CANTON: Walsh Jesuit sophomore Kailey Francetic reached the podium Thursday at C.T. Branin Natatorium as a top-eight finisher in the Division I state 1-meter girls diving meet.
She was eighth out of 24 divers with a score of 429.65 points following 11 dives.
Powell Olentangy Liberty junior Olivia Ball won the state title with 461.75 points. New Albany sophomore Estee Pryor took second with 461.50 points and Mason senior Madeline Sewell was third with 453.20 points.
“This is just awesome,” Francetic said. “I came last year and I wanted to get on the podium, but I was just three places off. This year my goal was to get on there. I am really excited that I was able to accomplish my goal.
“My future in the sport looks good. I just want to improve as much as I can. Every day I want to keep getting better and better. I want to make sure that next year I don’t mess up any dives.”
Francetic, a 16-year-old Hudson resident, said she has been diving for seven years after formerly competing in dance. She also does the pole vault in track and field at Walsh.
“Kailey had a great meet,” Walsh diving coach Kristin Dodson said. “I thought she could have done a little bit better, but her last three dives were very solid. We set it up that way so she could go into the last round and do well.
“I think her future is really bright. It was a tough competition with some very good girls, and she stuck with them.”
Kailey’s older brother, Walsh senior Cole Francetic, was also in attendance Thursday with family members. He was 14th in the Division II state boys diving meet Wednesday.
“It was really awesome seeing my little sister compete,” Cole said. “She has always been the kind of my person to look up to in this sport. It is kind of weird being the older brother and looking up at your sister, but this is my fourth year in diving. I started as a freshman. She is the one who showed me the ropes. To watch her go and compete is awesome because she taught me how to dive.”
Cole, 17, also runs cross country and competes in the pole vault in track and field at Walsh. He has an athletic background in soccer, baseball and gymnastics.
The only other area divers in the state meet were from Cuyahoga Falls. Black Tigers junior Nicole Rozsa finished 21st and sophomore Erika Shane was 24th.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.