Updated: April 4, 2014 6:15AM
The diving title won Saturday by Marian Catholic’s Joey Cifelli was the first state championship by a Southland individual since Lincoln-Way North’s Kyler VanSwol won the 100-yard butterfly in 2010.
Cifelli practices at Illinois-Chicago because Marian Catholic doesn’t have a pool. He competes with Windy City Diving at UIC during the non-high school season.
“I love my whole team there,’’ he said. “We compete nationally so I get to travel. I get to go see colleges. Last summer I went to Iowa, Missouri, Arizona, Minnesota. It’s awesome. Legally colleges aren’t allowed to contact me until July 1st.’’
Cifelli will try to earn back-to-back state titles next season before going to college.
“I definitely want to dive Division I,’’ he said. “I loved Texas. I went to Texas and competed there, but I don’t know how far I want to go.
“I love Iowa. I know Missouri has a great team and Purdue has a great team. IU has a great team. There’s so many things I have to look into before I narrow it down.’’
Andrew, led by senior Kyle Fitzgerald, was the highest-placing Southland team in the state meet at Evanston. The Thunderbolts tied Neuqua Valley for 18th place with 24 points among 49 teams.
Stagg finished 30th, Brother Rice was tied for 34th and Lincoln-Way East tied for 38th place.
Stagg juniors Zack Amendola and Evan Johnson and freshman Lucas Smiarowski make the Chargers the team to beat next season in the Southland.
Lincoln-Way East’s Patrick Hackett and Brother Rice’s James Ryan are sophomores to watch for the next two seasons.