Cetti hits rare diving mark


BUTLER TWP — Levi Cetti was looking for a challenge. Butler diving coach Ken Bedford knew Cetti would succeed — easily. 

Cetti, a junior diver at Butler High School, is only in his third season of the sport after a career in gymnastics, but he's already placed himself beside some elite company. 
This season, Cetti became the seventh diver in school history to eclipse 300 points in a meet. He did so earlier this season in a scrimmage meet, then did it again in the Tornado's home meet against Knoch last Thursday with a 302.05. 
“It was really exciting,” Cetti said. “As soon as I came out of the pool and they showed the score, everyone was cheering. 
“It's a great feeling because I wanted to be on (the banner). You look up and you see Ken and David Pichler, an Olympian, and Heath (Calhoun). I strive to be like them.” 
The others who have exceeded 300 points are Dann Grindel, Nunzio Esposto and John Rhodaberger. Pichler holds the school and pool record with a 356.25, set during the 1986 season. 
But Cetti lacked the pedigree coming into high school, having never practiced the event. 
“I was in gymnastics for eight years,” Cetti said. “I was a state champion for two years (2005-06 and 2006-07) with the Butler Gymnastics Club.” 
Once he got to high school, he decided diving would be a suitable replacement, but it wasn't what he expected. 
“I wasn't sure how it was going to be,” Cettti noted. “I thought it would be a smooth transition, but toward the end of my freshman year, I figured it out.” 
“When I first saw him as a freshman, even at that young age, you could see he was going to be something special,” said Bedford. “He had no fear.” 
Last season, Cetti placed fifth at the WPIAL Class AAA meet, but missed qualifying for the state meet by 0.40 points. 
Another district, however, needed someone to fill in so Cetti was given the chance to compete in the PIAA championships. 
“I didn't do so well,” said Cetti, “but I got to see a lot of what goes on. The kid that won, I'd be, 'I want to be like that kid.'” 
Last season, Cetti was on the cusp of reaching 300, but just fell short. 
“He was a little disappointed. He had 296 last season,” Bedford said. “He was right on the bubble, so I knew this year he would do it. 
“His spinning is incredible and his awareness, he knows where he is. He has a great ability to find his head into the water,” he added. 
Bedford explained how each diver has their own style, which applies to Cetti. 
“Heath Calhoun was pure strength,” Bedford said. “David Pichler was the best. Nunzio was a great diver. Levi brings a gymnastics look. 
“And, you can see how his body has changed. He started out as a little kid, now he's become a man,” Bedford added. 
Next for Bedford and Cetti is to toughen up the routine. 
“We'll work on the degree of difficulty,” Bedford said. “In the offseason, we'll do a lot of weight training. He's already got some of these dives down.” 
Said Cetti, “There's a whole bunch of other dives. There are build-ups to other dives and there's one we'll be doing at the state meet.” 
And Cetti still has his senior campaign waiting for him next year.