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South Bay League divers score elite CIF place-finishes Phillip Brents | Fri, May 27 2011 07:01 PM

After last Friday’s San Diego Section diving championships at Mesa College, Olympian swim coach Rene Marmolejo came away with one thing firmly entrenched in his mind.

“I am going to talk to the Sweetwater district about getting more time for our divers because now it’s time to get serious about this,” he said.

His smile was infectious as was the reason behind it.

In a blockbuster showing at the Division II meet, Olympian junior Kelly Clemmons and Mar Vista senior Michelle McDonald made a huge statement for the South Bay League after recording second- and third-place finishes, respectively, in the girls program.

The third-place finish was a career best for McDonald, the league’s four-time Diver of the Year. The second-place finish was simply a school record for Clemmons.

“It’s crazy,” Marmolejo said, lost for words.

Clemmons, who finished behind McDonald at both the Olympian-Mar Vista dual meet and at the Metro Conference championships, scored 192.10 points to finish behind Division II champion Hannah Tomp from Serra. McDonald was two points behind Clemmons in third place with 190.10 points. Mar Vista’s Maxine Hanson was 14th with 149.50 points.

The top six finishers received medals.

Clemmons finished 45 points behind McDonald at last year’s South Bay League diving finals before making a big jump this spring. Her meteoric rise up the scoring chart put a happy face on McDonald as well.

“I’m happy for her,” said McDonald, who earned the rare distinction of earning both South Bay League Diver of the Year and Swimmer of the Year titles in the same season. “She’s a good competitor and challenged me to get better. I was so scared of her at our dual meet.”

“That was an awesome showing,” MVHS dive coach Dan Kovar underscored. “In actuality, the third girl from the South Bay League, Maxine Hanson, finished just a few points out of medal contention. She did well also.”

Otay Ranch’s Zully Maldonado set a school record with 171.70 points en route to recording a 12th placing showing in the Division I girls meet. She finished just six points out of ninth place in the 23-deep field. Hilltop's Ashley Johnson finished 15th with 168.30 points while teammate  Ashley Relph, the two-time reigning Mesa League champion, finished 22nd with 128.15 points.

Johnson and Relph shared the 2011 Mesa League Diver fo the Year award.

Otay Ranch’s Carlo Fiorillo (17th, 137.85 points) and Hilltop’s Aaron Siaumau (19th, 124.65 points) were the Mesa League’s only two competitors in the Division I boys meet.

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