East Penn Press

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZEmmaus’ Brendan McCourt finished in first place at the annual EPC mid-season diving meet. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZEmmaus’ Brendan McCourt finished in first place at the annual EPC mid-season diving meet.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSenior Jess Hurlburt is back from an injury that slowed her high school career and looking forward to finishing strong this season. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSenior Jess Hurlburt is back from an injury that slowed her high school career and looking forward to finishing strong this season.

McCourt wins at EPC Meet

Sunday, January 28, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

As a freshman, Jess Hurlburt won the District 11 diving championship and went on to place third in states. Then, a shoulder injury sidelined her and put a major obstacle in her way. She didn’t dive with the high school team in the past two seasons, but returned for her senior season and is showing that she’s back to form.

Brendan McCourt had much the same introduction to high school diving as a freshman, but many times found himself finishing second to teammate and good friend Andrew Vanim. Vanim graduated last year and McCourt is now the leading diver for Emmaus and has picked up ahead of where he left off last season.

Against Wilson last weekend, McCourt reset the pool and team records for scores in a six-dive event, finishing with a 322.5 to easily win the diving portion of the meet against Wilson. Ironically, it was a year ago at Wilson that McCourt set the team record, so he wanted to break it against the same highly regarded team this year, in his own pool.

“I was really going for it and said beforehand ‘I really want to break this record,’” admitted McCourt. “After my first dive I was confident and then my back one-and-a-half, they didn’t score really well, so I knew my last four dives I had to do really well.”

The record-setting performance came on the heels of a first-place finish for McCourt at the midseason EPC Diving meet the weekend before at Nazareth High School. McCourt beat Parkland’s Logan Choma and beat top competitor Steven Stasolla of Nazareth, who finished third in part because of a failed dive on one attempt.

“It felt really good, especially to beat Steven, because Steven is a really good diver, and it just felt really good as an accomplishment,” said McCourt. “Even though he failed a dive, I know now that I can beat him, so that helps to shape our future events.”

Hurlburt finished second in the Wilson meet and didn’t compete at the midseason EPC diving meet, but she’s looking to the rest of the dual meet season and towards districts, as she puts some of her tougher dives back into her repertoire in preparation for the postseason. She’s been able to put the injuries behind her and is glad to be back with her high school team.

“It was frustrating, but I’m making a steady comeback and I’m really excited for what the future is going to hold,” said Hurlburt. “I feel really strong and I think that as the season goes on, I’ll be doing more of my harder dives, which I’m really excited about.”

Both divers have a good chance to earn a trip to Bucknell University for states at the end of the season. Hurlburt knows for sure that she’ll be heading to Bucknell, since she’s committed to attend the school and be a part of their diving program after she graduates from Emmaus next spring.

As for looking ahead though, Hurlburt is settling her sites on the more immediate future including the upcoming dual meets.

Emmaus and Wilson West Lawn have seen a lot of each other lately, with Emmaus heading to Wilson for the Wilson Relays and then the two teams having their yearly dual meet battle with each other this past weekend.

In head-to-head competition, Wilson beat the Emmaus boys team 106-80 and downed the girls team 110-76.