Va. Tech Diver Rep­re­sents in 6th Place

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sunday Morning On The Air - By Rich Camp­bell

The crowd’s ap­plause reached a peak at yes­ter­day’s USA Div­ing Spring Na­tional Cham­pi­onships in Ger­man­town when Mikey McDon­ald re­ceived his sixth-place medal in the men’s three-me­ter spring­board. Cov­ered from head to toe in Vir­ginia Tech ma­roon and orange, McDon­ald smiled, know­ing he had pro­vided his fel­low Hok­ies with a proud mo­ment at the end of a tragic week.

McDon­ald, a fresh­man at Vir­ginia Tech and a two-time All-Met from W.T. Wood­son High in Fair­fax, fin­ished with 372.55 points. Win­ner Troy Du­mais of Austin scored 497.55 at the Ger­man­town In­door Swim cen­ter in Boyds.

McDon­ald put aside the grief and dis­trac­tions of Mon­day’s shoot­ings and per­formed well on one of the sport’s big­gest stages.

“We ac­tu­ally thought about go­ing home to be with them, but we de­cided that even though we wanted to be with ev­ery­one, we thought it would be bet­ter to stay here and rep­re­sent Vir­ginia Tech as best we can,” said McDon­ald, who at­tended the week-long meet with Hok­ies div­ing coach Ron Piemonte. “When I was div­ing, I just said, ‘Re­lax, and do it for the peo­ple at Tech.’ ”

McDon­ald was at home in North­ern Vir­ginia on Mon­day when the shoot­ings oc­curred. In the days that fol­lowed, McDon­ald and Piemonte jug­gled train­ing with con­cern for those in Blacks­burg.

“For us, the hard­est part was to sit there and watch the TV and go: ‘Oh, there’s the pool. There’s the side­walk we walk down ev­ery­day,’ ” Piemonte said. “It was just hit­ting so hard that he had prob­lems sleep­ing. I had prob­lems sleep­ing. . . .

“Peo­ple were sur­prised that he was even div­ing. For him to fin­ish up like this is Hokie pride.”

Du­mais, a two-time Olympian, re­claimed his three-me­ter na­tional cham­pi­onship af­ter win­ning four straight ti­tles from 2001 to ’05.

He fin­ished sec­ond a year ago to Chris Col­will but beat him yes­ter­day with his fi­nal dive — a re­verse 21⁄ sum­m­er­sault with a 11⁄ twist in

2 2 a pike po­si­tion. Col­will fin­ished with 454.05.Whit­man All-Met se­nior Matt Cooper fin­ished eighth (367.20) af­ter plac­ing sec­ond in the semi­fi­nals.

The semi­fi­nals “was one of the best sets I’ve ever done,” Cooper said. “I was re­ally con­fi­dent go­ing into this, but you can’t do as well ev­ery day. But I know there’s go­ing to be many more.”

In the women’s 10-me­ter plat­form fi­nal, Ha­ley Ishi­matsu, a 14year-old from Seal Beach, Calif., edged 2000 Olympic gold medal­ist Laura Wilkin­son, 369-365.20.

Notes: Mary Yar­ri­son, a four­time All-Met at Lee in Spring­field and now a ju­nior at the Univer­sity of Texas, won the one-me­ter spring­board ti­tle on Wed­nes­day and took third with Abby John­ston of Colum­bus, Ohio, in the three-me­ter syn­chro­nized event on Fri­day. . . . The meet wraps up to­day with the women’s three-me­ter fi­nal at 1 p.m. and the men’s 10-me­ter fi­nal im­me­di­ately af­ter­ward.

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