C.B. Aycock's Hall seizes 1-meter diving crown
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 14, 2011 1:47 PM
RALEIGH -- All those afternoons of turning flips on the trampoline have paid dividends for Devin Hall on the diving board this season.
He earned his biggest reward this weekend.
The Charles B. Aycock freshman seized the 2011 N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A 1-meter diving state title in the Pullen Aquatic Center pool. Hall emerged the second Golden Falcon swimmer to claim an individual state crown in program history -- nine years after Charlie Hughes won the 1-A/2-A/3-A 100 butterfly championship.
"It's just crazy," said Hall. "They were tough, lot of hard workers out there. What I really wanted to accomplish was winning a medal. I just treated it like it was any other meet.
"I can't believe I got first."
Hall racked up 329.50 points and defeated West Henderson's sophomore tandem of Lee Fullam and Joseph Manzi, who claimed the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Twelve divers, including four freshmen, comprised the field.
"After regionals, we were hoping for big things," said first-year Aycock head coach Zeke Jackson. "He got up there and looked like dynamite all day. He's self-driven and does what it takes to be successful."
Each competitor had five required and six optional dives.
Hall had changed part of his routine during an elongated break before the eastern regionals. Once he walked onto the springboard this time, he showed few nerves and more confidence.
"He stayed focused all the time, was ready to get on the board as soon as we got there," said Richard Custer, Hall's diving coach. "When he first started diving, he had the basics down about what to do in the air because he had been jumping on a trampoline in his backyard.
"We had to work on his form, clean things up a little bit so he didn't look sloppy."
Hall said he executed his dives well, but wasn't completely satisfied with his entire performance. Still, the first-year diver elevated himself into an elite class of athletes at Aycock and in Wayne County lore.
Hall is the fourth individual state champion for the Golden Falcons. Mark Aycock captured the NCHSAA 1-A/2-A pole vault title in 1970 and it took 31 years for Hughes to become the school's second individual state title-winner.
Ngu Tran won the 125-pound 3-A state wrestling crown in 2007.
"He's only been diving a month," said a surprised and ecstatic Jackson. "He's a natural, has a great sense of balance and he is able to move his body around to execute those dives."
Hall is the seventh individual state champion -- male or female -- in Wayne County history since 1986.
Aycock teammate Sam Chastain competed in the 100 backstroke, but did not place. Junior Bryce Connolly ended up eighth overall in the girls' 100 free and 14th in the 200 free, according to official results released by the NCHSAA.
Savannah Sauls swam the 500 free.
Southern Wayne's foursome of Dylan Atwood, Chad Davis, Sam Ferrell and Christian Newberry battled in the 400 free relay, but didn't advance to the championship finals.