Tricia Arceri has been accomplishing each of her goals, one by one. The Huntington High School senior knocked off another one when she won the Suffolk diving championship last Friday night at Hauppauge, storming past the talented field. One goal remains for the teenager and she thinks about it all the time.
The Blue Devil great is headed to the state championships at Ithaca College on Friday, November 17. It will mark Arceri’s third trip to the New York high school finals and she hopes to reach the top step of the victory platform this time.
Huntington senior Sigrid Cassell also qualified for the state finals after meeting the time standard in the 50 yard freestyle on Saturday morning at Suffolk-West in Brentwood. Her brother, Gunther won three state titles for the Blue Devil boys’ team and is currently swimming at Penn State.
Huntington head coach Chris Helmke and assistant coach Meg McConnell, who coaches Huntington’s divers, were ecstatic with the performances turned in by Arceri and Cassell last weekend.
The Blue Devil stars basked in the glow of their accomplishments, savoring it all for at least a few hours before beginning preparations for the state championships.
“I feel like I had a great meet,” Arceri said. “I did two new hard dives that made me nervous, but I executed them pretty well. However, I will be working extra hard on those for the state meet. Overall, I am very happy to win the counties for the second time as a senior. My only focus now is on the state championships.”
“Trish kept her focus and consistently performed solid dives, including two she hadn’t been able to do in competition before and her hard work and determination paid off,” McConnell said. “Now she can focus on fine tuning her dives and hopefully achieve her state title goal.”
Arceri overcome an ear injury during the year, regaining her form in time for the league and county championships. “Being out for two weeks during the season meant she missed the invitational diving meet, the only other chance to qualify for states in our section,” McConnell said.
To be a champion diver requires polishing your skills to near perfection. The slightest miscue can cost a diver precious points and allow opponents to gain an edge. But Arceri was on the mark in her final Section XI meet.
“It was a great night and most everybody dove really well,” McConnell said. “It was a nice way for most of the girls to wrap up their season. Trish dove very well, starting with a great back dive that scored 9s across the panel. That put her in a solid first place and that’s where she stayed for the rest of the meet.”
The Suffolk title is Arceri’s second and the ninth county crown for the family’s siblings. Her sister, Molly won three Suffolk diving championships and her brother, John was a four-time county wrestling champ.
Arceri could make history in two weeks. Huntington has never had a state diving champion. But the competition will be grueling and once again, Arceri will need to come close to perfection when she goes up against New York’s best.
“Winning states would top off my year as a senior,” Arceri said.
Sigrid Cassell Reaches State Finals
Sigrid Cassell has been chasing the state qualifying time all season and on Saturday, she was determined to nail it down. The Huntington swimming star did just that, touching the wall two-hundredths of a second under the time she needed to reach the pool at Ithaca College on Saturday, November 18.
“Sigrid started her day off by swimming the last 50 yard leg of the 200 medley relay and she swims two-hundredths of a second faster than the state time, but it doesn’t count because she’s in a relay,” Helmke said. “So we know she’s tuned up and ready to rock when her 50 free heat starts. She takes off and her turn is perfect and winds up doing the same time from the relay.”
Cassell’s time of 24.82 seconds beat the state finals cut time of 24.84. “I am beyond ecstatic,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard for this.”
The teenager has been swimming with the Huntington varsity team since seventh grade. “I feel that I’ve put in a lot of hard work and commitment into my Blue Devil career and it’s paid off nicely,” Cassell said.
The senior intends to enjoy every minute she spends at the state championships. “My goal is to make memories and do the best I can and have fun doing it,” Cassell said.