Seneca Valley’s Clerkley, Blackhawk’s Finkbeiner Claim Gold at WPIAL Boys’ Diving Championships
Monday, February 27, 2023
Wexford, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) held its WPIAL Boys’ Diving Championships in the 2A and 3A classifications this past Friday and Saturday at North Allegheny High School. There was a total of 31 student-athletes who competed over the two days, with 19 in the 3A field and 12 participating in 2A.
Seneca Valley junior Isaiah Clerkley improved one spot from his 2022 runner-up finish, winning the title at 3A. In 2A, Blackhawk junior Brecken Finkbeiner captured gold, becoming the school’s first champion in the 1-meter dive.
Both championship events were broken into two 6-dive periods, with a cut to 16 coming after the initial six dives.
3A RECAP [Results]
Seneca Valley junior Isaiah Clerkley brought home the school’s first championship in the 1-meter dive since 2000, recording a 12-dive score of 559.35 this past Saturday at the WPIAL 3A Boys’ Diving Championships.
Clerkley’s gold medal is the fourth for Seneca Valley in the event, with Chris Rebholz previously claiming the top spot in 1997, 1999, and 2000.
Last year, Clerkley registered an 11-dive tally of 418.20 to place second. Behind him in 2022 were a bevy of teammates, and the story remained the same this year as seniors Jeremiah Laslavic and Sam Hersick took second and third, respectively.
Clerkley, Laslavic (508.30), and Hersick (454.70) claimed three of the four Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Championships qualification spots, with Fox Chapel sophomore Jackson Hagler (4th, 425.30) taking the other.
The remainder of the eight-person podium featured Mt. Lebanon sophomore Malcolm Thompson (5th, 402.05), Bethel Park senior Jasper Harter-Hughes (6th, 375.00), Mt. Lebanon senior Liam Smith (7th, 370.20), and Seneca Valley junior Miles Miller (8th, 365.50).
2A RECAP [Results]
Blackhawk junior Brecken Finkbeiner climbed two spots from his 2022 performance at the WPIAL 2A Boys’ Diving Championships this past Friday, earning the gold medal on Friday morning with a 12-dive score of 488.00.
This is the sixth consecutive season that there hasn’t been a repeat champion, though North Catholic’s Kyle Maziarz won twice over this span in 2018 and 2020. Finkbeiner’s score of 488.00 is the highest for the 2A champion since Maziarz registered an event record 558.05 in 2020.
Finkbeiner previously placed third in the 2022 edition, posting a score of 311.05. Above him on that day was Northgate’s Ryan Hartle with a 315.10, and the junior remained in the same spot this year following a tally of 460.80.
Rounding out the top three was Derry sophomore Jacob Hauser, who finished with a score of 426.55 to claim bronze. The top seven finishers earned qualification into the PIAA Championships, with Finkbeiner, Hartle, and Hauser joined by South Park freshman Grant Newell (4th, 378.75), West Allegheny junior Caleb Gnoth (5th, 356.45), Central Valley senior Colton Super (6th, 320.15), and Greater Latrobe junior Abby Cook (287.40).
Indiana freshman Austin Schawl completed the eight-person podium with a score of 267.35.
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