ATLANTA- The 2018 USA Diving Junior National Championships continued Thursday with National Champions being crowned in six events. Hailey Hernandez (COM Aquatics) won the gold medal in the group B girls 1-meter, Quinn Henninger (Mile High Diving Club) clinching the gold medal in the group B Boys platform and Maxwell Miller (Woodlands Diving Academy) earned gold in the group C boys 3-meter final. Avery Worobel (Duke Diving) took home the gold in the group C girls platform, while Samantha Vear (Conroe Diving Club) won the title in the group A girls 10-meter and Conor Casey (Alexandria Dive Club) clinched gold in the group A boys 3-meter finals.
Hernandez, who won two silver medals in last week’s FINA World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine, scored 371.95 points to capture the group B girls 1-meter title Thursday. Along with her recently earned hardware, Hernandez also won the gold medal in the 2018 USA Diving Senior National Championships and represented Team USA in the women’s 3-meter at the 2018 FINA World Cup in China in June. The Texas native will compete in Friday’s group B girls 3-meter and Saturday’s group B girls platform semifinals, as she looks to add two more medals to her collection.
“I’m very proud of my progress and how my diving has been this summer,” Hernandez said. “I hope to keep working hard and continue improving.”
The group B boys platform was full of excitement as Henninger won on his final dive, an inward 2 ½ pike for 63.00 points. Henninger finished competition with 404.15 points overall, just 0.85 points ahead of Trever Cheung (City of Midland). Henninger will continue competition in group B as he will compete in Friday’s 1-meter and Saturday’s 3-meter semifinals.
The group C boys 3-meter final also took place Thursday, as Miller clinched the gold medal after scoring 396.15 points. Miller will compete in Friday’s semifinal in the 1-meter event. Bennett Greene (Tennessee Diving), who won Wednesday’s group C boys platform, placed second in 3-meter with 348.70 points, while Jacob Jones (Woodlands Diving Academy) finished third, just 8.55 points behind Greene.
The 12-13 girls platform title marks Worobel’s second gold medal in this week’s competition. Worobel, who scored 247.45 overall points in the platform event, also won last year’s platform event in the 11-and-under category. She led Isabella George (Rose Bowl Aquatics), who placed second, just 4.40 points back, and Ciera Center (Rose Bowl Aquatics) who finished third with 239.35 points. Worobel will go for her third gold medal Friday when she competes in the group C girls 1-meter semifinal.
“It feels really nice,” Worobel said about winning her second title this week. “I’m not going to think about anything but tomorrow.
Vear clinched the group A girls 1-meter title after scoring 467.45 points. She led Bridget O’Neil (GC Diving), who placed second with 459.40 points, and Daria Lenz (SoCal Divers), who finished third with 456.35 points. Vear will continue competition Saturday when she competes in the group A girls 3-meter semifinal.
Day five of Junior National Championships wrapped up with excitement in the group A boys 3-meter as Casey came from behind to clinch the gold medal. In the fourth round of the final Casey performed a reverse 3 ½ tuck which scored a career high 91.00 points, which allowed him to move into first. “I hit one at zones last year for 89.00 points,” Casey said about his reverse 3 ½ tuck. “That was the best one I’d ever done. My coach and I were waiting for a big (dive) to hit since then. I was close in (semifinals). I was a little back in the board. I’ve been hitting them in practice all week. I finally hit the hurdle and it felt good.”
The 2018 USA Diving Junior National Championships continues through Saturday, August 4. Friday’s competition will have six divers from each preliminary event join prequalified divers to compete in the semifinals in the groups B boys 1-meter, B girls 3-meter, C girls 1-meter, C boys 1-meter, A girls platform and A boys 1-meter semifinals. All events will be live streamed and can be found here.