Bonner breaks records; Falcon divers finish 1-2-3
The Salisbury Falcons were certainly well represented at the District 11 Diving Championships held last weekend at Emmaus High School. Three Salisbury divers were among the eight participants and when all was said and done, the Falcons swept the top three spots in the meet, with Dennis Bonner not only capturing first place, but also setting both a pool and district record and capturing the Dennis McGinley Award as the best overall diver in the meet.
Bonner was followed by Tyler Keller and Dan Bujcs, who finished second and third, respectively. All three held their positions in the meet from the first dive through their final dive, with Bonner scoring a 528.90, a new record for both the Emmaus pool and District 11. Keller finished with a 467.60, while Bujcs scored a 419.45, well ahead of fourth-place finisher Thorn Devlin, who finished fourth with a 337.20 in the 11-dive meet.
The scoring was aided slightly by a change in judging the difficulty of dives. The National Federation of High Schools changed their difficulty range for dives to bring them in line with those of both the NCAA and USA Diving. While the change did help divers increase scores, the performance of all three - in particular, Bonner - was still well ahead of how all three dove last season.
Bonner, a senior, admits that coming into the meet he was hopeful of setting a new record, but he wasn't even focusing on the scores throughout the meet, let alone thinking about the record.
"The goals were just to do as well as I could and, hopefully, break a record," he said. "The whole meet I tried to not look at the score, because there were many meets where I did that and it just messed me up."
The distinction of finishing second or third is big, since the top two divers will get to compete in the PIAA Championships, which will be held next month at Bucknell University. Keller makes his first trip to states, along with Bonner.
"I am happy with it," said Keller. "I beat my record by over 200 points from last year, so I've shown improvement. I've never been to states before, but I'm going to try just as hard as I did today and give it my all."
While Bujcs was disappointed in not getting to go to states, he was happy for his two teammates and battled both of them throughout the meet. He also is already looking forward to he and Keller, who are both juniors this season, possibly both heading to states next season.
"Denny, I knew was going to do really well, because he's gotten so much better, so it was basically between me and Tyler," said Bujcs. "He's gotten better and I've been improving my skills, so basically he and I were going at it and it was a lot of fun. I think Tyler and I can both get so much better than we already are."
As for sweeping the top three spots, it was something that all three thought was possible, but in the end, it just came down to the fact that all three have pushed each other throughout the season.
"There's just three of us," said Keller. "I guess we all wanted it and tried our hardest."