Green's Peterson taking aim at state title

Andy Harris
Suburbanite correspondent
Green diver Taylor Peterson returns after finishing 15th at the state meet a season ago.

GREEN  If you're going to say goodbye to the sport of diving, you may as well do it in style.

That's how Green senior diver Taylor Peterson is approaching her final days in the sport as she wraps up her high school career Friday morning at the Division I state competition and then prepares to head off the college and continue playing another sport – volleyball.

That makes her thrilling Northeast Division I district diving title and subsequent spot at the state tournament all the more exciting, knowing it's her last run as a competitive diver.

"I was on cloud nine. I was so proud of myself and I knew my hard work had paid off," Peterson said of the district tournament. "I was ranked second going in and I wanted to make it to the state tournament."

Making it to the state tournament is something she did as a junior after finishing fifth at the district meet and after last year's postseason run, Peterson was even more confident that she could repeat and even better those efforts this time around.

As she went through the offseason, the idea began to take root in her mind that she wanted to only make it back to Canton, but to do so as a district champion. However, when he started talking about the idea, it wasn't immediately a home run with everyone.

"Last year I got fifth, so this year my goal was to win districts, but when I told my parents at first, they said, 'Come on Taylor, be more realistic,'" Peterson recalled.

But as she started working toward that goal, it came more into focus and with support from her family and coaches, she put together a solid regular season that set the stage for what she has accomplished in the sectional and district tournaments.

The win at the district level didn't come easily, as she found herself in a back-and-forth duel with Kent Roosevelt junior Anya Fernere throughout the event. At times, she edged into the top spot, but in others she fell back ever so slightly. It wasn't until the very end that she finally seized a lead she would not relinquish and won with a score of 408.35.

Green's Taylor Peterson, facing, spikes the ball against a host of Hudson players during the third set of a volleyball match at Green High School, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Green, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

"I saw on the board that I kept going from first to second, first to second, and when I got bumped down to second I knew I pretty much had to nail my last three dives to win," Peterson said, adding that she kept herself from thinking about the pressure of the moment. "I just blocked it out of my head ... I didn't want it to get in my head and affect me."

Her approach, which differs from some other competitors, is consistency on the diving board. While some of the other divers in the field had flashier dives with higher degrees of difficulty in their programs, Peterson focused on being technically on point and executing each dive as close to perfectly as possible.

She admitted that she takes a very mental, cerebral approach to diving and at times, that can lead to overthinking things. But now that she has a chance to vie for a state title, it seems her approach is working well and has her feeling good about her chances in Canton.

Although she will be playing volleyball for Tiffin University this fall, ending her high school diving career with a podium finish at the state meet would be the perfect final chapter for this portion of her career. Regardless of the result, this season in both volleyball and diving has been a beneficial one when it comes to helping her stay connected to friends and classmates while doing online classes.

"It's really nice to just see people (playing sports) because I am doing school online," Peterson said. "It's just been a lot of forming closer bonds and making more friends this year with sports."

Now, those friends and her family will be able to support her and cheer her on as she goes up against the best divers in the state for a chance to be the best of them all.