On most nights, Bobby Ross' outstanding performance Thursday would have been more than enough to capture the State Open diving title. Yet the New Canaan senior had to contend with freshman phenom Tianyi Teddy Zeng of Daniel Hand -- a diver who has spent the season making the spectacular look routine.
Trailing Ross by one point heading into the 11th and final round, Zeng nailed his last dive, earning four scores of nine and one of eight. Bolstered by his clutch dive, Zeng garnered the first-place medal at the State Open Diving Championships, posting an impressive score of 539.50 at Middletown High School.
Ross was the runner-up with a score of 524.60, while Greenwich High School senior Jeff Aselin placed third (439.80). Junior Robert Christensen of Darien (436.00), Samuel Hoyt of Glastonbury (431.35) and Andrew Bologna of Greenwich (426.10) rounded out the top six finishers.
Ross, who won the Class L one-meter diving championship, left the meet with no regrets.
"I'm really happy with my performance and I'm pleased that it came down-to-the-wire," Ross said. "After the 10th dive I had the lead, but I knew he was going to put out a phenomenal final dive."
The Harvard University-bound New Canaan diver drew scores of 10, 9 and 8.5 in the ninth round with his reverse dive in the tuck position. He took a 470.35-469.30 lead on Zeng in round 10 with his inward 1 and-a-half pike dive.
"The 10th dive felt good," Ross said. "It's always nice to do it well in practice, but to do it in a meet like this was great."
Zeng, who has performed well beyond his years all season, knew he had to execute his final dive to take home the title.
"I was trying not to think about the score," Zeng said. "I just wanted to do my last dive the best that I could and it worked out for me."
Ross' score in his final competition for the Rams was a personal-best.
"I like diving for a personal score, I don't focus on what other people are doing, that's what keeps my head in it," Ross said. "That was a fantastic score for me as a senior. I'm not going to be upset because a freshman phenom who is great at diving finished ahead of me."
Christensen was steady each round en route to his fourth-place finish.
"Tonight, I knew I could have done some dives better like my reverse," Christensen said. "But overall, I'm happy with my performance. I'm looking forward to getting back here next year and hopefully, I could do even better."
Thursday marked the second straight year Aselin finished third at the State Open. He had a strong seventh round, drawing scores of 9 and 8, and was impressive in the eighth round, which put him near the top of the leaderboard. Read Full Article
"I got a nine on my reverse dive and my front twist and back twist dives really helped me tonight as well," Aselin said. "It has been a great four years on the team for me. With the young divers we have, I hope they can do better here next year."
Bologna overcame a shaky start by finishing the night in style to earn a medal. He also had a sixth-place showing at the Open a year ago.
"I hit my foot on the board on my 2 and-a-half pike early in the night, but I came back hard and I'm so glad to finish sixth," Bologna said. "My full twist got me right back into it. Hats off to Jeff (Aselin) and Justin (Sodokoff) for doing so well tonight for our team."
Cameron Rhind of New Canaan placed ninth and Sodokoff of Greenwich posted a 10th-place finish. The State Open Swimming Championships takes place Saturday at Yale University.
State Open Diving Championships
at Middletown High School
1. Teddy Zeng (Daniel Hand) 539.50; 2. Bobby Ross (New Canaan) 524.60; 3. Jeff Aselin (Greenwich) 439.80; 4. Robert Christensen (Darien) 436.00; 5. Samuel Hoyt (Glastonbury) 431.35; 6. Andrew Bologna (Greenwich) 426.10; 7. Daniel Kinney (Middletown) 404.60; 8. Peter Gallino (Sacred Heart) 399.95; 9. Cameron Rhind (New Canaan) 395.20; 10. Justin Sodokoff (Greenwich) 394.00; 11. Monica Marcello (Middletown) 388.95; 12. Steven Kreuch (Darien) 383.40; 13. Cameron Schoffstall (Simsbury) 380.85; 14. Timothy Luz (Darien) 377.75; 15. Adam Gauthier (Middletown) 368.95; 16. Liam Barnes (Xavier) 359.25; 17. Misha Moffly (Weston) 355.05; 18. Kyle O'Donnell (Darien) 340.40; 19. Mitchell Ryan (East Lyme) 333.85; 20. Matt Mintz 25(Joel Barlow) 333.15; 21. Raymond Neistat (Newington) 332.85; 22. Sam Baluzy (Brookfield) 332.45; 23. Jenna Joyal 309.35; 24. Charles Blaschinski (Hall) 298.75; Kyle Vining (Bolton) 204.50; 20.