Lufkin diver ranked No. 1 in state — without a diving board

Josh Havard, Lufkin High School Student Media

Lufkin High School junior Carter Wood earned a district title in January and is the top-seeded diver in the state heading into this weekend’s regional championships. (Photo by ANDY ADAMS/Lufkin ISD)

Lufkin High School junior Carter Wood has the top seeding in Texas as a diver — even though Lufkin doesn’t have a regulation diving board.

Wood, who won a district championship in January and will compete for a regional title this weekend, travels two hours to College Station three hours a week to practice with a USA Diving coach.

When asked about his inspiration to become a diver, Wood said, “I was at a swim meet for my older brother in eighth grade. I saw the divers there, and I knew I wanted to do that.”

Wood learned a lot of his skills on another platform.

“I started off experimenting with flips on the trampoline,” he said. “I realized I was pretty good at it, so diving was the next step for me.”

Wood’s success has come even after he suffered a torn ACL this past summer.

“Sitting at home doing nothing inspired me to do more,” he said. “The recovery drove me.”

Wood’s only competition from week to week are the other divers who practice with the same coach that Wood uses.

“Coaching Carter is up to his USA Diving Coach, and (LHS Swim Coach) Eddie Adams giving him pointers at the meets,” LHS Assistant Swim Coach William Marshall said.

Marshall said Wood “has a great shot to be a state finalist and possibly win it.”

The regional diving meet is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. Friday at the Eastside Aquatic Center in The Colony. Click here to access a livestream of the meet.