Naugatuck’s Montini runner-up in NVL diving

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By Ken Morse
Citizen’s News
It would be pretty difficult and highly unlikely that this year’s NVL diving championship could match last year’s dramatic conclusion where Woodland repeated as Naugatuck Valley League champions by a half of a point over Oxford.
“It’s definitely a much calmer scenario than last year,” commented Woodland coach Brendan Heller. “Certainly less stressful after winning it with the diving competition last season.”
Naugatuck’s Nick Montini, left, was second at the NVL diving championship Feb. 27 at Watertown High. Watertown’s Alban Kadiu, right, won the title. contributed photo
This year’s diving title still held much at stake as for the second straight year Naugatuck made a statement by landing three divers in the top 10 to outscore the rest of the league.
“Diving has always been one of our strong suits since I’ve been coaching Naugatuck,” said coach Dan Knepple. “We had two first-year senior divers and they both did well along with Nick Montini, who finished sixth last year.”
The NVL diving championship was held Feb. 27 at Watertown, and the Warriors’ Alban Kadiu won the title with a first-place score of 352.30 after the required 11 dives. That gave Watertown a team total of 44 points as they also captured seventh and 11th place.
Montini led the Greyhounds as NVL runner-up with a score of 333.95. Montini finished sixth last season and has been the ’Hounds’ leading diver this year.
Anthony Solberg placed fifth (263.40) and Luke Deitelbaum finished ninth (235.15) to make Naugy the top point-scorer as a team with 47 points.
“Anthony is doing front doubles and Luke is doing a reverse one and a half,” Knepple said. “I’m pleased at where they are now compared to where they started this season.”
Woodland finished third in the league in diving, scoring 30 team points, with sophomore Tyler Patchofsky placing fourth scoring a 278.05 and junior Edgar Jorge taking eighth place with a score of 239.30.
“Our guys did great,” said Heller. “Tyler took fourth and Edgar was eighth so we are really proud of them. This is Tyler’s first year of diving so he has come a long way in a very short period of time.
“Holy Cross still has a lot of superstars and Oxford has a lot of depth. So I think it will come down to the swim portion of the meet in a three team race and hopefully we can get our third and fourth swimmers scoring higher than the rest of the field.”
Holy Cross scored 28 team points and Oxford finished with 15 team points. The Greyhounds were the only team in the NVL to have three divers finish in the top 10 going into the swim portion of the NVL championship meet, held March 1 at Kennedy.
Last season, Jayson Main was the NVL runner-up for Naugy with Blake Stone finishing third and Montini sixth. It was the 52-point team total that helped the ’Hounds get past Seymour at the NVL championship to finish in fourth place.
Woodland trailed Oxford after the swimming portion, 774.5-735, and the title would come down to diving after it was postponed due to inclement weather.
The Hawks had sophomores Matt Silva and Jorge place eighth and 10th, respectively, and it was just enough team points to pull out the victory and the Hawks’ second straight NVL title.
“There were a few teams that had some divers that didn’t get all 11 dives down, including us,” added Knepple. “But I’m happy with the points we accumulated and it will certainly help us in our team total come Friday.”