San Luis Obispo High’s Ethan Merritt concluded his PAC 7 diving career with a third consecutive title at the league championships in Arroyo Grande on Tuesday.
Merritt’s score of 472.90 points easily bested that of Arroyo Grande’s Daniel Kelly, who finished second after scoring 414.55. Kelly was also runner-up in 2009.
“Ethan and Dan have this rivalry of who can do one more twist, or who can do one more flip,” Atascadero diving coach Morgan Mellish said. “But it’s a friendly competition and they have a great time out there.”
Merritt, who will dive for NCAA Division II power Clarion University next season, bested last year’s PAC 7 score of 443.40 by nearly 30 points.
“He’s upped his game every year,” Mellish said. “Sometimes it can be hard to get better in this area where there aren’t many diving outlets.”
Paso Robles’ Colby Thompson was a distant third, finishing with a score of 339.60 while Arroyo Grande sophomore Jake Milbrant was fourth with 312.80.
Merritt’s sister, Tessa, won her second straight girls diving title with a score of 415.40, beating last year’s winning mark by nearly 35 points.
“Everybody is just fighting to get near or beat Tessa’s score,” Mellish said.
Atascadero’s Alysa Floercky finished second with a season-best score of 362.65 points.
“She’s looking to place at CIF (Southern Section) this year,” Mellish said of Floercky.
“If not top three, top five. There are a lot of competitive divers out there and she’s planning on upping her game even further next year.”
The Tigers claimed three of the top four spots on the girls side as Maia Vernacchia (345.05) was third and Tracy O’Keeffe (330.15) was fourth.