[Please run mugs of Kaemon Jiles and Cordell Glass. They have both been Athletes of the Week this year, and both made it to state.]
BLOOMINGTON — Tuesday’s Bloomington North Diving Regional provided plenty of drama for two Columbus competitors, with both of their fortunes coming down to the final dive.
Columbus North junior Kaemon Jiles led the competition going into the 11th and final dive but ended up finishing second by less than a half point. Columbus East senior Cordell Glass was in 10th place going into the final attempt but pulled off a big final dive to move into the eighth and final state-qualifying spot.
“It was probably one of the worst (meets) of my career, but at least I didn’t fail any dives,” Glass said. “I just was a little nervous about it because I knew I wasn’t having my greatest meet, so I knew I had to hit those to get in.”
Jiles, the defending regional champion, led for most of the competition and held a nearly 13-point lead when the field was cut from 20 to 12 divers after eight rounds. He still led by 5.55 points going into the final dive but managed only a 28.80 on a low degree-of-difficulty back pike.
That allowed Castle’s Jordan Wright, who had finished just before Jiles in the diving order, to slim past him 405.70 to 405.25.
“It wasn’t any crazy dive,” Jiles said of his final attempt. “It’s not one of my best. I put it in the bottom, so it doesn’t keep me from advancing on. I wasn’t really expecting to get too many points, so whenever I did that dive, I was just hoping to get around 30 to hold onto it.”
Jiles did receive a rare 10 from one of the judges on his fifth dive. He scored a 58.50 on that attempt.
“I feel like some dives I did fairly well, and others I could have done better,” Jiles said. “All in all I think I did fairly well. It’s like a relief I got this meet over with. One more to go, and then I can start prepping for next season.”
Glass, meanwhile, was in 11th place after nine dives and was still in 10th after 10, exactly 10 points out of fourth. But he nailed a reverse 1½ somersault, 1½ twist with a high degree-of-difficulty to score a 39.00.
That gave Glass 326.40 points, 2.55 more than ninth-place Hunter Ongay of Mooresville.
Glass had qualified for regional as a freshman and junior but was disqualified from both meets after failing two dives in each.
“I don’t compete too well on these boards,” Glass said. “I always get really nervous on these boards. One is slanted, so it makes it really hard to dive, and the other one I can’t jump off because it’s too solid. I got lucky this year.”
Jennings County had two divers make the finals, but they came up a little short in their bids to qualify for state. Junior Noah Anderson finished 10th with 320.50 points, and sophomore Austin Mills was 11th with 319.90.
Jiles and Glass will compete Saturday at IUPUI’s Indiana Natatorium, beginning with the prelims and semifinals at 9 a.m. The top 16 made the finals, which will be within the 1 p.m. swimming finals.
After finishing 26th at state last year, Jiles is looking to move up. Glass hopes for a big day in his first trip to state.
“I know I can dive a lot better on those boards,” Glass said. “I’ve dove there before at camps and such. I know those boards, I can hit all my dives on, so I’m hoping I can do much better at state. It’s not going to look anything like this.”