Athlete of the Year: Sky’s the limit for Etowah’s DuVall
by Emily Horos
March 22, 2014 04:00 AM | 1878 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Madison DuVall
<Br>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
Madison DuVall
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
HOLLY SPRINGS — When Madison DuVall is diving from the 1-meter board, it’s hard to find an athlete more focused, poised and determined.

DuVall, who recently wrapped up her third season as a high school diver, has been a rising star since she came over to the sport from gymnastics about three years ago.

Competing not only with Etowah, but with Metro Atlanta Divers and, more recently, USA Diving, DuVall has had to adjust her sights to aim higher.

Initially, DuVall said she wanted to simply compete in another sport after injuries forced her to leave her first love of gymnastics. At the end of her sophomore year, DuVall said it was her dream to earn a college scholarship to the likes of Hawaii. She also thought it would be nice to win a state title after finishing third in 2013.

Then, something surprising happened.

DuVall was named to the 2013 All-American diving team by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. It was then that DuVall said she knew diving would be more than an extracurricular activity for her.

As a junior, DuVall was unbeatable. She ended the season with a Class AAAAAA state championship and will have the opportunity to defend her title next season.

For being unmatched in her craft this season, DuVall is the 2014 Cherokee Tribune Girls Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Year.

Etowah coach Virginia Richards said it’s a testament to DuVall’s skill that she had to temper her dives at the state meet in order to not face disqualification.

“There is a certain level of difficulty that you aren’t allowed to exceed at the state meet,” Richards said. “If she was going to do this dive, then she couldn’t do this other dive, or it would place the difficulty too high.”

Among the dives in DuVall’s arsenal are a back, 1½-somersault, 1-½ twist free — a dive just a handful of high school girls in the nation perform. Also high in difficulty are the forward 2½-somersault tuck, and the back 1½-somersault pike — the latter of which gave DuVall the most points at the state meet.

Along with her climb up the diving ranks, DuVall has changed some of her goals. She’s now considering colleges that are known for their strong diving programs such as North Carolina, Tennessee and LSU.

DuVall has also dabbled in synchronized diving through USA Diving, and she’s continued to develop her skills under former Georgia Tech coach William Humber. Still, her original goal of continuing to improve remains.

Richards said there aren’t many who can compete with DuVall.

“She has definitely been an asset for us,” Richards said. “We have another girl who will be joining the program next year, and we hope that diving catches on at Etowah because of what Madison started.”
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