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Wildcats' Thomson repeats as all-state diver

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner
Blue Springs senior diver Josiah Thomson finished fourth at the state meet for the second consecutive year.

ST. PETERS, Mo. — Josiah Thomson ended back on the medal stand, figuratively, at the Class 2 Missouri State High School Diving Championships Friday morning at the St. Peters Rec Plex.

The Blue Springs senior scored 50.75 points in his final dive, which gave him fourth place – and an all-state honor – for the second straight year. He finished with 464.40 points, an improvement over his 450.95 he recorded last year.

“It was a lot different this year, there was a lot more competition than last year and the year before that,” said Thomson, a three-time state qualifier who was 11th as a sophomore. “It was really tough, so I’m glad how well I did. I wish I would’ve gotten third. A fourth (place finish) and a fourth … I want progress, but my score was higher than last year.”

The only downside for Thomson was his parents weren’t able to attend due to a no spectator rule for the event in St. Louis – the first fall sport championship without any fans. There was no award ceremony on the podium as well because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of the second round – there were 11 total dives for the finalists – Thomson was in the lead, but he dropped to third following the next round. He was consistently in the top five, battling St. Louis standouts Sebastian Lawrence from SLUH, Brayden Escher of Parkway South, Logan Schelfaut of Francis Howell North and David Burke of CBC.

That group featured some talented divers with two defending state champions in Schelfaut (Class 2) and Escher (Class 1) and two runners-up in Lawrence (Class 2) and Greyson Langer of Park Hill South (Class 1) in the field of 24.

“Josiah had a great day,” Blue Springs diving coach Missy Jackson said. “You can’t compare last year to this year, but his performance to me was much better than last year. He had a lot of new dives and he was consistent all day; that is all you can ask for.

“We knew it would be a dogfight and we had to prepare for that. We can’t just sit back and be OK today. You have to hit your dive every time and I think he did a good job of that.”

Blue Springs had two divers in the finals as sophomore J.J. Davis took 11th place overall, a big improvement after finishing 26th last year. He had a total of 383.60.

Blue Springs South’s lone representative was junior James Price, who finished 19th overall. He made the semifinals and finished with a score of 263.30 through two rounds.

Lawrence won the championship on the final dive, flipping spots with Schelfaut from last year. Burke was third, 10 points ahead of Thomson.

The swimming portion of the championship meet was set for 3:30 p.m. Friday.