By Rob Kiser
It is a familiar trek for Piqua senior diver Isaac Karn.
And while the expectation from outside may be different this year, the son of Travis and Shani Karn doesn’t let that affect him — which is why it won’t be a surprise for him to save his best for last.
Karn will be finishing his season at the state meet — just like he has the previous three years — at the Canton Natatorium when the Division II diving competition is held.
Competing in Division I his first three years, he steadily progressed from a 20th place finish as a freshman to a 14th place finish with a score of 397.55 as a sophomore to a fifth place finish a year ago with a score of 498.30.
Then, he made a decision last spring to focus solely on diving this year — and it has paid big dividends for the future University of Cincinnati diver.
“It was the first time I focused on diving all summer,” Karn said. “It has made a big difference.”
Shortly before sectionals this year, Karn learned Piqua had moved down to D-II.
That, along with his two best performances of his career make him the frontrunner heading into the state meet.
Karn had a score of 523.15 at sectionals and followed it with a 523.85 at district.
Chagrin Falls junior Peter Nachtwey has the second best qualifying score of 495.85.
“Not really,” Karn said about approaching things any differently at this year’s state meet. “I just focus on one dive at a time. I love diving at Canton. I know the board. It is exciting with all the people there.”
Karn said he has learned during his four years of diving that his current approach is the best one.
“I would say my freshman and sophomore years — and even into my junior year, I was always looking at a certain diver I wanted to beat or a score I wanted. If I just focus on one dive at a time, the score will come.”
There is only on thing that will change this year — the competition.
“I will miss not seeing all the guys I dived with the last couple years,” Karn said. “But, really that is the only thing that will be different.”
As for his scores at sectional and district, Karn said it is simply everything coming together.
“As I have said before, it is really difficult to put a solid 11-dive program together,” Karn said. “At the start of the season, everybody in our club team puts their program together. They don’t change it all and just work on getting it as good as it can get.
“I worked hard in the summer. There were times when I went down to Dayton to dive and all that hard work is paying off.”
And as Karn showed at district, he literally saves his best for last.
His last three dives — a reverse 1.5 pike, a reverse 1.5 somersault with 1.5 twists and a back 1.5 somersault with 1.5 twists — netted Karn 164.95 points at district.
“I always expect to get at least 50 points with each of those dives,” Karn said. “The reverse 1.5 pike is the toughest one for me —the other two are my favorite dives. I have a lot of confidence in them.”
And saving his best for last in his final high school meet.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.