MISHAWAKA | It’s safe to say Northwest Indiana will be well represented in the diving event at Saturday’s IHSAA state meet.
Portage’s John Fannin got a taste of what competing at state was like last season as a junior. However, after winning Tuesday’s Penn Regional with a final score of 437.15 points, Fannin is ready to utilize some increased confidence at state.
“I’m speechless,” said Fannin, who relied on his reverse two and a half somersaults dive. “It will probably hit me on the way home on the bus. It’s two years in a row now. Last year was just getting used to state. Now, I’ll get out there and actually compete with the top competitors. There’s still some improvement for Saturday.”
Lake Central sophomore Alex Morgan placed third (387.05), and freshman teammate Drake Hunt finished sixth (366.25), allowing the Indians to add two competitors to an already well-represented team at state.
“It’s a lot better with a teammate,” Morgan said. “I was worried one of us wouldn’t qualify. It’s going to be a lot better bus ride, especially with a friend.”
Hunt is ready to test his skills among the state’s elite divers.
“I’m very excited, especially because I’m only a freshman,” he said. “I’m pretty skilled at (diving), so I’m very excited to see how much competition there is.”
Highland junior Mitch Mastey will make his first trip to state after placing seventh with 365.90 points. He joins Chris Dabrowski, who qualified in the 200 free and 500 free after winning both events in Saturday’s Munster Sectional.
“It feels great just to go down there (for Highland),” he said. “It’s just me and Chris. I’ve worked really hard, and it just feels awesome.”
Crown Point senior Sage Chiaro has never felt the rush of competing at state. Chiaro finished a heartbreaking ninth place at last season’s South Bend Riley Regional. This time, Chiaro punched his ticket with an eighth-place finish (358.45).
“It’s great to be down there with the swimmers this year,” Chiaro said. “It’s fantastic and I’m excited. I just missed it last year. I’m just ecstatic right now. I’ve been working four years for this, and I’m finally doing it.”