AUBURN – Opelika High School junior Conner Pruitt captured the AHSAA State Diving Championship for the third year in a row Friday as the 56th AHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships got underway at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatic Complex.
Pruitt’s 532.90 performance set an AHSAA state record for boys’ diving – eclipsing the old record (531.95) set by Murphy’s Robert Railey in 2011.
Pruitt, competing in the 6A-7A division, has shown steady improvement since finishing seventh as an eighth grader in 2013. He posted a 242.00 score in the state meet in ’13, but followed with a 408.35 score to win the state diving title in 2014 as a freshman. He scored 498.40 as a sophomore to win the 6A-7A championship. Friday’s 532.90 also came in the 6A-7A division. The AHSAA split from one division to two last year (6A/7A and 1A/5A).
James Hughes of Grissom was second in 6A/7A Friday with a 351.65 score. Rounding out the Top 8 in 6A-7A were: Zachary El-Fallah, Spain Park (345.30); Jon Pickett, Spain Park (253.50); Garrett Taylor, Huntsville (242.75); Neil Schuetz, Huntsville (242.25); Daniel Phillips, Bob Jones (231.75); and Hampton Jarres, Huntsville (217.15).
Winning the 1A-5A division was Madison Academy’s Taylor Young, who posted 264.70 score. Runner-up was Jonathan Roth of Pope John Paul II at 239.60. Rounding out the Top 8 were, in order: Herbert Martinson, Randolph (228.10); Drew Turnipseed, St. Paul’s Episcopal (208.65); Dominic Bechen, Pope John Paul II (183.70); and Ross Cumming, St. Paul’s (173.80).
Swimming prelims were Friday night with the finals set to start at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Swimming and Diving Championships are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network with veteran sportscaster Jerry Young handling the commentary. To access the live-stream, go to www.nfhsnetwork.com.