By Jim Bransfield
MIDDLETOWN >> New Canaan’s Bobby Ross came from behind in the final two dives of the CIAC Class L championship meet to nip Middletown High’s Dan Kinney and win the state championship at the Baldwin-Parmelee pool at MHS Thursday evening.
The final score was 500.35 points for Ross to Kinney’s 477.75.
Kinney led through nine rounds, but Ross nailed his final two dives, both with high degrees of difficulty, to snatch the championship.
“I was very happy with how I dived today,” said Kinney. “In a way it’s frustrating to lose, but Ross’ last dive was fantastic. It was impressive to watch.”
Kinney led by 20 points going to the final round of three, but Ross overtook him on his 10th dive, then sealed the deal with a brilliant dive in his 11th try, a dive with a 3.2 degree of difficulty.
“Dan was great today,” said MHS diving coach Matt Quinn. “He broke both the school 6-dive record and the 11-dive record.”
Kinney’s performance will no doubt qualify him as an All-American, said head coach Trevor Charles.
Kinney said that his third dive, a two and a half twist, was what made the day for him.
“It’s my hardest dive,” he said. “When I nailed it, I was really stoked for the rest of the meet.”
Quinn also praised his other top divers, Monica Marcello and Adam Gauthier. Marcello was fourth and Gauthier was seventh in the 27-diver field.
“For a girl to finish fourth in this class is a tremendous achievement,” said Quinn. “This year Class L is by far the toughest, bar none. And Adam keeps on getting better. He’s peaking at the right time.”
It is likely that the top three divers will qualify for the open.
Marcello finished with 412.92 points and Gauthier had 358.80 points.
“Ross was the favorite coming in,” said Quinn. “Dan was set up with his good dives in the first half of the meet. By doing that he set both the pool and school record for the first six dives. But as it turned out, Ross had a lot left at the end. But Dan was awesome, absolutely awesome today.”
The points Middletown gained in diving carry over to the Class L meet and the diving competition will be part of the team’s final score in the state Class L championship meet, which will begin with the trails this Saturday in West Hartford.
The finals will be March 19 at Wesleyan University at 7:15 p.m.