Freshman dives right in to a state berth

Granite Hills High School freshman Chance Hall executes a dive during last Friday’s San Diego Section championship meet at Granite Hills High School. Hall finished third in the Division I boys competition to qualify for this weekend’s state meet.

Granite Hills freshman Chance Hall appears to have a spectacular diving career laid out before him if the results of last Friday’s San Diego Section diving championships are any indicator.

Hall, the reigning Grossmont Hills League boys champion, placed third overall in the Division I field to earn a fast track to this weekend’s state champion- ship meet in Clovis.

The top four divers in the combined Division I and Division II fields will represent the San Diego Section at this weekend’s elite meet. Girls and boys competition was scheduled to take place Thursday, May 12, at the Clovis Olympic Dive Complex at Clovis West High School in suburban Fresno.

The state swimming championships feature prelim competition on Friday, May 13, followed by finals on Saturday, May 14.

Divers from both CIF divisions competed alongside each other at Granite Hills High School. Mater Dei Catholic freshman Valentino Nieto recorded the highest score in the 22-deep boys meet at 269.55 points to capture the Division II title.

Ramona’s Caden Clark placed runner-up with 220.50 points.

The top three finishers in the Division I meet filled the gap below Nieto’s score to round out this year’s state qualifying field.

San Marcos’s Mason Shin won the Division I title with 247.75 points, followed by Poway’s Connor Liddle in second place with 245.70 points and Hall in third place with 230.30 points.

Torrey Pines’ Ezra Purcell, who some tabbed as this year’s favorite, finished fourth in the Division I order with 221.80 points to miss the state qualifying cut.

Hall entered the state meet ranked 26th out of 27 qualifiers while Nieto was ranked 16th.

“Chance has a lot of talent,” GHHS coach Ron Ortiz said. “He’s still growing; he’s about two feet taller and growing into a new body. He’s applying himself to different sports. He did water polo and swimming this year as well. He’s pulled it up. He does reversals and back dives really well. They really show off his long body.”

Besides being a fast learner, Hall is also a teacher in his own right. “He encourages the other boys,” Ortiz said. “He’s friends with the whole group. They help each other.”

Amazingly, Hall has been diving only since the eighth grade, starting at the club level before entering high school.

“I started from scratch with the Hominid Diving Cub,” Hall said. “Now that I did club, I wanted to dive in high school. I liked traveling to different states to compete. I went to nationals in 2018 in Georgia. I placed 20th out of the entire country.” He won this year’s GHL title with 198.55 points.

“My first year at Granite Hills went well,” Hall said. “It was fun competing with my friends, helping them dive. I got all my dives back. It was nice. I did well.”

Four East County divers competed in last Friday’s boys finals.

Steele Canyon’s Sam Mascari, the second-place finisher at the league finals with 182.85 points, placed fifth at the Division I finals with 201.15 points.

Helix senior Mile Ball, third at the league finals with 172.35 points, finished 11th at the CIF finals with 158.25 points.

Grossmont sophomore Bruce Nordlof, the fourth place-finisher at the league finals with 156.90 points, finished 14th in the Division I final results with 143.60 points.


Granite Hills was greeted with a bounty of new talent this season on the dive board. Of the 14 divers competing this season, only four were returners.

“It was interesting,” Ortiz said. “If you’re a father and watch your kid take their first step, and if you’re a coach and watch them do something for the first time, it makes you feel proud. We had three girls make CIF and one boy, so we’re super proud of them. They’re super competitive kids.”

Sophomore Skylar Parga placed second at this year’s league finals with 169.85 points while freshman teammate Jordan Sterner finished third with 169.95 points. Also for Granite Hills, sophomore Jada Clark was fourth with 165.25 points, followed by freshman Addison Clark with 157.45 points in fifth place.

Parga finished 11th at the Division I championship meet with 166.25 points while Sterner was 17th with 152.00 points. Jada Clark placed 18th with 151.55 points


Alpine’s Lucas Colombo, who competes for the Heartland Swim Association club team, claimed first place in the boys 200-yard individual medley in 1:53.68 to represent Christian High School at this weekend’s state meet.

Colombo paired with teammates Sam Walker, Kai Damata and Ian Mullen to win the 200-yard freestyle relay (4×50) with a state-qualifying time of 1:25.11 that ranks ninth best out of 40 qualifiers.

The Patriots finished fifth in the Division II boys team standings.


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