The score looked good, but the Northeastern senior didn't know where she stood. After her final dive, Gross knew she was a district champion.
The Rutgers-bound Gross, who twice came in second at the Class AA level, took the lead on her second-to-last effort and finished strong, scoring 391.85 points en route to winning the District 3 AAA title.
"I didn't know I took the lead," she said. "I was watching my scores. I didn't think I was close on my second to last dive, but then after the last one I was a little happy. They felt like my best two dives of the morning."
Scoring nearly 40 points on her last two dives was especially impressive after Gross missed more than a month of competition, including the YAIAA championship meet, recuperating from a broken bone in her foot.
She was in third place after both the preliminary round of five dives and after eight, trailing club teammates Julia Jagannath of Cedar Cliff and Rachel McCormick of Central Dauphin. Gross past McCormick on the ninth dive, then got by Jagannath -- the defending champ -- on the next one.
McCormick finished second with 384.70 points and Jagannath's 384.55 was good for third.
"When I started off, my foot was great. I took some pain killers to make it through the meet," Gross said. "By the end it
"It feels great (to win), but I wouldn't be able to do it without my coaches and my club team. The girls that got second and third, they pushed me and helped me through my broken foot."
Gross was one of four YAIAA divers to medal in the girls' competition. Dover's Morgan Stambaugh placed fourth with 367.90, Elizabeth Rothrock of Dallastown (359.50) was fifth and South Western's Maison Hammen (321.25) finished eighth.
The top seven finishers qualified for the PIAA meet. Despite a terrific district meet, Hammen barely missed out on a trip to states -- by 4.15 points.
"I was nervous coming in. I started out 11th and didn't know what was going on," Stambaugh said. "I am so excited to go to states again."
Rothrock continued her solid postseason and a little more than a week after she won the YAIAA championship, when she garnered fifth place at districts.
"There were a couple of rough patches today," she said, "My coaches tell me to stay calm and try my best.
"My goal was top five and I got fifth."
The three have three weeks to prepare for states and Gross will try to improve upon the bronze medal she won in last year's Class AA competition.
"I am so excited since it's my senior year and my last high school meet, I am ready," she said.
Taylor Bahoric of Dover was 10th (315.90), Gabrielle Heilman of South Western 17th (214.30), Northeastern's Olivia Thornton 21st (130.85) and Courtney Seitzinger of Central York was 22nd (130.45).
Although not nearly as dramatic as the girls, Wilson sophomore Joe Warker topped the field, which included twin brother John, for a gold medal with an impressive 441.85 points.
Fresh off his YAIAA championship, Central senior Gabe Patil earned a sixth-place medal and a trip to states behind his score of 303.85.
Patil liked his district performance better than the one he had at the league championships, but expects more in three weeks.
"It's nice to know this wasn't my last time," he said. "I dove better than last week, but can do better at states. A few dives didn't quite hit that I know I can do better."
Using his experience from 2012 districts, Patil was able to focus on what he needed to do on Saturday.
"I was definitely more prepared this year," he said. "I knew I was around the cut for states. I had a feel for where I was. It was a different mindset."
Dallastown's Ben Staub (256.45) placed ninth and Patil's Panthers teammate Josh Meisenhelter was 12th, with 234.
District 3 Class AAA Diving Championships
at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School
1. Rebecca Gross, Northeastern, 391.85; 2. Rachel McCormick, Central Dauphin, 384.70; 3. Julia Jagannath, Cedar Cliff, 384.55; 4. Morgan Stambaugh, Dover, 367.90; 5. Elizabeth Rothrock, Dallastown, 359.50; 6. Brianna DiGilio, Hempfield, 350.90; 7. Becca Beachler, Central Dauphin, 325.40; 8. Maison Hammond, South Western, 321.25; 9. Morgan Miskovitz, Exeter, 317.15; 10. Taylor Bahoric, Dover, 315.90; 11. Emily Allen, Cedar Cliff, 312.85; 12. Nadia Mulder, Hershey, 307.70; 13. Leah Eshbach, Wilson, 301.20; 14. Emily Hinson, Elizabethtown, 292.75; 15. Amelia Loy, Cedar Cliff, 288.90; 16. Erin Bates, Muhlenberg, 275.30; 17. Gabrielle Heilman, South Western, 214.30; 18. Nicole Lopez, Carlisle, 213.95; 19. Cami Darling, Hershey, 211.75; 20. Paige Schoelkopf, Hempfield, 210.35; 21. Olivia Thornton, Northeastern, 130.85; 22. Courtney Seitzinger, Central York, 130.45.
1. Joe Warker, Wilson, 441.85; 2. Alex Pfisterer, Governor Mifflin, 401.25; 3. Matt Mullen, Central Dauphin, 394.60; 4. John Warker, Wilson, 386.35; 5. Michael Carter, Exeter, 317.65; 6. Gabe Patil, Central York, 303.85; 7. Kenny Steeves, Reading, 274.60; 8. Devyn Goda, Reading, 267.90; 9. Ben Staub, Dallastown, 256.45; 10. Taylor Williams, Governor Mifflin, 249.95; 11. Steve Backenstos, Central Dauphin East, 243.80; 12. Josh Meisenhelter, Central York, 234.00; 13. Mike Jarvis, Hershey, 220.85; Tim Shearer, Chambersburg, 185.50.