May day: Hanover senior wins NHIAA diving title

  • Sophia May

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 2/19/2021 9:58:51 PM
Modified: 2/20/2021 10:46:13 AM

LEBANON — Imagine going through an entire season not seeing the competition until championship time. Hanover High swimming and diving has lived that existence in the winter of COVID-19.

The Marauders’ state title efforts got off to a literal flying start on Friday night with seven athletes filling a slimmed-down 17-competitor roster for the NHIAA state diving meet at the CCBA’s Dwinell Pool. Hanover won the Division II girls meet with senior Sophia May, while promising freshman Sam Calderwood took second behind impressive St. Thomas senior Dillon O’Connor among the boys.

The diving team’s performance is a useful table-setter for the swim meet that follows, normally at UNH but this time on Sunday in Salem. Points accrued in diving give the swimmers a head start toward a team crown, and it’s made a big difference in recent years: The Marauder girls are three-time defending D-II champs, and the boys won in 2018 and ’19 before being deposed last winter.

“I think, this year, we saw a lot more nerves out there,” Hanover coach Carl Renshaw said. “Our divers have only dived in intrasquad meets this year; they haven’t had the chance to dive against other divers, and I think we saw that reflected in some nervousness, a few mistakes out there, which is unfortunate but to be expected.”

May made the most of the moment. On a stop-start kind of a day, she amassed 213.30 points for her six dives to edge out Winnacunnet’s Hanna Overholt (203.95). Marauders filled most of the slots, with Nika Renshaw third (195.40), Janina Li fourth (179.70) and Emma Sablan sixth (148.00).

The D-II girls were expecting a 6 p.m. meet start but were informed upon arrival they’d go at 4 p.m., May said. It required a quick mental adjustment, and Hanover persevered.

“We try not to stress too much about it and not try to put too much pressure on ourselves, but we do understand how we compete today will affect what happens (on Sunday),” May said. “We get a lot of gymnasts; I was a gymnast for five years and transitioned to diving my sophomore year. ... I think that’s really where we get the numbers we get.”

Others, like Calderwood, came through Dartmouth coach Chris Hamilton’s club program before joining the Marauders. Calderwood (226.60) was solid but couldn’t keep up with O’Connor (316.15), who topped 60 points on two of his six attempts. Hanover’s Michael Hertog-Raz and Brynne Spaeth were fifth and sixth, respectively.

The Marauders lose May, Renshaw and Sablan to graduation, but the seniors leave knowing they’ve given their swimming compatriots a boost.

“We tell them the same thing: ‘Go our there and dive your dive,’ Renshaw said. “If they relax and they can get comfortable, they can do fantastic out there.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at or 603-727-3226.


An earlier version  of this story included a photograph of another person but incorrectly identified her as Sophia May. The photo has been updated.

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