College’s Cam Bizjak wins Diving Crown in Division II Cleveland State District. Area goes 5-5 in state qualifier – News-Herald


The 14 state qualifiers for Division II Cleveland State District Men’s Diving are shown. This includes college senior and district champion Khambijak top his middle. (Chris Lillstrung – The News-Herald)

Cam Bizjak’s constant growth as a diver was evident throughout his career.

That’s in the technical sense, of course, but it’s also true in other ways, such as the postseason numbers that underpin that claim.

As far as district placement goes, the longtime college standout went from 12th in freshman year to 8th and 2nd in sophomore year.

In his senior campaign, he earned the only remaining Ascension in that regard.

On February 15th, during the Division II Cleveland State District Boys’ Morning Session, Bizjak delivered a dominant performance at CSU’s Busbey Natatorium with an 11 dive score of 450.10.

On the 18 Diver District field, five came from the News Herald’s coverage area and all five headed to Canton. Leads a regional mission with Tino Perkovic of Lake Catholic.

“I think practice makes perfect,” said Bizjak. “It’s a cliché to say, but I started practicing right after the last state tournament, all summer and fall. Great coaches help me. I’m so grateful to my coaches. Thank you to the team and the club team, and it’s great that I’m in a leadership position and mentoring young people.

“But I think the me vs. me mindset, competing with myself every day, watching old movies and comparing them to new movies, really helped me improve. It was one, so I’m really happy that it came true.”

Bizjak, who finished fourth in the state last winter, was dialed in from the start and never seriously tested.

In qualifying, he hit three 45-plus dives, including a round 2 highlight.

“That front 2 1/2 pike is one of my favorite dives,” said Bizjak. “And I feel like I can hit pretty well, so I put it first on my list. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the rest of the tournament. I was able to figure out the height off the board, the connection, the throw, the entry position.It’s a 52 point dive.”

College diver Cameron Bijak is grateful he should have made his state debut in 2021

With a sizeable lead, Bizjak was consistent from rounds 6-8. On the back 1 1/2 twist in round 10 he recorded his 44.10 and on the final dive of the afternoon session Bijak on the back 1 1/2 1 1/2 twist he clocked 45.00.

Preppers coach Brian Perry loudly voiced their approval, along with a small but vocal US contingent who traveled downtown with Perry.

Raymond, who also entered the D-II State Qualifier a year ago, finished fifth with a 338.85, beating his 2022 district score by 48.80 points. Forward 2 1/2 Pike and he is 42.90.

Napolitano was eighth with 277.55 and Sullivan was 12th with 239.95 after a perfect 4-4 afternoon back in Hunting Valley.

Perković had a feel-good story as he qualified for state in 13th place with 237.70. His sophomore year at Lake was involved in a tough battle behind his two qualifying spots at the end, with points heading into the final round. He finished with some of the best work of the day, posting his second and his third highest scores in the competition, 24.65 in round 9 and 23.80 in round 11.

In some ways, however, the news wasn’t all rosy.

As mentioned earlier, after scratching the fields of the boys D-II in the Northeast area, there were only 18 divers this winter, and numbers were down across Ohio, excluding the 4 in the Northeast. All went on to state in an expanded 32-man diver field. .

Needless to say, 11-dive regular season opportunities have never been scarcer.

Bizjak hopes that better days will come.

“It’s definitely going to be difficult[with 11 dives short]but I’m grateful that I was able to compete once in CSU and twice in Canton, the state pool,” Bizjak said. Just familiarizing yourself with the boards gives you an advantage because you know how they feel and you see yourself diving on those boards.But 11 dive competitions I think is the best way to practice that pressure and do better in the postseason.

“I think just recruiting people who are interested in jumping on trampolines or skiing or snowboarding is a great way to get divers and increase the population of this sport.”

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