By Rob Kiser
CINCINNATI — Piqua senior diver Ike Karn can mark another goal off his list.
Karn, who placed fifth at the state in Division I as junior last year, continued another outstanding season, improving on last year’s third-place finish at the prestigious Southwest Classic diving competition at the University of Cincinnati by winning Sunday morning.
“It was definitely a goal,” Karn said. “I was feeling a little tired, so I just wanted to make sure I was solid with all my dives.”
Karn had won in the prelims Saturday, at Trotwood-Madison with a score of 270.6.
That was the second best qualifying score behind Noah Vigran of Cincinnati Indian Hill, who had a qualifying score of 296.9 at the Mason prelims.
“I was a little nervous, but I had a good feeling I could win,” Karn said.
Not, that it came easy.
“I was behind at the start,” Karn said. “I was behind him (Noah Vigran) for quite awhile. But, I was pretty confident I could catch him.”
That’s because Karn counts on picking up big points — with the degree of difficulty on his last three dives.
“I was confident, because I know my last three dives are my strongest dives,” Karn said. “And I know all the divers don’t set up their dives that way.”
Karn nailed all three dives, which propelled him to victory.
“I wasn’t really checking to see where I stood,” Karn said. “But, I knew I did well on all three of those dives. I know I scored more than 50 points on each of those dives and I felt like that was going to be good enough to win.”
Karn was correct.
He finished with 476.4 points, while Vigran was second with 467 points.
“He (Noah Vigran) is a Division II diver, so I won’t see him the rest of the year,” Karn said.
Not that he won’t be challenged at the upcoming GWOC meet as he prepares to defend his title.
Centerville’s Austin Flaute finished third Sunday and his teammate Sam Wiedemann won the prelim Centerville was at.
“Austin (Flaute) is on my club team,” Karn said. “He is a sophomore who is really coming on. The GWOC is the next big meet and I know he is going to be tough.”
But, this weekend was a confidence builder for Karn, — who will dive for UC next year and finished second to last year’s state champion at a big meet at Ohio State earlier this season.
“I think this was kind of an eye opener for me,” Karn said. “Really, the one-and-a-half back was the only dive that I messed up all weekend. This just feels really good. I start our finishing 13th as a freshman and have worked myself up all the way to the top spot.”
As well as marking another goal off his list.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.