Woodland’s Mulligan wins NVL diving title

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By Mark Jaffee, Republican-American

Woodland’s DJ Mulligan dives during a meet against Holy Cross March 16 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. Mulligan won the diving event. – STEVEN VALENTI/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

WATERTOWN — Right from the outset, Woodland High junior D.J. Mulligan felt good March 23 with a strong score on a one-and-half pike.

“It went smooth and I felt pretty good,” said Mulligan of the first of 11 dives at the Naugatuck Valley League championships at Watertown High.

Mulligan would keep the winning pace, finishing with 412.80 points to capture the title.

“Toward the start of the meet, I was a little nervous, but after the first dive, I was cool, calm, collected,” said Mulligan, who was fourth in the NVL last year with a score of 333.40. “I was pretty confident going into this season. I was older and more experienced.”

Senior Justin Stone of Naugatuck was the runner-up (370.90 points) with junior DeAngelo Allen of Woodland taking third (340.80). Emma Nugai of Watertown was fourth (329.85).

Other divers were sophomore Jayson Main of Naugatuck (260.00), sophomore Blake Stone of Naugatuck (247.50) and junior Tasha Turshani of Woodland (205.15).

Last year, Marcas Racevicius of Holy Cross (467.70) was the champion followed by second-place finisher Ethan Phaneuf of Naugatuck (372.30) and third-place finisher Chris Whibey of Holy Cross (334.95) with Mulligan taking fourth.

The top three all graduated in 2020. Riley Clark of Woodland was a three-time champion in 2017, 2018 and 2019.