Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Frontier League boys swimming season has seen very few surprises through its first half.
Every team has played one another, and the schools expected to come out on top generally have. The league’s top team (Lockport) is undefeated, while second-place Grand Island has only lost to the Lions. Third-place Niagara-Wheatfield has only lost to the top two teams, and so on and so forth, all the way through fifth-place Lewiston-Porter.
The same applies for the athletes. The top returning performers from last season have shined early, and no player has stood out more than Lew-Port senior diver Ryan Monteleone, who holds the top six-dive score in New York State this season with a 339.00 and earned a scholarship to Niagara University.
Monteleone broke in with the Lancers’ varsity team as a seventh grader, attempting dives for the first time after his father pointed out to head coach Josh Janese how much he enjoyed jumping on the trampoline in his backyard. His top score during his first season was just 125, though it more than doubled to 284 during his eighth-grade season.
As a freshman, Monteleone made the state championships, where he finished 19th. He went again as a sophomore and finished 11th, and last season he ended up seventh in states after claiming the Section VI championship.
The year-to-year improvement and last year’s finish have the sights set high this season.
“He obviously wants to win states, and it’s fair to say that he’s near the top,” Janese said. “... He’s in a different world athletically. He can do some of the upper-echelon dives, and last year he did three at states that no one else did. He might be the only one physically that can do them.”