Niagara Gazette

February 13, 2014

Monteleone faces toughest challenge yet

By Mike Meiler
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Ryan Monteleone is enjoying a storybook senior season.

The Lewiston-Porter diver dominated the Niagara Frontier League, tallying a six-dive score (362.55) higher than his closest competitor’s 11-dive mark (334.50). He set school records at six and 11 dives, ranks atop New York State in both categories and broke pool records at Lew-Port and Niagara-Wheatfield. His top 11-dive score (556.95) was enough to qualify him for All-American consideration.

Monteleone will face his toughest test to date today at Clarence when he defends his title as Section VI Champion against Lake Shore’s Travis Wright, ranked No. 3 in the state.

“I’m feeling pretty confident about the meet,” Monteleone said. “It’s definitely going to be close, though.”

Monteleone and Wright are familiar foes, competing as teammates with Wings Diving, which trains at the University at Buffalo. 

Wright didn’t compete in last year’s sectional championship despite qualifying. The two met Saturday in the Class B Championship, which Monteleone won by just three points. It was the second time this season Monteleone bested Wright.

Despite the makings of a juicy rivalry, Monteleone said he wants the best for his opponent.

“We know each other really well,” Monteleone said. “Obviously, I’m hoping I win, but I want to see him do well, too. I want us both to do well. It’s a good way to get ready for states.”

Win or lose at sectionals, Monteleone will have a chance to compete for the state championship Feb. 28-March 1 in Webster. Following states, he’ll have the opportunity to compete at the junior nationals, where he placed 12th last season. He said it’s a goal to place in the top 10 this year.

The accolades won’t stop coming in when Monteleone’s senior season ends, though. He has his sights set on being named an All-American after qualifying for the second time.

“You have to make a certain score, then you send a video to a panel of judges and they grade (divers) from across the country,” Monteleone explained. “The top guys get the All-American award.”

Monteleone missed the deadline to send in his video last season.

Monteleone will keep diving in Lewiston next season, though he’ll exchange the Lancers’ green and white for the purple and white of Niagara University. Between athletics and academics, Monteleone will have almost all of his tuition covered by scholarships.

He said he plans on majoring in biology, researching microbiology and minoring in religion.