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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Capo Valley's Cami Hidalgo soars off the 3-meter springboard Tuesday en route to capturing her third straight CIF-SS Division 1 diving title on Tuesday in Riverside.

Capo Valley's Hidalgo blows away judges in Div. 1 final

STAFF WRITER

RIVERSIDE - A judge at the CIF-SS Division 1 girls diving final joked during a brief delay Tuesday that he couldn’t find a “12” after another stellar effort by Capistrano Valley’s Cami Hidalgo.

“If I had a 12, I would have given her a 12,” veteran judge Larry Brennan later said.

The judging panel at Riverside City College settled on giving Hidalgo perfect 10s – the maximum score allowed -- an impressive 13 times as the junior captured her third consecutive Division 1 crown with a high school-best score of 599.45.

Related: Results, composite top-16 for state qualifier Saturday

Her freshmen teammates, Hayley Montague (522.20) and Markie Hopkins (482.05), gave Capistrano Valley a sweep of the top three spots.

Dana Hills senior Chris LaBella (504.05) and Fairmont Prep’s Michelle Lee (443.15) also claimed titles in Division 1 boys and Division 4 girls, respectively.

Hidalgo, a qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Trials next month in Indiana, assembled a conservative list of dives by her standards because she has been busy with AP exams. But the Mission Viejo Nadadores diver averaged a score of 8.45 over 11 divides, displaying improved height off the boards.

“I was just shooting for consistency,” said Hidalgo, who likely won’t participate in the CIF State qualifier Saturday because of the upcoming U.S. Trials. “I was surprised. I usually do (miss).”

Brennan called Hidalgo’s height on her dives “tremendous.” She highlighted her list by scoring five 10s and a 9.5 on a back dive pike in the third round on the 3-meter springboard.

“She’s stronger than most of the guys we saw,” Brennan said of Hidalgo, 17, who will compete on the 3-meter springboard and platform at the U.S. Trials.

Hidalgo fell about 22 points shy of the Division 1 record set by Brennan’s daughter, Allison, for Edison in 2001. But she is now positioned to claim a fourth consecutive Division 1 title next May.

“That’s the goal,” she said. “That would be really exciting.”

She also acknowledged the emerging standouts such as Montague and Hopkins. Montague had the most difficult list in the meet.

“The young ones are always coming up and doing well,” Hidalgo said.

Villa Park freshman Andrew Harness (485.70), Beckman’s Jonathan Robinson (485.35) and Esperanza freshman Noah Kanan (452.80) gave the county boys a sweep of the top four spots in Division 1.

LaBella attempted one of the most challenging lists in the 15-diver field with three dives with degree of difficulties of 3.0.

“He put some big dives in when he needed to,” said judge Curt Wilson, who also coaches LaBella with Crown Valley Divers. “(His) front 3½ (somersault) was phenomenal (in the fourth round). … He really set the stage.”

For his application to Yale, LaBella wrote an essay about the life lessons he has learned in diving. He certainly gained more material Tuesday. He finished seventh in Division 1 as freshman and climbed to fifth and third before his breakthrough as a senior.

“Put in the work and you can get pretty good results,” LaBella said.

Kanan helped signal the youth movement in the Crestview League and became the first Esperanza diver to crack the top-eight at CIF.

“We can only improve from here,” said Harness, a former gymnast who has been diving less than two years.

The top 16 overall divers from the Southern Section’s four divisions earned berths in a six-dive state qualifying meet Saturday at Riverside City College.

"I hope to do a lot better (Saturday)," said Lee, who performed a more difficult list Tuesday en route to her first CIF title.

"She's really hard on herself," Fairmont coach David Esparza said of Lee, the first Fairmont female athlete to claim a CIF-level individual crown since 2011. "But she doesn't take it with her. ... She'll move on."

********************

BOYS SWIMMING

CIF-SS Diving Finals
At Riverside City College
(11 dives)

Division 1
1. LaBella (DH) 504.05; 2. Harness (VP) 485.70; 3. Robinson (Beck) 485.35; 4. Kanan (Esp) 452.80; 5. Rains (HW) 397.80; 6. Menke (SM) 355.10; 7. N. Pellini (DH) 324.30; 8. Rojas (West Ranch) 302.55; 9. Labonge (Loy) 250.20

Division 4
1. Fielding (Mara) 533.30; 2. Hollimon (Mara) 489.60; 3. Janik (GraceBre) 386.30; 4. Guido (Mara) 220.95

Top 16 for CIF State qualifier
(Saturday, 2:30 p.m., 6 dives, 1M; top 6 advance to state)
1. Young (CL); 2. Fielding (Mara); 3. Pennock (GreatOak); 4. LaBella (DH); 5. Herrera (Troy); 6. Hollimon (Mara); 7. Winkler (ET); 8. Harness (VP); 9. Robinson (Beck); 10. Amsbry (PasaPoly); 11. Griffith (SLO); 12. Anderson (ET); 13. McKinley (Brea); 14. Kanen (Esp); 15. Rains (HW); 16. Ayazi (CresVly); others: 17. LeCours (CM); 20. Menke (SM)

GIRLS SWIMMING

CIF-SS Diving Finals
At Riverside City College
(11 dives)

Division 1
1. Hidalgo (CV) 599.45; 2. Montague (CV) 522.20; 3. Hopkins (CV) 482.05; 4. Yanovsky (Val/V) 478.55; 5. Bowen (DH) 473.15; 6. Fowler (DH) 458.45; 7. Stong (TH) 415.95; 8. Gohr (SM) 412.80; 9.Wood (TH) 407.05

Division 4
1. Lee (Fair) 443.15; 2. Wright (WC) 335.60; 3. Lewis (Maran) 333.00; 4. Tio (Mara) 289.60; 5. M Welfringer (OV) 250.25

Top 16 for CIF State qualifier 
(Saturday, 2:30 p.m., 6 dives, 1M; top 6 advance to state)
1. Hidalgo (CV); 2. Lenz (PasPoly); 3. Montague (CV); 4. B Thai (Alhambra); 5. Mitchell (LB); 6. Shaheen (CresVly); 7. Denison (ImmacH); 8. Hopkins (CV); 9. Yanovsky (Val/V); 10. Bowen (DH); 11. Fowler (DH); 12. Stocker (ET); 13. Reeves (ET); 14. Tam (Whit); 15. Lee (Fair); 16. M. Thai (Alham); other: 20. Stong (TH)


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