02/12/10 — Hobbs successfully defends state 3-A crown

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Hobbs successfully defends state 3-A crown

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 12, 2010 12:05 PM

CARY -- Collin Hobbs saved his best dive for last.

He didn't need it.

The Eastern Wayne junior turned in yet another consistent performance and successfully defended his N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A, 1-meter springboard diving crown at the Triangle Aquatic Center on Thursday afternoon.

"I'm pretty excited," said Hobbs in a telephone interview. "I was relatively confident, but a little nervous (before the meet). I was thinking that I really had to pull my game together so I could pull it out.

"As the reigning (state) champion, I needed to try to keep it going. There were a few divers there who were pretty good, so we definitely had a run for our money."

Warrior teammate Denzel Benjamin, a first-year diver, captured the bronze medal. It was Eastern Wayne's first-ever 1-3 finish in the state championship meet.

"How about that?," said Warriors coach Sidney Myers. "I felt good about Collin and I felt that Denzel had a chance. He's worked hard, listened, is extremely coachable and when you tell him something, he works hard and focuses on it. It showed (today).

"They both did extremely well and dove within their capabilities."

Hobbs and Benjamin got in some extra practice time when inclement weather canceled the eastern regional diving competition last weekend. Hobbs spent his afternoons with the East Carolina coaching staff, working on technique and the little extra things that help boost scores on each dive.

Hobbs' final dive, a 1 1/2 somersault, completed his 11-dive rotation. He entered the water with little splash and watched for his scores once he exited the water.

"It was the first time I've done that dive in a meet all year," said Hobbs.

Benjamin said his forward dive from the pike position to open the meet jump-started his medal performance. The judges awarded the junior with a solid score.

"I felt good that I completed it, was happy with the scores I received and that actually set the tone," said Benjamin.

Like Hobbs, Benjamin dove consistently the rest of the afternoon and he hit his peak on his ninth dive -- a reverse dive straight. A difficult dive, according to Benjamin, ended in good fashion and once again drew good scores from the judges.

Benjamin cruised from there.

"The competition was really good and when I saw people who were on my level, I decided beating them was my goal and I did it," said Benjamin. "I'm excited, but very shocked."