LEWISBURG — A second state title ... and a bit of redemption to go with it.
That’s what Kyle Maziarz emerged from the water with Thursday afternoon.
The Cranberry Township resident and North Catholic junior won the PIAA Class AA boys diving crown in back-to-back years with a score of 447.55 at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.
“Just like last year, I was consistent with all my dives,” said Maziarz. “Whether I had a dive with a (degree of difficulty) of 1.6 or 2.8, I did it well.
“It was anyone’s game at the start, but by the fourth or fifth dive, I had the lead and never gave it up,” he added. “To win another state title, I am truly honored.”
In between his two state titles, however, Maziarz dealt with some heavy disappointment.
At last month’s WPIAL meet at South Park High School, Maziarz, who was the defending district champion entering the event, placed second behind Beaver’s Andrew Cestra. Both divers scored over 500 points to break the WPIAL meet record, but Cestra earned 12 more points to grab the crown.
“I told myself going into the WPIAL meet to not focus on my place, just my score,” Maziarz said. “I was happy for Andrew, but I was definitely disappointed with second place.
“I was so focused on what Andrew was doing because I practice with him. After WPIALs, I wanted to have more fun, starting with my practices. I wanted to enjoy the experience more.”
Cestra was runner-up Thursday with a score of 444.85.
Though he was the defending state champion, Maziarz felt more like an underdog after the way districts played out.
“My confidence was down after placing second, but then I realized that people didn’t feel like I let them down at WPIALs. Personally, I didn’t feel like the diver to beat at states, but people were telling me I was.”
After receiving his gold medal at Bucknell, it didn’t take long for Maziarz to think ahead.
“I have two state titles with one year left,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what next year brings.”