El Toro’s Savannah Stocker went from contender to champion Tuesday at the CIF-SS Division 1 diving championships.
After two years of challenging for top honors, Stocker captured her first title by out-dueling Capistrano Valley’s duo of Hayley Montague and Markie Hopkins and strong ensemble at Riverside City College.
Stocker sealed the victory on her 11th and final dive, scoring a perfect 10 and two 9.0s on an inward dive pike on the 1-meter springboard to finish with 546.55 points. Her total was enough to pass Montague (531.50) and Hopkins (530.60), the defending champion, by about 15 points apiece.
“This was a breakthrough,” Stocker said in a phone interview after the meet. “I’m super-stoked. I’ve been working really hard and feel like my hard work is finally paying off.”
Stocker finished fifth in Division 1 last season and took third in Division 2 as a freshman.
Stocker’s strong finish was one of several signs of progress. The two-time state qualifier executed a more challenging list of Tuesday, including four dives on the 3-meter springboard, seven with at least a degree of difficult of 2.10 or higher and three with 2 1/2 somersaults.
Stocker also scored a 10 on her second dive, a back dive pike on the 1-meter springboard.
“I’m more consistent now,” said Stocker, who in September began training with Trojan Dive Club and Coach Hongping Li at USC. “I know how to calm myself now. .. That’s part of the experience.”
Stocker also excelled at her back dives. Her final three dives were back dives, eliminating the sometimes tricky hurdle of the front dive.
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