steve shinko/times news Tamaqua's Dane DeWire toes the board as he prepares to dive during the SIAL Diving Championships.
Dane DeWire had something extra on the line while defending his Schuylkill League one-meter diving crown.
The two-time champion, the Tamaqua junior entered Monday's competition knowing any diving points from him or his teammates would give the Blue Raiders the Schuylkill All-League Meet title.
DeWire delivered on all counts and almost set a new school record for the 11-dive event in the process.
Senior Katie Hummel joined DeWire in the winner's circle for the second straight season to give the Raiders another sweep of the top diving honors at the Tamaqua Area High School natatorium.
"Our divers did a phenomenal job," said Tamaqua coach Eric Lech. "They came in here very composed and calm and they performed their dives the way they know they can."
DeWire was in peak form. The frontrunner to repeat, DeWire cruised to the gold medal with a score of 401.5 points, over 122 points ahead of second place Tyler Moroskie of Shamokin, who registered 279.45 in the field of eight divers.
That performance left DeWire just short of the Tamaqua school record for the 11-dive event of 402.45, set by Dan MacDonald in 2001.
"My main goal was to finish the 11 dives without failing on a dive," related DeWire. "The last time I did that was at Districts my freshman year. I didn't look to break 400 points until the second to last dive."
With senior Billy Breiner finishing third with 262.60 and senior John Scheitrum placing eighth with 198.65, the Raiders earned 33 team points, which gave them the Schuylkill League Meet championship with 344 total points.
Entering the diving competition, Pottsville held a slim 312-311 lead over Tamaqua, but the Crimson Tide did not field a diver in the boys event.
"We knew we had to get those extra points to capture the league banner," said DeWire. "Coach wanted us to win it without the diving points, but it was there for us to take."
Despite another successful diving campaign, DeWire isn't sure if he will dive at the District 11 Meet, as he may opt to pick up a swimming event to bolster the Schuylkill champion Raiders' chances.
"I'm not sure if I'm diving, because I want to do what gets us the most points," he stated. "I want another banner."
Hummel's road to the repeat was a lot tighter, as she battled Pottsville sophomore Kelsey Holland tooth and nail throughout the entire 11 dives. Holland had edged Hummel during their regular season contest at Pottsville.
"To me, leagues is where it matters," said Hummel. "I wanted to make sure I beat her, but without the competition of Kelsey pushing me, I wouldn't have done as well as I did."
The nip and tuck contest went down to the wire. Holland took an 18 point lead on her final dive, only to watch Hummel pull it out when she executed a back flip with a half twist to finish with a final score of 324.1 to Holland's 313.3.
"I'm very excited I won this," said Hummel. "It's overwhelming. I put in two new dives that I wasn't sure of. It was risky, but I wanted to get higher D.D.'s (degrees of difficulty) with Districts coming up."
"Katie definitely took a few risks, but they were risks she was comfortable with, because she likes the higher degree of difficulty dives better," said Lech.
Hummel and junior Alaina Reese, who was seventh in the 10 diver girls field, teamed for 24 points to put Tamaqua in second place in the overall team standings with 240. Pottsville won the girls title with 365 points.