BOWLING GREEN — Four of the top five spots on the podium at the Division II district diving championships were occupied by area divers, with Tinora’s Lauren Melia winning the district crown.
Melia led after both rounds of cuts and held the lead after the 11th, and final dive. The Tinora sophomore was in first place with a score of 218.5 after five dives and increased her lead after three more dives (331.75). She finished with a score of 452.32.
Bryan’s Taylor Peters was district runner-up with 441.65 points, while Napoleon’s Audrey Seemann was third with a score of 434.85 and Addison Heitman was fifth with a score of 369.40.
All four divers advance to next week’s Division II State Diving Championships at Canton McKinley High School.
“I feel really proud of myself,” said Melia. “I have worked very hard this season. I just kept pushing through.
“I am excited about going back to state,” added Melia. “I loved the experience, it was so much fun. I really hope I can do better this year.”
Melia placed seventh last year at the state meet.
Going back for her fourth time is Peters, who was in third place after the first two rounds of cuts. Peters had a score of 197.8 after five dives and 301.4 after eight dives. She scored more than 141 points over her final three dives to jump to second place.
“It’s still a rush,” said Peters when asked about returning to the state meet. “I haven’t done much diving this year. I have only been in one 11-dive meet before this. I wasn’t sure what dives to put in. It was difficult because I just had to wait and see.”
“She was consistently good,” said Bryan diving coach Kathryn Rockey. “There were some dives we had not had much time to play around with, but she should be ready with them next week.
“There was some really tough competition here today, especially in the top three,” added Rockey. “To place second, she did phenomenally.”
Peters placed eighth at the state meet a year ago.
Seemann is also making her fourth trip to the state meet. She is just the second female Napoleon diver to qualify for the state tournament four times. She was second after the first five dives, with a score of 203.8 and held that position after eight dives (316.95).
Napoleon diving coach Kristen Shepard said she was especially proud of how Seemann, who has fought through an injury most of the season, battled at the district meet.
“She’s a fighter, and this was important to her,” said Shepard. “She probably had the least amount of board time than any diver here because of her injury. To not only make the podium, but finish third, says a lot.”
Seemann’s final score of 434.85 was a personal best for her in an 11-dive meet.
“I am very happy with the way I dove,” said Seemann. “I don’t think I could have done any better. I am excited to see what I can do next week at state. I am ready to redeem myself.”
Seemann placed ninth last season at the state meet — one spot off the podium.
Heitman, also a senior, is making her third trip to the state meet after her fifth-place finish.
“I worked my butt off this season,” said Heitman. “I worked for this day. I got up early and was so excited this morning. I was ready to go and do the best I could.”
“She didn’t have her best meet,” said Shepard. “There are probably a couple of dives she wishes she could have back. But it says a lot about how far she has come that she can not have her best meet and still finish squarely on the podium.”
Heitman placed 16th at last year’s state meet, making the final cut.
Also for the Lady Cats, Paige Weaver made the first cut and placed 19th overall with a score of 204.50, while Emmalyn Dirr was 32nd (111.10).
“I think they both did very well,” said Shepard. “They are two freshmen with little experience at a meet this size. They came in and were not overwhelmed.
“Paige made the first cut, which was half the field,” added Shepard. “To be in the top 20 is quite an accomplishment.”
Bryan’s Isabella Holbrook placed 36th (107.25), while Montesa Vollmar was 42nd (97.4).
Wauseon’s Cameron Estep finished 16th, making the final cut, with a score of 279.0. Other finishers for the Lady Indians were Macy Gerig in 27th, Eva Mennetti in 40th and Makayla Kubshull in 43rd.
There were 46 divers in the girls meet.
In the Division II boys district meet, none of Napoleon’s three divers advanced past the second round of cuts.
Gavin Hull missed the final cut by 2 points, finishing 17th with a score of 186.60. Drew Grant placed 22nd (102.70) and Joshua Gaffney was 26th (94.20).
There were 30 divers at the meet.
The Division II state girls diving championships are Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Canton McKinley High School.