San Diego Section Diving : Santana Sophomore Wins Title : Eileen Maul Edges Kristen Walls for Her 2nd Championship
When Eileen Maul was 6, she used to sneak into her parents’ bedroom, climb onto the bed and begin her tumbling routine. Sometimes her older brother, Gary, would be around to show her how to do a couple of fancy flips.
Maul eventually ventured into gymnastics, where she sharpened her tumbling skills and learned a few more flips.
Last year, the Santana High School sophomore went out for the diving team “just for fun,” having never competed in the sport.
At Friday’s San Diego Section diving championships at Helix High School, Maul combined all of her skills to capture her second straight championship.
Maul scored 406.35 points to edge second-place Kristen Walls, a freshman from Monte Vista, who had 400.95. In the boys’ division, Eric Reynolds of Mount Carmel won the title with 379.70 points.
“Last year it wasn’t as hard,” said Maul, who last year scored 319.25 points. “I wasn’t expecting to be the CIF champion.
“This year, the competition was tougher and . . . I wanted (to win) so bad this year.”
Maul, who won the section gymnastics title last season, had little time to celebrate her victory Friday--she had to shift her concentration to the Grossmont League gymnastics finals today.
Last year was Maul’s first time competing in diving. Before that, she had “goofed around” in the pool where her brother was a lifeguard. Gary Maul, who finished second at the section meet in 1981, said he knew his sister had the potential to be a competitive diver.
“From the first time she learned that back flip on the bed, I could see she was a natural,” he said. “She used to jump around on the bed, so I showed her how to do a back flip once and then she wanted to learn more.
“All I had to do was show her how to do something once and she picked it up right away. I’ve never seen natural talent like that before.”
Mual said she never expected to win the championship last year, and was surprised she had made it to the preliminaries. She added that she only went out for the diving team for fun, with no expectations of winning a section title.
The Santana boys’ coach, Phil Sinatra, also advises Maul, but other than that she has no full-time coach. Maul said she spends 30 to 45 minutes a day on her diving, although she trains an hour or two daily on her gymnastics.
Sinatra said Maul had difficulty originally with the board because she was used to tumbling off the floor in gymnastics. He added that her skills in diving didn’t fully emerge until the league finals last year.
At Friday’s meet, Maul and Walls were battling each other on the final dives of the required 11. They had been friends a few years back when both trained on the same gymnastics club , but Walls dropped gymnastics to pursue diving full time.
“We are still friendly with each other,” Maul said. “When we see each other at meets we always say hello, but we never talk about diving.
“All through the meet it was tight; there was no space between us. I knew I had to hit every dive and that’s what I did.”
Gary Maul seemed almost as happy as his sister.
“When she’s backed into a corner, that’s when she gets tough,” he said.
“It’s funny, because our parents used to get mad and tell her not to jump on their bed, but now look where it’s led her.”
San Diego Section Diving Finals Girls--Eileen Maul (Santana) 406.35; Kristen Walls (Monte Vista) 400.95; Bonny Waters (Valhalla) 366.65; Cynthia Tredwell (Coronado) 346.75; Dana Dodd (Poway) 121.55; Jennifer McClure (Helix) 336.10; Amy Kraynik (Helix) 327.60; Lisa Smedley (Mount Carmel) 322.10; Stacy Cooke (Patrick Henry) 318.35; Julie Jones (Crawford) 312.40; Julie Bobb (Helix) 308.85; Amy Dunn (Mount Carmel) 307.65.
Boys--Eric Reynolds (Mount Carmel) 379.70; Paul Lottis (Mount Carmel) 339.70; Greg Stampfill (Poway) 326.75; Tom Reed (Santana) 316.00; Trey Freelon (Poway) 313.20; David Fernandez (Valhalla) 312.09; Marco Medina (Mount Carmel) 309.90; Mark Dunn (Mount Carmel) 304.85; Jesse Miller (Grossmont) 254.65; Jeff Hoss (El Capitan) 253.15; Allen Severy (El Camino) 250.80; Marc Channick (Crawford) 236.49.