ACC’s Heinze takes silver at districts
J.T. Heinze, an Emmaus resident attending Allentown Central Catholic High School, came into the District 11 Class 2A diving championship with a difficult task as he looked to dethrone two-time defending champion senior Noah Mauro from Saucon Valley High School.
In the end, Mauro grabbed a third gold medal, but Heinze put on an impressive display to finish second and earn a trip to the PIAA meet next month at Bucknell University.
Mauro, who holds some local notoriety after breaking the diving board at last year’s district meet, will also head back to states where he finished seventh last season. Mauro finished with a winning score of 435.30, followed by Henize at 297.60.
Heinze will be the new guy among Lehigh Valley divers heading to Bucknell, but he has spoken with divers who have been there in the past and at least has some idea of what to expect.
“I’m just going to go out there and do my best and kind of soak up the experience,” said Henize of the opportunity.
Heinze admitted there were some nerves coming into districts, but moved into second place after his second dive of the day, an inward one-and-a-half summersault. It was his highest-scoring dive of the day, garnering him a 37.40 and putting him ahead of Jackson Mabry of Blue Mountain High School, who had edged out Heinze by just .20 points in the first round.
For the rest of the day, Mauro remained anchored in first, while Heinze stretched his lead over third place throughout the event. Mabry fell to fifth, while teammate Michael Levkulic finished third with a score of 276.95.
Earlier this month at the East Penn Conference diving championship, Heinze finished seventh. The conference meet does not divide divers into Class 3A and 2A classifications as the district event does. Heinze was the only 2A boys diver at the EPC championship. In that meet, he finished with a final score of 237.60.
In the seventh round, Heinze scored a 32.00 on a back one-and-a-half summersault after doing a back dive that netted him a score of 30.40 one round earlier.
“My back dives were probably my best dives of the day overall,” said Heinze. “I felt most comfortable with those today. Overall, I’m happy with how today went and how the season has gone for me. I’m looking forward to diving at states and taking in the experience.”
While seniors generally dominated the day with three of the four gold medals awarded going to seniors, the girls 2A champion was sophomore Alexa Fegley, who attends Moravian Academy. Another freshman, Anna Petke of Bethlehem Catholic, will also head to states after placing second in the girls 2A diving event.