Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

SF Senior to Defend Wpial Title

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

SF Senior to Defend Wpial Title

Article excerpt

Since he began competing during his freshman year of high school, the diving ability of South Fayette's Stephen Zombek has always been evident.

In dual meets where divers perform six dives, it is easy to see his talent.

That talent becomes even more evident at invitationals where divers perform 11 dives.

Zombek, a senior, shines the brightest on the big stage. Last year he won the WPIAL Class AA diving championship, the first in program history. This season at the Big Six Meet at Central York High School, Zombek finished first in the six-team event with a score of 254.30, breaking his own pool record from last season. Zombek also won the diving competition at the West Allegheny Christmas Invitational in December.

At the North Allegheny Invitational last month, Zombek took third place competing against top Class AAA divers in the WPIAL. At that meet Zombek set the South Fayette 11-dive record with a score of 391.75. The record was more than a decade old.

"He strives on competition," South Fayette diving coach Chris Rebholz said. "He always wants to know where he is in the standings. It helps him and pushes him along."

Zombek is a rare WPIAL champion diver who is not a year-round diver. A wrestler in his younger days, Zombek taught himself a few maneuvers on a trampoline and he practiced diving when he could at Settler's Cabin wave pool where he is a lifeguard.

As a freshman he began diving for South Fayette High School and qualified for WPIAL championships in his first season. By his sophomore year he had qualified for states. Zombek still does not dive year-round -- he runs cross country in the fall and track and field in the spring where the 3,200-meter run is his best event.

Participation in other sports has hardly impacted his diving.

"He has progressed a lot," Rebholz said. "Anything I ask him to do, he is willing to try it. …

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