JACKSON TWP — Kenzie Clark sent the Seneca Valley Natatorium out in style.
The Raiders' senior diver broke the school record in the girls event with a score of 289.70 in Thursday's home meet against Butler, topping her own standard of 276.30, set just two weeks ago.
The meet is the last scheduled dual meet for Seneca's original natatorium, which is over 50 years old. A new aquatic center is expected to open next fall.
Adding to the drama of Clark's effort was that it came on Senior Recognition Night.
“I came into the meet tonight thinking that this was my last (home) meet,” said Clark. “I just wanted to do my best and see what happens.”
Entering this season, SV's girls diving record of 267.0 was held by 2008 graduate Dianna Rocco.
Clark placed third at WPIALs last year.
“My inward one and a half (somersault) was definitely my best dive tonight, but all of them were really good,” said Clark. “My goal is to again finish top three at WPIALs and make the state meet, but the competition is going to be really good.”
Clark, who will attend and compete at Penn State University, did not join Seneca's diving team until her junior year. She trained at the University of Pittsburgh as a sophomore.
“She had a background in gymnastics and good gymnasts always have good technique,” said SV diving coach Nancy Laslavic. “At that point, it's just getting them to go from a forward motion to an upward motion.
“She's a great diver and we're glad we have her.”
So is SV swimming coach Brian Blackwell, who watched Clark help the girls to a 101-80 win over Butler while the boys defeated the Golden Tornado 102-73.
Both Raider teams improved to 13-1 on the season.
SV's Trevor Elliott won the boys diving event with a score of 255.80.
“Our divers have really stepped up this season, both boys and girls, they've been a major plus for us,” Blackwell said.
The best finish of the night in swimming events came in the girls 200-yard individual medley. Butler's Laura Goettler, three-time defending WPIAL champion in the event, edged SV's Kendall Craig by one-hundredth of a second.
“Kendall will be swimming that event at WPIALs, so they will see each other again,” said Blackwell. “Laura's such a great (swimmer in the IM) and Kendall has come on really strong.”
The Raiders got a pair of individual wins from Abigail Perry, who set the pace in the 200 and 500 freestyle.
Owen Blazer won twice in individual events for SV's boys, taking first in the butterfly and backstroke.
“We swam fast at the start of the season and some of our kids have just kept getting faster,” said Blackwell. “We have already started to get mentally prepared for WPIALs. We swam North Allegheny recently and that's always a big meet.”
The Tornado got double wins from Goettler and Abbie Griffith on the girls side and Ben Borvendeg on the boys side.
“We switched things up a bit in our lineup, gave some people a shot to make (WPIAL) cuts,” said Butler coach Dave Bocci. “It worked out for Gideon (Goettler). He qualified in the IM and breaststroke.”
Both Tornado teams finish the season at 5-5, but Butler has a number of swimmers who have high hopes for the upcoming postseason meets.
The WPIAL championships are scheduled Feb. 27-28 at Pitt's Trees Pool.
“The volume of work in the pool is going to be cut and the weightlifting is over,” said Bocci. “We know who we are. We know we can swim faster at WPIALs.”
Seneca Valley 101, Butler 80
200 medley relay: 1-Butler (Abbie Griffith, Laura Goettler, Ellie Weiss, Savannah Holt) 1:52.48
200 freestyle: 1-Abigail Perry (SV) 2:02.35
200 individual medley: 1-Goettler (B) 2:07.69
50 freestyle: 1-Kristen Bedell (SV) 25.58
1-meter diving: 1-Kenzie Clark (SV) 289.70
100 butterfly: 1-Griffith (B) 59.23
100 freestyle: 1-Julia Listwak (SV) 55.92
500 freestyle: 1-Perry (SV) 5:29.98
200 freestyle relay: 1-Seneca Valley (Bella Stefanowicz, Annabel Morrisard, Listwak, Kendall Craig) 1:43.54
100 backstroke: 1-Griffith (B) 1:01.46
100 breaststroke: 1-Goettler (B) 1:05.86
400 freestyle relay: 1-Seneca Valley (Stefanowicz, Perry, Morrisard, Craig) 3:49.79
Seneca Valley 102, Butler 73
200 medley relay: 1-Seneca Valley (Kevin Donaldson, Haihan Xu, Gavin Blazer, Max Skeen) 1:41.23
200 freestyle: 1-Daniel Simoes (SV) 1:48.82
200 individual medley: 1-Sam Deemer (B) 2:01.84
50 freestyle: 1-Ben Borvendeg (B) 21.9
1-meter diving: 1-Trevor Elliott (SV) 255.80
100 butterfly: 1-Owen Blazer (SV) 50.98
100 freestyle: 1-Borvendeg (B) 48.35
500 freestyle: 1-David Bocci (B) 4:58.38
200 freestyle relay: 1-Seneca Valley (O. Blazer, Simoes, Skeen, Donaldson) 1:28.75
100 backstroke: 1-O. Blazer (SV) 53.62
100 breaststroke: 1-Xu (SV) 1:01.35
400 freestyle relay: 1-Seneca Valley (Donaldson, Simoes, G. Blazer, O. Blazer) 3:17.27