ITHACA, N.Y. — They traded places near the top of the leaderboard all afternoon, both hoping to end the day on top in state diving.
For Harborfields' Alex Zhang, a senior, the 2022 state diving championship represented a final shot at state gold after four straight Suffolk championships.
For Jericho’s Tristan Yang, it was potentially the beginning of a successful varsity career for the eighth grader.
Though neither could catch Pittsford’s Daley Fraser for first place Friday at Ithaca College, both ended their season with strong performances.
Yang finished fourth with 504.40 and Zhang took fifth with 503.50. Fraser won with 582.80.
"I’ve never seen a work ethic like Tristan’s in somebody so young," Jericho coach D.J. Volosevich said. "Everyday he comes into practice and he knows what he needs to get accomplished to get to the maximum level he wants to get to."
Yang was second heading into the finals, which consisted of the last three of 11 dives.
"The sky is the limit for him," Volosevich said. "I can only see him getting better from where he is now and that’s fourth. He’s going to be the top ranked diver in the state next year so the future is bright."
Yang took second place in the Nassau championship last month.
"I was nervous because the other divers here are really good," Yang said. "I think in future years I’ll be even more confident."
There were less nerves for Zhang, who has been on this stage before. And although he didn’t reach his ultimate goal he was still pleased with the improvement he made from 16th place when he was a sophomore.
"I just didn’t want to mess up on any dives I knew I could hit," Zhang said. "I’ve been working really hard and knew I just needed to be consistent."
Heading into the finals Zhang held third place.
"It’s amazing but a little bittersweet because this is my final year," Zhang said. "I believe my form got a lot better throughout the years, my entries are a lot cleaner, my jumps are higher and everything is more refined. I think that’s what made the difference this year."
Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK’s Greg Meder was Long Island’s next highest finisher, coming in seventh with 484.70. Long Beach’s Chris Buonocore was 12th with 435.20 and South Side/Lynbrook’s Thomas McCarthy rounded out the L.I. finalists in 13th with 421.65.