Northwest Ohio had a strong showing at the Division II state diving competition last week in Canton with, from left, Lacy Mynhier, Wauseon (fourth), Kendall Weber, Wauseon (first), Samantha TenEyck, Lake (third), and Bailey Dipman, Genoa (fifth).
WAUSEON -- Kendall Weber had been here before.
The Wauseon senior was competing last week for the fourth time at the Division II state 1-meter diving championships in Canton.
The first three tries she fell short of the top spot on the podium. Not this time.
Weber dominated the field and finished with 432.50 points to claim the championship.
After placing third at state as a freshman, ninth as a sophomore and third last year, Weber finally reached her goal.
"People are still congratulating me, which is awesome," Weber said. "It's a different feeling knowing that you did it."
Weber's rise to the top has been quite impressive.
"I've had a bunch of girls go to the state meet but she's the first to win it," Wauseon diving coach Tom Burkholder said. "I was proud as a coach to see that she was rewarded for her hard work."
Weber began diving competitively only four years ago after initially being approached in the eighth grade. Burkholder saw potential as a diver in someone who had participated in gymnastics.
Weber rejected the idea initially, but had a change of heart.
The work with Burkholder began and early signs of her competing at a high level were quite apparent. She had the athletic ability and body control needed to pull off some of the most difficult dives.
Wauseon's Kendall Weber dives at the Division II state meet in Canton. Weber won the championship this year after finishing third, ninth, and third in previous tries.
"She's a lot of fun to watch and she's a great athlete and a great diver," Burkholder said.
Steady and continual progress led her to a first experience competing at the state meet and remarkably she placed third, the first of three straight years in the top 10.
However, Weber wasn't satisfied. Hours of practice and training were put in to improve her dives. She studied and trained to get better with the goal of a state championship.
"She trained six days a week, 2 1/2 hours a day," Burkholder said.
She was quite determined to get the job done this time.
"I just had to be confident in my dives knowing I had a lot of support, no matter what happened," Weber said, of her approach for the state competition this season.
The Indians claimed two of the top four places at the D-II meet. Lacy Mynhier, a senior, captured fourth place with a score of 383.70, finishing behind Weber, Columbus Wellington's Brittany Anderson (415.25), and Lake senior Samantha TenEyck (401.40).
Genoa junior Bailey Dipman was fifth with a 375.55, giving northwest Ohio four of the top five spots.
Mynhier, who is Weber's best friend, has accomplished her own share of success despite some back problems.
Competing with two bulging discs, Mynhier produced her best showing of her four years at the state competition. She placed 10th as a freshman and sophomore and sixth as a junior.
"We've been each other's biggest supporter," said Weber, referring to Mynhier. "We've always wanted nothing more for each other than to see each other do her best."
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.
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