By KEVIN ROBERTS
The CCC West Division is well aware of Southington senior diver Chase Galayda, who entered the Feb. 26 championship meet as the defending champion. As it turned out, it wasn’t Galayda who put together the top performance for the Blue Knights at the Westminster School in Simsbury.
Junior Emerson Joseph (E.J.) Suski turned in a terrific effort that was only bested by Simsbury junior Malaki Tatum, who won the meet. Tatum turned in a score of 275.8 while Suski was second at 242.0.
“He was on from first dive through the 11th. He really had an excellent meet,” coach Evan Tuttle said of Suski. “He was focused, and once you hit that first one, you kind of get in the zone, and he rode it the entire way. He had a phenomenal meet, runner up in the CCC. Malaki, obviously, was equally as good, with a little higher degree of difficulty and a little higher scores.”
Suski was joined in the Top 10 by Galayda (203.0), junior Ben Ragozzine (162.65) and junior Ben Smith (160.95). Galayda finished sixth, Ragozzine was eighth and Smith was ninth. Senior captain Kian Sadat took 14th place (146.95). The top three scores from each team were counted.
“It’s not bad at all, especially within this conference,” Tuttle said of the Top 10 performances. “The CCC West has come a long way in the last few years in terms of diving. It really wasn’t that long ago that if you were breaking 200, you’ve got a chance of winning the West. The entire conference has come a long way. You’re going to see a lot of those names at their class finals and at the open meet. It’s a very deep conference for diving.”
Southington picked up 27 team points in diving from Suski (13), Galayda (9) and Ragozzine (5). The 27 team points tied the Knights with Simsbury for the most scored by a team at the diving meet.
As with swimming, there are places where the divers can improve, Tuttle said. The divers will be looking to focus on one thing to improve on for the Class LL trials, which were scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Middletown High School.
“They’ve got some work to do within the next week to get ready for trials and finals,” Tuttle said.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com
Photos by KEVIN ROBERTS