Meghan Scott is one of the top divers in the state.
This year, for the first time, she’s been proving it at the high school level.
Scott is a senior at Nazareth Academy High School, and while she’s been one of the top divers for a while, for the Pandas, she decided to compete in her other sport, track.
It wasn’t that she didn’t want to join the Nazareth diving team. The problem was there wasn’t a diving team, and had Scott participated, she would be competing by herself against other schools, which would make it very difficult to win.
“Growing up, I was a competitive gymnast, and I liked it, but after a while it was time for me to stop,” said Scott, who lives in Hulmeville. “It wasn’t good for me mentally or physically, I just didn’t love the sport anymore.
“In the beginning of eighth grade, I decided to try a new sport, I did diving. Gymnastics definitely helped me. I started diving at TNT Diving, a club that practices out of Upper Dublin High School.
“Nazareth never had a dive team until last year. I was told I would ‘be’ the dive team, and I wanted to do a team sport. But as I got more serious about it, over track, I had a lot more fun this season, more relaxed. I’m glad I made the choice.”
It didn’t take her long to show the entire high school diving community exactly how good she can be.
Scott won the District One Class AA Diving championship at North Penn High School, scoring 435.25 points, which is good enough to help her qualify for the PIAA state championship beginning March 15 at Bucknell University in Lewistown.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, it’s my first year doing high school. I never did it, I was unsure,” Scott said. “It means a lot, I was very excited. It means my hard work isn’t going unnoticed. I’ve made a lot of progress since i got serious about diving. I want to work harder and get even better.
“Sometimes I’ll watch videos of dives I did and see my improvement, and it makes me happy. It’s hard to get better. It’s hard just to dive in. It’s better than gymnastics, you land slap into the water instead of on the ground. It’s very high.”
Diving for Nazareth has been very rewarding, and it could come with more riches after she competes at the state tournament.
And the best part is she didn’t have to completely give up her winter sport to compete.
While Scott didn’t compete for the Pandas during the indoor season, she intends to return to the sport when the spring rolls around and she can compete in outdoor track.
A sprinter, Scott can run anything from the 100-meter race to the 400-meter race. She also competes in the long jump.
It might sound like the two sports are completely different, but Scott things both sport help the other.
“I think running helps with my endurance for diving, the workouts and keeping the muscles up,” Scott said. “They both keep me in shape for the other sport. It helps in other ways, too. It helps you with confidence.”
Self esteem shouldn’t be a problem for Scott, who excels in academics as well as athletics. At Nazareth, she maintains a 4.65 grade point average, and because she’s a Diocesan Scholar, she takes a class at Holy Family. In the first semester, she studied psychology. She’s now taking a statistics course.
She’s also the National Honor Society president and a student council representative.
“I love Holy Family, it’s right next door and it’s helping me prepare for next year,” Scott said. “I’m starting to understand the vibe of how college classes go. Sometimes I get looks when I come in with my uniform on, but I’m learning a lot.”
It will help her next year. She’s bound for Villanova, the same school her mom attended, where she’ll major in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. She’ll also be diving.
“I always grew up loving Villanova, so it felt like home,” Scott said. “I’m going to dive there and it has a great academic reputation.
“My major is a neuroscience major, but it’s more psychology focused. I’m not sure what I want to do. I could become a clinical psychologist, but I’m not set on one career. I want to get an education and then I’ll decide.”
Scott will graduate from Nazareth in the spring with an impressive academic resume and athletic resume, but she’s also one of those people who simply like to make the world a better place. And athletics has actually helped her do that.
When she was younger, she was leaving a gymnastics event in Philadelphia and she spotted some homeless people. Now, she and her mom routinely make care packages for them.
“It depends, wherever we see people who need it,” Scott said. “We’re planning to do it soon, I enjoy doing that. One time I had a gymnastics meet and I was upset when we had to walk by a large group of homeless people, so the next day, my mom suggested making care packages. It varied, some people are appreciative and thankful, others would nod, but I could tell it was appreciated. It feels good knowing you brightened someone’s day.”
A strong finish to her high school career would put a smile on Scott’s face.
“I would love to do well at my state meet in March,” Scott said “I have to keep practicing and to do well with my club meet and enjoying the rest of my senior year and have fun with the time I have left.”