East Penn Press

Friday, April 3, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZDefending state champ Brendan McCourt has one more chance to break his own records at the Emmaus High School Natatorium. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZDefending state champ Brendan McCourt has one more chance to break his own records at the Emmaus High School Natatorium.

McCourt looks for big finish

Thursday, February 20, 2020 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

If Brendan McCourt was a basketball player, he would be a Michael Jordan type player, the guy you want to put up the last shot in a close game.

He showed that the last time he was on a diving board in a competition when he needed a big final dive to break his personal best and the team record. In basketball terms, it was nothing but net.

He drained not just a shot, but a three-pointer and got the records he wanted.

With the District 11 diving championship at Emmaus this weekend, McCourt is looking to make someone climb a ladder again and change the numbers and the year for the pool record in an 11-dive meet.

The goal is simple. McCourt wants all of his records on the big board at the Emmaus Natatorium to be from 2020, not 2019. He wants to show that he was truly at his best when he finished his high school diving career.

“That’s important to me,” said McCourt. “I just want to have all of the records say 2020, it’s something that I’ve wanted to do all season, so this is my shot.”

McCourt is coming off of the disappointment of having missed the EPC Championship because of illness. The day before the conference meet, he came down with the flu and was unable to compete. He was disappointed, but realizes that it could have been worse.

He’s healthy for districts, which will likely punch his ticket to states and a shot at finishing his high school diving career with back-to-back state championships.

In practice, McCourt has been working on a back, two-and-a-half dive and while it’s tempting to put it into his routine for districts, he’s sticking with the tried and true dives that have brought him this far.

“I’m just not consistent enough with the dive yet to put it into this type of meet,” he said. “I think I can get more points sticking with the one-and-a-half and not pushing it. If I had a little more time it would be more tempting.”

McCourt is proud of diving for Emmaus and realizes that at most he’s got two more chances to represent his school. A strong showing at districts puts him in states. If not, then his high school career ends Saturday.

“I was upset after the Parkland meet because it was the last dual meet with my team,” said McCourt. “Now, I’m running out of opportunities to represent Emmaus, so I want to go out strong.”

While McCourt is the highest profile diver competing for Emmaus in districts, there are other interesting storylines to follow. Freshman divers Carly Lennett and Molly O’Connor got their first taste of championship diving at the conference meet and performed well for their first time out.

While both have work to do to get into the top echelon of local divers, both are very talented and the more experience they get, the faster they’ll get there. Sophomore Morgan Belisle missed the conference meet with an injury, and it’s not clear if she will be ready for districts.

Besides McCourt, every other diver on the Emmaus team is either a sophomore or freshman. Belisle, Cami Metka and Audrey Davidson are sophomores and Lennett and O’Connor are joined by Gabi Gurrieri and Ben Goldman as freshman divers. Lennett and O’Connor were the only Hornet divers to compete at the EPC meet two weeks ago.