Keller earns silver
Making his third straight appearance at the state championship meet, Tyler Keller wanted to put in his best state-meet performance in his final trip the meet.
He accomplished his goal, finishing in second place Saturday at Bucnkell University’s Kinney Natatorium.
“This year, even though it was my senior year, I felt the most pressure because of how much was on the line,” said Keller, who will dive next year at Lehigh University. “I’ve by far enjoyed this year the most. It was the most fun year out of all of them. I’m really happy the way it turned out. All my hard work paid off. It’s just amazing.”
Just two dives into the 11-dive meet, Keller was in second place behind eventual champ Dillon Novak of Big Spring. But after low scores on his second and third dives dropped Keller out of the top 10, he slowly crept back up the leaderboard.
He scored 44.2 points on his fifth dive, a front two and a half pike, to pull back into the top five after the preliminary round. Keller moved into fourth place over the three-dive semifinal round with three dives remaining in his high school career.
“It was a roller coaster of a meet,” said Keller. “Everything was up and down. At the end I really pulled through. The difference between this year and last year was I had my weaker dives at the end of the list this year, but this year I put my stronger dives so it really helped me pull through since I was behind toward the end.”
Keller got to third place with his first dive of finals then went ahead of Quinn Rollman of Shamokin with his 11th dive, the most difficult one that he performed Saturday.
“The biggest game changer for me was my inward two and a half,” Keller said. “That put me on top. That’s the hardest dive on my list and I’m glad I hit that.
It was just awesome to end this way.”
After taking up the sport as a freshman, Keller said he got serious during his sophomore season, when he earned his first trip to states and finished sixth with 412.60 points.
His return trip last year garnered a seventh-place finish with 362.85 points.
This season Keller finished with 394.1 points, second only to Novak with 518.9.