Chambersburg's Nick Cover was a top state diver even before he got his drivers license. Now a junior, Cover eyes top state and national competition. Some video submitted by Nick Cover. Video by Lindsey Smith
Chambersburg's Nick Cover added one more piece of diving hardware to his collection on Sunday at the PIAA Class 3A diving championships at Bucknell.
But this one was a little more special.
After three years of diving at the state competition, Cover finally cracked the top five - earning a fifth-place medal with a final score of 465.35, just 20 points shy of PIAA gold medalist and District 3 rival, Jake Hedrick from Hershey.
After a seventh-place performance last year as a sophomore, Cover was hoping for a fifth-place finish since placing second at the Mid Penn meet in February.
"I'm really happy with how I did today," Cover said. "There was a little bit of pressure because I wanted to go up in the standings (from last year) and the competition was really high. There were a lot of good divers this time around, but I've been improving my technique."
"It's great to be able to watch him achieve his goal," Chambersburg coach Ryan Crider said. "And next year I would expect him to continue to push the leader board even more. His technique is improving week after week."
Cover entered the semifinals in 12th place with 195 points, and moved up to seventh with 325 points through semifinals. His final three dives - the back dive, inward double and back flip with 2.5 twists - gave him enough momentum to finish in the top five.
"In the first dives I didn't have the best dives," Cover said. "Some of my scores were lower than I usually get, but I hit my next three dives and that bumped my score up, and my last three I really hit. My back dive was my best today; I had good timing and ripped the entry."
"There are more divers who cannot come back from a deficit like that, than can," Crider said. "It tends to cause some mental stress and they just get stuck, but Nick was able to focus and push through and he hit his mark. His last three dives really pulled it all together."
Cover finished two points out of fourth place, behind Sam Henninger of Abington. Hedrick captured the state gold medal with 485.25 points, while Bryce Hoch of North Penn and Jonah Cagley of Fox Chapel placed second and third, respectively.