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Division I boys state diving: Nordonia junior Stephen Romanik wins state title

By Michael Beaven
Beacon Journal sports writer

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Nordonia's Stephen Romanik dives during early rounds in the Division 1 Ohio State High School Diving Championships Saturday at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. Romanik finished in first place and won the state diving title. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)

CANTON: Nordonia junior Stephen Romanik moved up one spot on the podium to the state champion position Saturday.

Romanik traded places with his good friend, Hudson junior Alex Obendorf, to win the Division I state boys 1-meter diving championship with 557.15 points at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Obendorf, last year’s state champ, finished second Saturday with 512.50 points.

“It feels really good [to be a state champ],” Romanik said. “My freshman year, I saw the type of diving that was going on, and I realized that I needed to rise to the competition and try to do my best to succeed.

“Last year was a little bit of a heartbreak, but I was still happy at how it turned out. Somebody has to be second and I was glad to fill that spot. This year, I went into this just thinking how I wanted it to turn out and I was visualizing this in my head.”

Romanik’s score Saturday was a career best and the second highest in the history of the state meet. The record of 574.60 was set in 2006.

“Stephen did a great job,” said his coach Kristin Dodson. “He was against some tough competitors that he competes with all year round, and he did better than them all day.”

Romanik said he was “really excited” about his 11th and final dive, a reverse 1½ with two and a half twists. He was also pleased with his inward 2½ tuck.

Lake senior Jonathon Schlafer finished fifth with 488.20 points. GlenOak senior Austin Baad (452.95 points) placed seventh out of 24 divers and Brunswick senior Ty Talley (446.10 points) was eighth.

“I have enjoyed the past few years and seeing how good we have gotten,” Obendorf said. “Jon, Stephen and I always cheer each other on and congratulate each other when we do better. … I hope Stephen and I can get top two again next year.”

Romanik won sectional and district titles at the University of Akron and Cleveland State University, respectively, leading into the state meet. He was second in the state as a sophomore and fifth in the state as a freshman.

Obendorf won the state title as a sophomore and finished third in the state as a freshman.

“We have been good teammates for a while [with the Akron Rippers Diving Club],” Romanik said. “I think it has been about 5½ years so far.”

Dodson and Chris Medvedeff coach Romanik, Obendorf and Schlafer through the Akron Rippers Diving Club, which is based at UA.

“They are just a great group of kids,” Dodson said. “They push each other and they cheer for each other. I am a little emotional over Jon because he is a senior and this is his last meet.”

Canton McKinley junior Jackson Gray finished 22nd.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.