LEWISBURG — Throughout his career, Nick Cover gradually improved as a diver, increasing his points and his place in big meets.
And now the Chambersburg senior can end that excellent career as the ultimate winner, because he is a state champion.
Cover earned the Class 3A boys diving title Wednesday afternoon at the PIAA Championships at Bucknell University. He is believed to be the first Trojan athlete to earn a state crown in diving — Dustin Boone was a runner-up in 1999.
“As a coaching staff, we are extremely proud of Nick,” Chambersburg diving coach Ryan Crider said. “He worked really hard for this and he deserves it.”
Cover was in first place after the preliminaries with 255.50 points, ahead of Abington’s Sam Henninger (251.10) and Jonah Cagley of Fox Chapel (218.65). The order was the same after the semifinals — Cover with 388.20, Henninger with 371.65 and Cagley with 351.35.
When Cover came to his last dive, he needed at least 22.2 points to lock in first place and he scored 45.9. He ended up with 521.50 to 497.80 for Henninger and 483.75 for Cagley.
“By the sixth or seventh dive, he was in first place for good,” Crider said. “He just stayed focused on one dive at a time and did not look ahead. We stuck with the dives we used (in districts) and tried to be as clean as possible. Obviously, he did clean up a few things.”
Cover had scored 511.50 to win his District 3 title, which gave him the No. 7 seed at states. But while he increased his scoring total to 521.50, some of his competitors did not match their qualifying totals.
Crider said, “It’s fairly normal at states that the scoring is tougher there.”
The Trojan coach said that Cover, who will dive for West Virginia University next year, was strongest with his “twister” dives.
“The nicest one he hit was a front 1 1/2 somersault with two twists,” Crider said. “That gave him 62.4 points, and at that level any score of 50 or more is a good number.”
Cover averaged 47.4 points for his 11 dives.
In Class 3A boys swimming Wednesday, two Trojans earned team points. Combined with Cover’s win, that left Chambersburg in 14th place after one day with 34.5 points.
Jacob Greenwood placed ninth in the 200 freestyle with a finals time of 1:40.86, good enough to win the consolation race. In the prelims, his time of 1:41.94 was 10th best.
In the 100 butterfly, Avery Barley took 11th place, putting down a time of 50.79 in the consolation race. In the prelims, Barley’s time of 50.78 was the 13th best.
Chambersburg’s other entrant, C.J. Pong, collected a finish of 22nd in the 200 IM with a time of 1:57.67.
All three swimmers are back in action Thursday, with Greenwood in the 500 free and Barley in the 100 backstroke, and those two plus Pong and Aiden McMillen will swim the 400 free relay.