Clovis West High’s Colby Evangelinos waited for his time, while Buchanan’s Kiree Lowe had to be talked into giving diving one more shot.
Both, however, emerged with their first Central Section championships this week.
Evangelinos won the boys diving event with 404.70 points and Lowe topped the girls field with 363.10 to kick off the Division I Swimming and Diving Championships, which concludes with the swimming finals at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Clovis Olympic Swim Complex. The D-II swimming finals will be at Sunnyside, starting at 10:30 a.m.
Evangelinos has steadily improved over his four seasons at Clovis West, placing fourth as a freshman and sophomore, then third as a junior at the D-I finals. He missed out on qualifying for the first CIF State Championships last season by 22.70 points, finishing with the fourth-best overall score when the D-I and D-II results were combined.
“After working hard for four years for it, winning it was pretty exciting,” Evangelinos said. “It’s been a lot of work. There’s always been someone better than me. So being able to win was amazing.”
After working hard for four years for it, winning it was pretty exciting. It’s been a lot of work. There’s always been someone better than me. So being able to win was amazing.
Central Section Division I boys diving champion Colby Evangelinos of Clovis West
This year, Evangelinos scored 3.20 more points than the diver who edged him for a spot at state last season, Tulare Western’s Paul Flora, who won the D-II meet with a score of 401.50 to qualify for state.
Evangelinos also finished ahead of close friend and teammate Justin White, second in the D-I meet with a state-qualifying 375.50.
Evangelinos and White have battled back and forth all season, with White winning at the Clovis West Invitational and Evangelinos at the Tri-River Athletic Conference finals.
“This was one of my better meets,” Evangelinos said. “I didn’t mess up too many, and was able to hold everyone off.”
With Evangelinos, White, Charles Tobias (eighth) and Xavier Amaral-Flores (10th) all finishing in the top 10, Clovis West (55 points) opened a 30-point lead over Buchanan (25) in the team race one season after seeing its 16-year section title winning streak snapped by Clovis.
Lowe improved on her past performance, too.
She place second in the D-I finals last season while making her diving debut after spending seven years as a competitive gymnast.
Lowe contemplated passing on diving this season because of her commitments to the school and competitive club cheerleading squads, but was talked into joining the team by a close friend.
She was 11th at the Clovis West Invitational, 69.90 points behind champion Randi Berg of Clovis West. Lowe beat Berg by 4.60 points for the TRAC title and 1.45 points for the section title.
“It meant a lot of me because of how hard we worked,” Lowe said. “I’m very proud. I feel really fortunate I get to represent my school.”
It meant a lot of me because of how hard we worked. I’m very proud. I feel really fortunate I get to represent my school.
Central Section Division I girls diving champion Kiree Lowe of Buchanan
Lowe credits her gymnastics background for helping her in diving.
“It really helped me,” Lowe said. “It taught me control on my dives.”
Berg (361.65) and Liberty-Bakersfield’s third-place Gillian Garcia (357.05) also qualified for state. D-II champion Heather Hutchinson of Golden West scored 313.90 points.
Clovis West’s girls, seeking their 20th straight section title, led the team race with 46 points after getting top-five finishes from Berg, Claire Nevosh (fourth) and Victoria Funk (fifth). Buchanan is second with 34.
During swimming preliminaries Friday, Tulare Western’s Mallory Korenwinder swam an automatic All-America time of 1:02.10 in the girls 100 breaststroke and a consideration All-America 55.62 in the 100 fly, both D-II records.
There were five consideration All-America swims in boys D-I: Clovis’ Zach Koch in the 50 free (21.09), Clovis West’s Jacob Roberts (46.26) and Clovis’ Jacob Rolih (46.48) in the 100 free, and Clovis (1:26.06) and Buchanan (1:26.38) in the 200 free relay.
Central Section Swimming and Diving Championships
1. Colby Evangelinos, Clovis West, 404.70; 2. Justin White, Clovis West, 375.30; 3. Marcos Garcia, Buchanan, 347.50; 4. Loto Lealaimatafao, Sanger, 324.75; 5. Lucas Brumm, Clovis North, 309.90; 6. Joshua Depaz, Bullard, 305.30; 7. Jaxon Carreno, Clovis, 296.55; 8. Charles Tobias, Clovis West, 275.50; 9. Cj Paolilli, Buchanan, 272.00; 10. Xavier Amaral-Flores, Clovis West, 269.70; 11. Daniel Bustamante, Bullard, 240.45; 12. Dante Scalena, Garces, 235.95; Isamel Valdez, Bullard, 225.90.
1. Paul Flora, Tulare Western, 401.50; 2. Kaelan Craig, Madera South, 370.15; 3. Kenneth Spicer, Golden West, 302.90; 4. Adrian Vazquez, Golden West, 301.75; 5. Jimmy Rawson, Kingsburg, 278.70; 6. Kingsley Togioka, Kingsburg, 274.35; 7. Micah Abney, Hoover, 256.00; 8. Jacob Norman, Exeter, 254.35; 9. Seth Lippincott, Tulare, 251.70; 10. Garrett Bonds, Mt. Whitney, 250.30; 11. Jaden Garvin, Golden West, 246.85; 12. Jaylan Neal, Madera South, 245.40; 13. Andrew Brown, Exeter, 238.10; 14. Jovanie Martinez, Madera, 234.90; 15. Jose Valencia, Kingsburg, 228.35; 16. Grant Cahill, El Diamante, 199.70.
1. Kiree Lowe, Buchanan, 363.10; Randi Berg, Buchanan, 361.65; 3. Gillian Garcia, Liberty-Bakersfield, 357.05; 4. Claire Nevosh, Clovis West, 326.15; 5. Victoria Funk, Clovis West, 324.70; 6. Savannah Uhlir, Clovis East, 322.95; 7. Sophia Bouldoukian, Garces, 307.95; 8. Paige Le, Buchanan, 303.05; 9. Molly Borders, Clovis North, 301.45; 10. Kaitlyn McDonnell, Liberty, 291.60; 11. Kimberly Mielke, Garces, 286.75; 12. Ashley Vitale, Clovis North, 286.30; 13. Savannah Crippen, Redwood, 284.95; 14. Skyy Vang, Buchanan, 284.50; 15. Avery Fong, Clovis East, 277.00; 16. Alison McArthur, Centennial, 255.90
1. Heather Hutchinson, Golden West, 313.90; 2. Amy Petris, Bakersfield Christian, 295.20; 3. Sofia Garcia Salazar, Madera, 282.45; 4. Phoebe Todenhoft, Tulare, 277.35; 5. Aubrey Carri, Hanford West, 277.30; 6. Jasmine Nelson, Central, 253.85; 7. Ireland Bos, Bakersfield Christian, 244.05; 8. Baylie Toney, madera, 241.00; 9. Haley Baldwin, Tulare, 229.25; 10. Olivia Boss, Kingsburg, 218.00; 12. Kallyn Nordell, Golden West, 202.50; 13. Audrey Gundlund, Kingsburg, 200.55; 13. Alexiz Baeza, Fresno, 177.50.