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Hartselle’s Avery Balch wins 6A-7A State Diving Championship

After falling two points shy of a state championship as a junior, Hartselle’s Avery Balch dominated the competition on his way to the 2020 AHSAA 6A-7A State Diving Championship.

“After finishing second place in the state championship last year, I was determined to keep working towards a championship,” Balch said.

He finished his 11 dives with a total score of 461.60, more than 80 points higher than the runner-up, Garrett George of Grissom High School.

Balch’s path to the championship included three dives with a degree of difficulty of 3.0 or higher. No other diver in the competition attempted one dive with a 3.0 or high degree of difficulty.

 His highest scoring dive, a Back 1 Somersault with 2-1/2 Twists in the Free position with a degree of difficulty of 2.7. He scored a 55.35 on the dive.

Balch has been diving competitively for three and a half years. He said that he enjoyed doing tricks on the trampoline, which helped him learn the basics of diving.

“I like learning new dives, and it is exciting when I can complete them successfully. Sometimes it’s scary, but I have learned to overcome fear and just go for it,” Balch said. “I have been blessed with great coaches to help me get started and develop my skills.”

Balch is the first-ever swimming and diving champion at Hartselle High School.

“I am thankful for the talent that God has given me to be able to train and compete,” said Balch. “It is exciting to be the first diving state champion for Hartselle.”