ATLANTA- The 2018 USA Diving Junior National Champions continued competition at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center Friday with six more divers crowned national champions. Lily Witte (Legacy Diving) clinched the group C girls 1-meter title, while Tyler Downs (RipFest) won gold in the group B boys 1-meter. Hailey Hernandez (GC Diving) captured the group B girls 3-meter title and Aliyah Watson (Fort Lauderdale Diving Team) placed first in the group A girls platform. Lyle Yost (American Flyers Diving) earned the group A boys 1-meter title, while Maxwell Miller (Woodlands Diving Academy) finished first in the group C boys 1-meter final.
The group C girls 1-meter was a close competition with Witte capturing the gold medal with 315.05 points. Avery Worobel (Duke Diving), who has already won two gold medals in this week’s competition, placed second, just 6.55 points shy of Witte. Bailee Sturgel (Ohio State Diving Club) finished third with 306.95 points.
Downs, who earned a silver medal in the group B boys 1-meter at the FINA Junior World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine in July, won the gold medal in Friday’s 1-meter competition. He scored 443.70 points overall, with his strongest dive coming in the final round when he performed a reverse 1 ½ somersaults with 2 ½ twists for 72.00 points. Downs will resume competition Saturday in the group B boys 3-meter semifinal.
“(Today’s) semifinal was ok,” Downs said about today’s competition. “I just wanted to redo my dive (in the final) and do better. I ended up winning.”
Hernandez earned her second gold medal of competition, as she scored 418.80 points overall in the 14-15 age group girls 3-meter. Hernandez, who also collected two silver medals at the FINA Junior World Championships, will compete Saturday in the group B girls platform semifinal. Daryn Wright (Indiana International School of Diving), who also competed for Team USA at Junior World Championships, earned the silver medal with 370.75 points. Rachel Dickerson (GC Diving) finished 5.45 points behind at third.
Watson’s 495.15 points in the girls group A final landed her first national title. Watson saved her strongest dive for the final round, a back 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists, which scored 73.60 points. Johanna Holloway (Boynton Beach, Fla.), who was a member of Team USA at Junior World Championships, earned the silver medal with 458.90 points, while Markie Hopkins (SoCal Divers) finished just 7.45 points behind Holloway to place third.
Yost led the group A boys 1-meter throughout the final, as he scored 567.35 points overall to clinch the national title. Yost is coming off a strong performance at the FINA Junior World Championships, and his performance in Friday’s competition led to Yost’s first national title in the 1-meter event. Jacob Fielding (Trojan Dive Club) placed second with 538.35 points, while Jake Butler (RipFest) finished third 524.50 points.
“It was a great meet. It was a great competition for me,” Yost said. “I knew coming from (the) semifinal that I had done a great job with my voluntary dives. I took care of business there. I just came in and did what I do everyday and that worked out for me.”
The group C boys 1-meter held a close final, as Miller earned the national title by a slim 1.50 point margin Miller, who carried over 188.10 points into the final, managed to hold on to his lead with a critical front 2 ½ tuck for 55.20 points and an inward 1 ½ pike for 54.00 points. Finnian Gelbach (Alexandria Dive Club) score 346.20 points to win the silver medal, while Aiden Sadler (Team Colwill Diving) scored 316.90 points to place third.
The 2018 USA Diving Junior National Championships concludes on Saturday, August 4. The final day of competition will have six divers from each preliminary event join prequalified divers to compete in the semifinals in the groups B boys 3-meter, B girls platform, A girls 3-meter and A boys platform semifinals. All events will be live streamed and can be found here.