Hannah Hong aspiring for more after shattering the Centennial record books


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Hannah Hong stands alone as Centennial’s all-time best diver, but the senior wants more.

“It means a lot and I just want to prove my worth,” says Hong.

Hong broke the Charger’s 11-dive meet record last month, the third time she’s set the mark. She credits a positive outlook, despite a summer full of uncertainty due to the coronavirus, delaying her training.

“When I broke the record again I was coming in with a good vibes attitude,” says Hong. “You know I think attitude makes everything and I was just really happy.”

With her legacy intact, Hong has her sights set on raising the bar even higher and breaking her 6-dive record of 306. It will be the best she can hope for after the state meet was canceled by the IHSA due to COVID-19, meaning the season will end at sectionals. That’s disappointing for Hong and Centennial coach Don Waybright, who had big expectations for his standout diver this year after finishing seventh last season.

“I’ve had numerous boys’ state champions and a slew of girls who have come in runner-up. Now I think I get the very best girl in the state and I don’t have a chance to prove it. It’s very frustrating. It’s frustrating for me, it’s frustrating for her.”

But Hong isn’t letting that slow her down. The future nurse anesthesiologist shows up to practice every day with a smile on her face.

“I just like to live in the moment in everything that I do and not stress about other things,” says Hong. “I just want to be happy in everything I do.”

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