McCourt wins EPC mid-meet
From his first dive, Brandan McCourt took the lead in the East Penn Conference mid-season diving meet and never looked back from there. The 11-dive meet is an opportunity for divers to gauge where they are in the competition for conference and district championships later in the season and right now, the gauge is pretty high for McCourt.
As the defending state champion, McCourt has somewhat of a target on his back and is well aware of the work that he has to do to repeat as a state champion. For now, he’s focused on the regular season and allowing himself just a glimpse of what could come in districts. Winning the mid-season meet wasn’t unexpected and McCourt’s win came with a comfortable margin of over 100 points with his score of 525.20 besting Parkland’s Ethan Radio, who finished second at 423.55 through 11 dives.
“It’s a nice view to see how I’ll place and how I can do at districts,” said McCourt. “I know I can do a lot better, so I’m just going to focus and hone in on certain dives to see where I can go from there.”
McCourt was the only boys diver from Emmaus competing. Parkland divers finished second through sixth in the competition with three Northampton divers rounding out the top nine. One diver from Northampton was disqualified from the event.
On the girls side, Emmaus had three divers – sophomores Morgan Belisle and Audrey Davidson and freshman Carly Lennett – all competing for spots. Belisle finished eighth with Lennett just behind her in ninth, while Davidson was 17th in the girls competition. Parkland divers took the top three spots and five out of the top 10 girls divers were from Parkland. Freedom also placed two divers in the top 10 with fourth and sixth place finishes.
McCourt, who will continue his diving career at the University of Texas next year, is considered a favorite to repeat in districts and figures to have a strong shot at state gold at the PIAA Diving Championship at Bucknell University in March. He came into the season trying not to think too much about being the defending champion.
“It’s still in the back of my head and it’s a great feeling to be a state champion, but I just want to focus on this year and just see where it takes me,” said McCourt. “It’s my goal to try to win again, but I’m just hoping to have a great last high school season with my friends.”
In talking about districts, McCourt admits that having the meet at Emmaus does provide him with a bit of an advantage because he is so used to diving at Emmaus.
“The boards aren’t too different and the boards here and at Parkland and Nazareth are all very similar,” McCourt said in comparing various venues. “Diving here every single day is more of an advantage than other people have who only dive here a couple of times per season.”
Another of McCourt’s goals for the season is helping younger divers to be prepared to help lead the team after he heads off to Texas. He takes his role as a mentor seriously and enjoys the give and take between himself and younger divers who are looking to take over as team leaders down the road.
“They’re so much fun to be around in practice every day and I just enjoy being with them and working with them,” said McCourt. “Honestly, if I didn’t have them, I don’t know how I would make it through a season because it’s a long, grueling season, but they make it 10 times better.”