Diver performs well at US Olympic trials
On Sunday, Newton’s Gracia Leydon Mahoney gave herself an early birthday present at the finals of the US Olympic Diving Trials in Seattle.
Mahoney, one of the youngest competitors at the trials, advanced through the quarterfinals and semifinals, finishing seventh overall in a field of 12 hopefuls on the 3-meter board on Saturday and 10th overall Sunday on the 10-meter board.
Mahoney, who celebrated her 16th birthday Monday, was the only woman to reach the finals on both boards. The top two finishers on each board qualified for the US Olympic team heading to London.
“I’m really happy with how I performed,” said Mahoney, who, as a sophomore, transferred in January from Newton North High to Durham Academy in North Carolina, where she was able to train with Duke University’s diving coach, Drew Johansen. “Perhaps I could have placed higher but at my age and at this stage of my diving, I’m pleased with how it ended up,’’ she said.
Mahoney is returning home for at least part of the summer to continue her training with Tracey Bird at the Beede Center in Concord. Bird, who traveled to Seattle, is Concord-Carlisle Regional High’s diving coach.
Mahoney’s next challenge will come at the Junior-Senior Nationals, to be held in August in Greensboro, N.C.
Last year, Mahoney took first place in the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter synchronized platform events at USA Diving’s National Junior Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. She was second in the 1-meter springboard and third in the 10-meter individual platform.
She also had a strong showing last summer at the Pan-Am Junior Diving Championships in Colombia, winning the 3-meter competition and placing fourth in the 1-meter.
“That was a tough meet with a lot of great divers, so it prepared me well for this season,” said Mahoney, who started competing at age 9 for the Charles River Diving team, based at Harvard and Boston universities.
“I was a diver and gymnast until I was 11,” she said, “but then diving started to take over. It’s pretty common for gymnasts to go into diving. Gymnastics helps because it gives you spatial awareness and strength necessary for diving, and some of the movements are similar.”
In Seattle, Mahoney advanced from a field of 32 in the quarterfinals and a field of 18 in the semis. Her cumulative score for all three rounds determined her final standing.
Ellis is new head pro at Lynch course
When Tom Ellis interviewed for the position of head pro at the Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course in Brookline, he couldn’t help but notice the bronze statue of 1913 US Open winner Francis Ouimet and his caddy, Eddie Lowery, at its entrance.
Ouimet, an amateur from Brookline, was an upset winner over British professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at The Country Club, part of which is adjacent to the Lynch Municipal.
“There’s so much golf history in Brookline and I love the history of the game,” said Ellis, who played as a youngster at Wanango Country Club near Franklin, Pa.
Ellis was first assistant at Salem Country Club the past three years and was previously head pro at TPC Boston in Norton.
Lynch Municipal was designed in 1933 by Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek, whose many collaborations included Pine Brook Country Club in Weston. Two of Lynch’s holes are named for them.
“They weren’t gimmicky; they used the land available to them and our layout reflects that. We’ve improved our drainage and renovated bunkers, but without changing the original character of the course,” said Ellis, who succeeds retired director of golf and New England PGA Hall of Famer Jack Neville of Newton and former head pro Brian Bain, now PGA regional player development manager.
Lord helps Durham to English lacrosse title
Rob Lord of Westborough, a 2010 Union College graduate, was a starting defenseman on the Durham University men’s lacrosse team that went 15-0 and defeated Manchester University, 17-0, in the English Lacrosse National Championship.
Lord coached and played for the Wilmslow Lacrosse Club when he arrived in England two years ago. He is pursuing a master’s degree in defense, development, and diplomacy at Durham’s Global Security Institute and is planning to return home next month.