Bears’ Szopo is ready for states
erynews.com Sydney Szopo will be making her third trip in as many years to PIAA Class AA Diving Championships this weekend. ,W wLOO EH WKH fiUVW WLPH she will place highest on Upper Moreland’s diving team; it is also KHU fiUVW WULS WR WKH VWDWH championship where she will not compete against her sister Natalee.
As a freshman, Szopo finLVKHG VHFRnG Ln DLVtrict One Class AA as KHU VLVWHU finLVKHG fiUVW. Similar story at the state championship she came in fourth as she watched her sister place second. As a sophomore the district scoreboard read the same it did the year prior DnG DV 6]RSR finLVKHG eighth in her sophomore campaign Natalee ended her high school career wLWK D IRuUWK SODFH finish.
“It was competition, every practice, every meet it was me and her,” Szopo said, “Dual season isn’t the most competitive, so she was my competition, even though she always beat me, I also looked up [to her] and saw that I can beat [her] someday.”
For Szopo not having her sister has taken some JHWWLnJ uVHG Ey finGLnJ other means of motivation as well as assuming more of a leadership role this season. Szopo, however, feels no adverse effects of her sister’s preceding success.
“I like being in her shadow, I am the little sister, but it’s nice to be my own person and really shine,” she said.
“It’s been an adjustment year for her EHFDuVH LW’V WKH fiUVW yHDU she’s had to compete without her sister, which has been an adjustment for her not having that security blanket around her,” Szopo’s coach Bob Israel said
Being that this is Szopo’s third trip to the VWDWH finDOV, VKH finGV herself holding a mental edge over some of her fiUVW WLPH FRPSHWLWRUV.
“Being at a big competition is very stress-
Szopo said. “I now know how to get over that stress.”
It does not take long after mHHWLng 6]RSR WR find RuW how intense of a competitor she is. This is evident from WhH way VhH HvaOuaWHV herself and her competition. For Szopo, the higher the stakes, the more she locks on to target.
“She’s a driven competitor, she wants to be good,” Israel said. “It’s a lot easier whHn yRu havH aWhOHWHV whR SuVh yRu aV a FRaFh WR makH VuUH WhHy’UH dRLng whaW WhHy need to do as well as doing what I need to do to best prepare her.”
/HadLng uS WR VWaWHV FRmHV a ORW RI SROLVhLng uS Rn dLvHV and makLng VuUH hHU 11 dives for the meet are as close to perfected as possible. 6]RSR aOVR makHV VuUH VhH LV prepared for what the other divers will be doing as well.
“, VWudy [WhH FRmSHWLtion],” she said. “I really undHUVWand and VHH whHUH the other divers are that I’m FRmSHWLng agaLnVW, nRW MuVW WhH [dLvHUV@ WhaW aUH UankHd above me, the whole entire [fiHOd@ bHFauVH yRu nHvHU know when someone will VWHS LW uS Ln a bLg mHHW.”
Szopo enters this season’s state championship with a mHdaO RU buVW aWWLWudH. ,VUaHO HxSHFWV a WRS IRuU finLVh.
“Last year I didn’t have that great of a meet at states so I know what it’s like to nRW bH aW WhH WRS, buW WhaW gives me an insight this year WhaW LW LV SUHWWy muFh mHdaO RU buVW,” 6]RSR VaLd.