Skelton diving right in

Skelton diving right in

CHAMPAIGN – Kegan Skelton has been climbing the diving ladder – figuratively as well as literally – at the state meet since he was a freshman.

This weekend, the Centennial senior takes his final stab at a state title. He enters on a roll after posting the highest statewide score in a sectional meet last Saturday. Skelton's personal-best 540.05 also broke his own Unit 4 Pool and school records.

"I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to break it," he said. "After a year, I've gotten so much better. I'm diving like a collegiate (athlete) right now, and I knew I was going to hit my big dives, which had a lot of dd (degree of difficulty)."

In three previous trips to state, Skelton finished 13th, seventh and sixth. This time, he's regarded as a strong favorite along with George Doran. The Wheaton Co-op senior posted the state's No. 2 score at sectionals – 539.40.

When the two squared off Feb. 12 at the Homewood-Flossmoor Diving Invitational, Skelton finished second to the Harvard-bound Doran 507.45-480.80.

After that meet, Skelton contemplated changing his diving list to make up the gap with Doran on degree of difficulty before deciding against it.

"After looking through the other sorts of dives, there's not a lot of change that I can do," Skelton said. "So I stuck with what I had. ... I'm just going to hope that I hit and hit well (at state)."

Diving preliminaries are Friday, with finals Saturday.