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Swimming: Mars diver claims WPIAL title

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

In the span of two years, Taylor Hockenberry went from never competitively diving to be one of the best divers in the state. She proved that in the span of five days in mid-February, when the Mars sophomore won meets and broke records of two of the WPIAL's biggest stages.

"It wasn't natural for me right away," Hockenberry said. "When I first started diving, I wasn't really into that sport. I didn't really care for it at first. Now I really love the sport of diving," Hockenberry said. "It was at the point when I started making goals for myself in diving, that I really started to love the sport."

On Wednesday Feb. 13, Hockenberry won the diving competition at the MAC Swimming and Diving championships at Moon. She scored 493.25 to edge Riverside's Brittany Hart who scored a 488.65. Hockenberry broke the pool record and also broke the MAC meet record of 485.75 set in 2002 by Cassidy Krug, one of the all-time best WPIAL divers and the daughter of Julian and Doe Krug, diving coaches at the University of Pittsburgh where Hockenberry trains year-round.

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Diving: Mars girl dives in, wins a WPIAL title

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles Mars diver Taylor Hockenberry.

"Taylor Hockenberry had competed in gymnastics, played soccer and run cross country growing up.

As high school neared she decided to give diving a try.

"It wasn't natural for me right away," Hockenberry said. "When I first started diving, I wasn't really into that sport. I didn't really care for it at first."

Two years later and Hockenberry has much different feelings.

"Now, I really love the sport of diving," Hockenberry said. "It was at the point when I started making goals for myself in diving that I really started to love the sport.""

 

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Swimming: North Feature Athletes - Mars' Austin Gilstrap and Andrew Ivory

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Names: Austin Gilstrap and Andrew Ivory
School: Mars
Grade: 9 and 9
Sport: Swimming

Background: On a small nine-member team, the loss of two WPIAL gold medalists leaves behind gigantic shoes and lanes to fill. The Planets had to replace Christopher Georgiadis and Thomas Pierre. Two freshmen have stepped in admirably and helped Mars repeat as section champions. It will be a taller task to repeat as WPIAL and state champions but with freshmen Austin Gilstrap and Andrew Ivory complementing the upperclassmen, Mars will have a shot.

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Swimming: Mars diver ascends to WPIAL top faster than expected

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

After a silver-lining to her freshman season, there was no sophomore slump for Mars sophomore diver Taylor Hockenberry. She ascended to the top of the WPIAL Class AA diving ranks ahead of schedule. Not only did Hockenberry capture a WPIAL gold medal this week at Moon, she scored a 506.05 over her 11 dives to break a 17-year old WPIAL record set by Shady Side Academy's Brittany Garza in 1998. Garza's record was 505.45. If Hockenberry can break 500 again at states in three weeks at Bucknell University, she will own the state record as well. The state record was set by Lisa Silvestri in 2001. It is 480.65.

Hockenberry scored a 431.35 at WPIALs last year to finish less than 30 points behind gold medal winner McKenzie Stelter of Mohawk who has since graduated. Hockenberry out-distanced Riverside senior Brittany Hart who scored 460.60 and Derry sophomore Allison Brownlee who scored a 452.60.

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Swimming: Mars boys out to repeat last year's exploits

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the Mars swim team.

"The Mars Area High School boys swimming team — one of the smallest numbers-wise in the WPIAL — capturing section, WPIAL and PIAA titles last season seemed like something straight out of a movie.

Now the Planets hope to produce a sequel this year.

To do so, they must replace the championship contributions of two graduates, Christopher Georgiadis and Thomas Pierre.

Georgiadis was a perfect four-for-four last year at the WPIAL championship meet, capturing four gold medals. Pierre won two golds and one silver."