Huntington Harborfields Whitman Alex Zhang during the Suffolk High School...

Huntington Harborfields Whitman Alex Zhang during the Suffolk High School boys diving championships on Thursday Feb 10, 2022 at Hauppauge High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Think back to how different the world was four years ago? Suffolk County diving hasn’t changed one bit.

On Thursday, Harborfields’ Alex Zhang won his fourth-straight Suffolk boys diving championship at Hauppauge High School with a score of 576.20.

The senior doesn’t know a high school winter without winning a county championship. It’s a feat not many student-athletes can claim.

"Honestly it’s a little bittersweet because it’s my last year doing it," Zhang said. "But it feels amazing to win again. I’ve worked really hard for this."

Zhang has competed on varsity since the seventh grade. And even back then, he knew he could graduate as a multi-time county champion.

"I kind of did," he said. "I’ve been diving since I was 7 years old. I’ve been training really hard for this so I really thought I could do it."

Zhang, who will dive for West Point next year, edged out Half Hollow Hills’ Joshua Sundararaman, who placed second with a score of 486.95. West Islip’s Kevin Kohlhoff finished third with a score of 481.00.

All three divers posted the necessary score of at least 450 to compete at the state championships.

"He has a shot at winning it all," Huntington/Harborfields/Whitman boys swimming and diving coach Sean Montalvo said. "It’s going to be exciting."

Montalvo said he sees Zhang’s hard work and dedication every day at practice.

"He works so hard and he’s a master at his craft," Montalvo said. "He practices 20-30 hours a week and travels far for practices and competition. The dedication and time he puts in shows and it’s paid off."

Last year, Zhang knew the county championships were his final performance of the season. Luckily that’s not his same fate this winter as he, Sundararaman and Kohlhoff will compete at the diving state championships March 4 at Ithaca College.

Zhang finished 16th at the state finals his sophomore year, but there were no state championships last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he was "disappointed" with his finish sophomore year and with being unable to compete against the best in the state last year. But as for his goals at the state finals this year — that’s clear and direct.

He simply stated, "I’m trying to win it."

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