East Penn Press

Friday, April 3, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZDefending state champion Brendan McCourt won another district title in record fashion. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZDefending state champion Brendan McCourt won another district title in record fashion.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Carly Lennett performs a dive at the District 11 Championships. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Carly Lennett performs a dive at the District 11 Championships.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Molly O'Connor was one of two Emmaus freshman divers to compete in districts Saturday. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Molly O'Connor was one of two Emmaus freshman divers to compete in districts Saturday.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Brendan McCourt (holding sign) earned the gold medal and the McGinley Diver of the Meet award, Saturday. The other three medal winners at the meet were, all from Parkland, were (left to right) Kole Cannon (fourth place), Ethan Radio (second place) and Logan Choma (third place). PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Brendan McCourt (holding sign) earned the gold medal and the McGinley Diver of the Meet award, Saturday. The other three medal winners at the meet were, all from Parkland, were (left to right) Kole Cannon (fourth place), Ethan Radio (second place) and Logan Choma (third place).

McCourt earns gold

Thursday, February 27, 2020 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

If you ever think it would be a good idea to bet against Brendan McCourt when he sets his sights on something, you need to rethink that. Seriously rethink that.

McCourt came into his fourth District 11 diving championship with two goals, which were basically encompassed into one. The overriding thought was that he wanted to set – or technically, reset – the pool record for an 11-dive meet. If he did that, winning his third straight district gold and advancing to states was going to be pretty much a given.

McCourt came away with a seemingly easy victory to get gold at districts, successfully resetting his personal best and the pool record for an 11-dive meet with a score of 562.70, with Parkland’s Ethan Radio finishing second at 470.65 and another Parkland diver, Logan Choma placing third with a score of 448.45.

The top two finishers are guaranteed a trip to the PIAA meet next month at Bucknell University.

By McCourt’s way of thinking, he needed to reset all of his personal best scores and all of the Emmaus team and pool records that he set as a junior to show that he had improved from one season to the next.

“After my eighth dive is when I really thought that I could get it [the record],” said McCourt. I purposely put my two most consistent dives last and I knew after my reverse two-and-a-half [round seven] that I was almost there and I just needed to nail my back dive and I did.”

McCourt’s seventh round dive resulted in his highest score of the day with a 69.00. To close out the competition, McCourt scored a 55.20 on a reverse one-and-a-half summersault in the tenth round and a 53.75 on a back one-and-a-half summersault, one-and-a-half twist on his final dive.

Radio was sticking close to McCourt early on and actually took a short-lived lead after three dives, leading McCourt 135.95 to 133.85. In the fourth round, McCourt delivered a near flawless forward two-and-a-half summersault to move back in front and he didn’t relinquish that spot the rest of the day.

Not only did McCourt capture the gold medal, but he was awarded the Dennis McGinley award as the top diver overall at the meet, capping off another successful day that saw him win his third straight district gold medal and send him to states where he will defend his state championship from last year.

“It’s just great to have my last diving meet ever here [at Emmaus] be one of the best ones I’ve ever had and I can focus on states,” said McCourt, who used the same program that he executed last year at states, but scored 20 points higher on the set of dives at this year’s district events. He also bested his score from last year’s district meet by 46.25 points.

McCourt contemplated adding a more advanced dive, a back two-and-a-half, to his repertoire for districts, but ultimately decided against it, preferring to stick with his more comfortable routine. He’s giving the same consideration to his performance at states, but will wait to decide which way he should go.

“I’m going to be practicing it a lot, most definitely,” said McCourt. “We have to wait and see.”

In girls diving, Emmaus had two freshman divers competing. Carly Lennett finished 15th, while classmate Molly O’Connor finished 18th in the girls Class 3A competition. Lennett and O’Connor had finished 13th and 15th at the EPC championship earlier this month at Parkland High School.