02/09/12 — Devin Hall repeats as 3-A state champion in 1-meter diving

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Devin Hall repeats as 3-A state champion in 1-meter diving

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 9, 2012 1:48 PM

CARY -- Wrapped in towels and arms crossed, they gathered together as the meet director read the final results.

Devin Hall closed his eyes.

He listened as the meet director revealed the scores for the 1-meter diving competition and wondered if he had done enough to either make the top three or retain his state championship.

"I was scared," said Hall.

No worries.

Hall successfully defended his crown during the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A event contested in the Triangle Aquatic Center pool Wednesday afternoon. The sophomore, who has been diving a little more than 13 months, compiled 327 points and emerged the first-ever Charles B. Aycock athlete to win multiple state titles in any sport.

It was the same order of finish as last year with West Henderson teammates Lee Fullam and Joseph Manzi taking the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

"It was a lot more stressful," said Hall. "This year, I had to step up a little bit because it (the competition) was a lot closer. This one (state title), I think, feels better because I defended it and there was more anticipation."

The anticipation grew with each dive.

Competitors battled for 11 rounds and Hall thought he might have squandered his gold-medal chance on his 10th dive -- a forward 1 1/2 somersault with a 1/2 twist. He got a good jump off the springboard, but had a small mental lapse while in the air.

"I froze up," said Hall.

Somehow, he managed to salvage the dive.

"But I thought I ruined any chance I had," he said.

Hall didn't.

He nailed a textbook forward double on his final dive that drew a score of 7.5 from one judge and sent his Golden Falcon teammates into a frenzy. Diving coach Richard Custer and Aycock head coach Zeke Jackson offered their congratulations once he exited the pool.

"I was thinking to myself I wanted to win and I was going to hit it," said Hall. "When I saw the scores, I thought if I didn't win, then he Fullam deserved it. I did all I could on that last dive ... best one I have ever done. It was a clutch dive."

Hall is the second swimming state champ in Aycock history along with Charlie Hughes, who secured the 100 butterfly title in 2001. Hall becomes the sixth swimmer in Wayne County history to earn multiple state crowns along with Chuck Darden, Michael Chenier, Megan Chenier, Mason Chenier and Collin Hobbs since 1986.