LINCOLN — Norfolk’s Cayd McCarter came in fourth at the Nebraska State Diving Championships with a total score of 439.20, which was a new school record.
Millard South senior Zach Boyd stole the show, however, as he became just the 10th male in state history to score at least 500 points in an 11-dive program at the state meet. Boyd scored a 55.50 on his final dive to finish with 501.20 points, good for No. 10 on the Omaha World-Herald’s all-time list.
Kearney’s Michael Huebner edged Koby Bretz of Omaha Westside 468.80 to 462.00 for second place in the competition at the Bob Devaney Sports Center natatorium.
Boyd is the second Millard South diver to win the state gold medal — Shawn Schuessler won the 1995 title with a score of 456.40.
The good kind of goofy is how Patriots coach Becky Sedlacek described Boyd’s approach to the not-as-serious moments at practices and competitions. But when a strong focus is required, Sedlacek said Boyd is all business.
“He’s goofy, but when it comes to his actual corrections, he’s so coachable,” Sedlacek said. “The goofy goes away and he’s serious and he takes it to heart. Then he fixes it and wins state.”
For Boyd it comes down to a formula that he has worked to perfect the past few seasons.
“A dive is only 30 seconds long,” Boyd said. “If you can just focus for 30 seconds, it should all work out.”
Boyd didn’t need any surprises or an aha dive to earn his victory. Even the self-described big boy dives, four in all, are ones Boyd has thrown in previous competitions.
“The dives he was doing — the big boy dives, he calls them — it’s what he does,” Sedlacek said. “He’s been doing them, and he’s perfected them, and he makes them look easy.”
Two of those dives came late in Boyd’s program. His seventh dive, a reverse dive pike, helped Boyd build a 30-point lead just before the second break.
“We definitely put a lot of work in at practices,” Boyd said. “Not letting anything slide, making sure we nailed every dive, going through everything, nitpicking.”
Then there was the final dive of the meet, a back 2½ somersault tuck with a 3.0 degree of difficulty. Boyd’s performance earned him a 55.50 that pushed him over the 500-point threshold.
By that point Boyd knew the coveted gold medal was his. No reason for the South Dakota State recruit to hold back now.
“I was pretty confident seeing all of the other boys go,” Boyd said. “They’re crazy, they pull stuff out of nowhere all the time. I was pretty confident.”
Sedlacek was not surprised.
“He’s worked so hard for so long,” Sedlacek said. “He’s so focused at meets, he was so dialed in. I think it’s just his maturity.”
State medalists: 1. Megan Carter, Omaha Marian, 464.70; 2. Audrey Frohloff, Millard West, 411.25; 3. Claire Hartley, Omaha Marian, 388.45; 4. Anna Kwong, Omaha Duchesne, 374.75; 5. Dahly Long, Omaha Central, 371.25; 6. Kylie Grause, Millard West, 361.55; 7. Aleni Stoakes, Lincoln Southwest, 355.75; 8. Lainey Woodward, Millard West, 353.95.
Other finalists: 9. Blake Dreher, Papillion-La Vista/South, 349.45; 10. Maddie Hertzler, Millard West, 345.40; 11. Caroline Phelan, Lincoln Pius X, 344.30; 12. Jessica Gardner, Lincoln North Star, 336.25; 13. Maggie Hayes, Lincoln Southeast, 310.40; 14. Peyton Prussa, Lincoln Southwest, 297.20; 15. Natalie Siahpush, Millard North, 288.95; 16. Emma Budzinski, Ralston/Omaha Gross, 282.35.
Norfolk individual: 34. Kiran Walker, Norfolk, 101.95.
State medalists: 1. Zach Boyd, Millard South, 501.20; 2. Michael Huebner, Kearney, 468.80; 3. Koby Bretz, Omaha Westside, 462.00; 4. Cayd McCarter, Norfolk, 439.20; 5. Isaiah Winston, Lincoln High, 394.45; 6. Jonathan Brouillette, North Platte, 376.00; 7. Charles Frisbie, Elkhorn/Elkhorn South, 374.20; 8. Guy Hunt, Elkhorn/Elkhorn South, 355.20.
Other finalists: 9. Jacobi Walton, Lincoln North Star, 347.10; 10. Jack Haeffner, Lincoln Northeast, 342.75; 11. Brock Wilwerding, Millard West, 338.60; 12. Richard Harbols, Kearney, 334.55; 13. Nate Hopkins, Norfolk, 329.05; 14. Nolan Bangtson, Millard West, 323.70; 15. Patrick Rathbun, Millard South, 316.65; 16. Blake Turpen, Hastings, 298.30.