at WPIALs this year. “We practice during the week and hang out on the weekends. I think she really pushes me to do well. She's a great supporter, and I support her. Knowing she was going to come up, I knew it was going to be tough for sure, but it helped push me.”

“She does a great job honestly,” Zweygardt said. “She doesn't let anything like that rattle her. She's just the most humble athlete of anyone. She is such a beautiful diver and not showy about it in any way.”

White, who has been looking at Division I colleges but has yet to make a decision, will work on technique and repetition in the offseason. With Hockenberry off to Chapel Hill, N.C., she will have her sights set on her one last shot at WPIAL gold next season.

Devon Moore is a freelance writer.

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