Diving: Olentangy Liberty's Springfield, Hilliard Darby's Sturgill win district titles

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Hilliard Darby's Hayden Apel finished second in the Division I district meet Feb. 15, earning his fourth state berth.

A pair of freshmen made a resounding splash in the Division I district diving meet Feb. 15 at Jefferson Country Club, capturing the boys and girls championships.

In the boys competition, Olentangy Liberty's Kaden Springfield finished first of 28 divers with 563.35 points. The top seven advanced to state Feb. 27 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. 

“Kaden had a really great performance with some really good competition from our district,” Liberty diving coach Jen White said. 

Hilliard Darby senior Hayden Apel earned his fourth state berth by finishing second with a program-record 535.35 for 11 dives. 

“I was focused on going out there and having fun and doing the best I could,” he said. “(At state), again I want to go out and do my best and have fun.” 

Other state qualifiers were New Albany’s Hamish Patel (third, 532.8) and Collin Morr (sixth, 409.95), Liberty’s Anthony Sciulli (fourth, 501.4), Delaware’s Mark Sulek (fifth, 450.5) and Upper Arlington’s Jack Kerstetter (seventh, 390.75). 

In the girls event, Darby’s Bailee Sturgill finished first (493.6) of 32 divers. 

“My expectations coming into a meet like this is just have fun and do my best,” she said. “I definitely think I dove to a capability that I had. There were some things I could do better, but overall, I’m happy with how I dove and I think the other girls are happy with being here as well.” 

The top five advanced to state Feb. 26 in Canton. 

Sturgill will be joined at state by teammate Keira Porter, a junior who finished fifth (373.85). 

Other state qualifiers were Gahanna’s Ashleigh Provan (second, 482.65), New Albany’s Emma Skinner (third, 448.8) and Olentangy Orange’s Augusta Ness (fourth, 393.15).

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank