CANTON — Despite having one of the most impressive résumés among divers in central Ohio, Gahanna Lincoln High School’s Maycey Vieta couldn’t hide her disappointment after the Division I state meet at Branin Natatorium.
The senior had just wrapped up her prep career with a fourth consecutive top-four finish. She was fourth as a freshman, won as a sophomore and finished second last year and Feb. 21. Senior Morgan Southall from Cincinnati West Clermont needed 43.25 points on her final dive to eclipse Vieta, and she posted a 48.4 to win 479.55-474.4.
As Vieta stepped up to perform for her last dive, she trailed Southall by four points but had a bit of an advantage. Her final dive carried a 2.7 degree of difficulty, compared with Southall’s final attempt with a 2.2 rating. Vieta carded a 47.25 on her back 1-somersault, 2½-twist free.
“We’ve competed against each other a few times, so I know about that last dive and she does it so well,” Southall said. “I was definitely a little worried.”
Vieta finished strong, scoring 145.05 on her final three dives in the championship round, outdueling Southall’s 141.25. Vieta’s first dive in the championship round, an inward 1½-somersault pike, netted a 51.6 score, her highest of the day.
“I knew it was going to be tough to get to that top spot,” Vieta said. “My last three dives were pretty solid. I was happy with those.”
It was the third consecutive top-10 finish in the state tournament for Southall. She was ninth in 2017 and sixth last year.
The medals podium had a Central District vibe to it as the area produced four of the top seven scores. Last year, the district held four of the top eight positions.
Julia Fidanza, a junior from Upper Arlington, finished third Feb. 21. She edged out senior teammate Holly Darling 445.3-443.2. Olivia Lynch from Olentangy Liberty, a sophomore, finished seventh.
It was the first time since 2006, when Abby Johnston was second and Hannah Krimm finished fourth, that Upper Arlington placed two divers in the top four. Last year, Darling was seventh and Fidanza eighth.
Darling never strayed from the top portion of the leader board, holding a spot in the top three until Fidanza passed her on the final dive.
Fidanza had her best score of the day, a 46.8 on her second-to-last dive, the same inward, 1½-somersault pike that Vieta executed. She closed with a 42.9 on a forward, 1½-somersault, two-twist free.
“There were two or three dives I wasn’t completely happy with, but every time that happened, I changed my mentality and regained my focus,” Fidanza said. “I was proud that I was able to do that.”
Darling led the field after three attempts and was second after the preliminary round of five dives. She was third heading into the semifinals and had two scores of 46.8.
Lynch scored 433.2 points, finishing 0.35 behind sixth-place finisher Riley Bullock of Loveland.