Molly Gray towers over California high school divers after 2 close calls

Clayton Valley Charter High School junior Molly Gray won her first CIF state diving championship this spring after taking second as a freshman and sophomore. Gray won the high school one-meter competition but is also a standout on the three-meter and 10-meter platform while diving for her Stanford Diving Club team. (Photos courtesy Gray family)
Molly Gray, Clayton Valley Charter.

CONCORD, CA (July 1, 2024) — Clayton Valley Charter is now home to the best one-meter female high school diver in the state of California.

Winning the state diving championship, holding the all-time NCS record and being a two-time NISCA All-America, Molly Gray has accomplished a lot in her first three years of high school.

A rising senior, Gray has been diving for the Stanford Diving Club since fourth grade under coaches Oleg Andriyuk and Ryan Wallace.

Competing for this prestigious club requires Gray to commute to Stanford six days a week. Her mom has been driving her over an hour each way to practice for years while Gray completes her homework in the car.

She balances her schoolwork during her busy schedule, maintaining a 4.13 weighted GPA. All of this effort has paid off in her three trips to California’s State Diving Meet.

Determined to win

Her freshman and sophomore years she fell a few points short of the title. In fact, her freshman year she missed winning by .35 of a point and last year she shattered the state meet record score but was 2.15 points behind champion Isabella Chen.

So going into her junior year she was determined to win it all and at last month’s CIF State Meet, Gray finally reached the top of the victory stand, outdistancing the runner-up by 22.2 points. “When I saw the scoreboard after my final dive, I was ecstatic. My entire family had traveled to Fresno to support me and winning with them by my side was an incredible feeling,” Gray said.

She hopes to follow this achievement by breaking the state one-meter diving record next year.

Gray also has many successes at the junior level of USA Diving. She was a silver and bronze medalist at the 2022 Junior National Championships in the three-meter and one-meter events, respectively. In addition, she was a silver medalist in the one meter at the 2022 FINA Junior World Championships as well as placing eighth in the 10-meter platform and 12th in 3M.

Her sophomore season, Gray was also a three-meter finalist at the 2023 USA Diving Spring Senior National ­Championships.

Her state title performance recently earned her Clayton Valley Charter’s Mark of the Year Award.

Hard working

One of her CVCHS coaches, Niki Rodriguez, had this to say about their limited time together, “I can tell you that when I do get the chance to be around her, she is humble, sweet and extremely hard working. She came to swim team practice, worked hard and even kept up with some of the varsity kids in certain sets that we were doing, never once complaining about anything or asking for a break.”

Despite her long commute and time commitment to her Stanford team schedule, Gray still finds time to participate on the Ugly Eagle swim and diving team and values the relationships she has made with her fellow high school athletes.

She credits her success in diving to her athletic childhood where she participated in several sports including basketball, soccer, softball, swimming and gymnastics. All of these, especially gymnastics, helped build the foundation for her diving career.

Gray grew up in an athletic family, including her grandfather legendary basketball coach Frank Allocco Sr. who guided Northgate and De La Salle teams to state championships. Her uncle Frank Allocco Jr. has taken CVCHS boy basketball to a pair of North Coast Section basketball titles this decade.

However, her interest in diving was sparked by watching the 2012 Olympics, which caused her to beg her mother to sign her up for the sport.

Looking to the future, Gray verbally committed to Stanford last summer to further her diving and academics. Competing in those 2012 Olympics that inspired her was diving bronze medalist Kristian Ipsen of Clayton, who still holds the boys NCS and unofficial state diving record. Ipsen also trained with and attended Stanford where he was a national champion.

Corinne Jeandheur
Corinne Jeandheur

Corinne Jeandheur is a junior at Clayton Valley Charter High School.  She runs on the CVCHS cross country team in the fall as well as competing on the track and field team in the spring.  She also plays the piano and bakes in her free time.  Jeandheur is a member of the CVCHS Engineering and Design Academy and concluded her sophomore year with a 4.33 GPA.  She is serving as co-president of the California Scholarship Federation at Clayton Valley Charter this school year and continuing her academic and community involvement in the National Honor Society. She is very pleased to be writing the monthly Athlete Spotlight for the Pioneer.