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CB East’s Ciepiela, Ford qualify for states


Central Bucks East’s Grace Ciepiela and Marin Ford both made a big splash.

Ciepiela’s score of 382.00 points placed her fourth and Ford was right behind her in fifth place (381.35) at Friday’s District One Class 3A diving championships, held at North Penn’s Rick Carroll Natatorium. The top seven finishers qualified for the PIAA Class 3A competition. It is the first trip to the state meet for both girls, and the first district competition for each of them. Diving helped Ciepiela rediscover her love of sport.

“I went through a tough time a couple of years ago,” said Ciepiela, a junior. “I did gymnastics for a really long time, and I loved it growing up. Unfortunately, with some coaching issues and injuries I ended up not really liking it.

“I never thought I’d like a sport again because of that experience but I decided to try diving. I got that new perspective in a different sport. I was in a different environment, I was surrounded by people who cared about me and wanted me to do well and I found the love of a sport again. It drove my desire and made me want to keep going to learn more and constantly wanting to better myself. Not necessarily wanting to beat others, but to beat myself.

“At the beginning of the year, I never expected to be going to states, but I made a lot of improvements over the season. I just wanted to make it to districts and see how that played out. It’s definitely more than I expected and I’m really excited and looking forward to seeing how states works and getting a taste of a different level of competition.”

Ford, a sophomore, was pleasantly surprised by her finish.

“I absolutely did not expect to be in the top seven,” she said. “I was just hoping to make it to districts and have a good day. The entire time, I didn’t want to know what my score was or where I was in the standings because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I had a good meet so I was hopeful, but I wasn’t expecting this.

“This was a really good meet for me. I was hoping it would be and my warmups were amazing. I think having consistency in my dives made me happy and that made me do better.

“This really gives me confidence for states, but honestly it hasn’t sunk in yet. I think it’s going to be really fun and exciting and a good experience for me.”

Jackie Finlaw of Central Bucks South, a junior, finished 18th (228.90).

Senior Lillian Tetreault closed out her high school diving career for Council Rock North with a 19th-place finish (225.60).

The boys diving competition was held on Thursday night, also at North Penn. Senior Michael Finlaw of CB South reached the finals, finishing ninth (311.75).

The PIAA championship will be held March 13-16 at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.

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