Pottsville’s Klinger captures Schuylkill diving
FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - Tamaqua’s Vinnie Valentine knew that to repeat as the Schuylkill League diving champion he would have to hold off a number of stiff challengers - especially Pottsville’s Adam Klinger.
Klinger entered Friday’s competition as one of the favorites, while Valentine returned to the site where he stood on top of the podium the year before.
The Crimson Tide sophomore was at the top of his game as he dominated from start to finish, reversing his second-place finish last February - swapping his silver medal for a gold.
Klinger outpointed the field during the 11-dive event, as his 332.35 points easily topped runner-up Hunter Correll of Schuylkill Haven, who ended with 266.15 to take silver. Third place went to Pottsville’s Collin Kline at 227.35, while Valentine finished fourth with a score of 226.25.
The Blue Raider junior said there was no pressure entering the competition.
“I know Adam for a long time, he and I are on the same club team,” said Valentine about his chief rival. “He has gotten so much better, so I knew how good he has become.”
Valentine said the season wasn’t a smooth ride.
“It’s been a rougher season than last year,” Valentine said. “What I did was spend a lot of time working on new dives. It wasn’t as good as last year, definitely, but I kept on working hard trying my best to (improve).”
Klinger had his game intact, and he knew coming in he was ready for the event.
“(Vinnie and I) are good friends, we compete together, and I knew I got much better than last year,” Klinger said. “I really didn’t feel pressure, I had a good year and I just needed to stay focused, and things would come together if I did that.”
On the girls side, Blue Mountain freshman Hailey Scheuer won the gold with a score of 306.20. She edged out North Schuylkill junior Joyce Burian, who finished at 298.65. Third place went to Blue Mountain’s Shyana White (282.30), followed by North Schuylkill’s Jamie Love (246.79).
… Valentine still has his sights set on the next level of competition - the District 11 event. Last season, he earned a bronze medal and advanced to the state tournament, which is held at Bucknell University.