Deep Dive: Senior diver sets records, supports team

Senior Will Maharry has set several school records for diving, but his dedication to the team and unwavering support for his teammates makes him stand out.

Gabriel Issa

Senior Will Maharry has set several school records for diving, but his dedication to the team and unwavering support for his teammates makes him stand out.

Colin Leslie, Assistant Editor

When senior Will Maharry won the IHSA sectional diving championship on Feb. 19, he became the first U-High diver to qualify for state and broke his own record in the process. But according to his coach, Dar Novak, Will wasn’t focused on himself. To her, it seemed like he was more interested in congratulating his teammate, sophomore David Ren, who finished in second. That’s who Will is.

Will has had a historic season, setting several records and breaking them again, and participated in the state meet Feb. 26, but what sets him apart, according to his coach and teammate, is his infectious dedication and support for his teammates.

Will said the importance of a strong mentality cannot be overlooked in diving.

“It’s really not very physically taxing at all, but if you’re not in the right headspace to do a dive, it’s gonna be bad,” Will said. “Supporting team members is the primary aspect, like being on the pool deck while someone else is doing a dive, more so than giving pointers is just giving them support.”

Supporting team members is the primary aspect, like being on the pool deck while someone else is doing a dive, more so than giving pointers is just giving them support.”

— Will Maharry

The emphasis Will places on mental support is obvious, according to David. As a relatively new diver, David credits much of his improvement to Will, who he said pushes and motivates him.

“I was really bad at diving and he told me to just keep trying, to get the same dive over and over again,” David said. “For me, that helped a lot because it just gave me a reason to keep going.”

Will’s dedication is contagious.

“He brings lots of fun energy. Like, every time I practice, he’s always ready to get going,” David said. “He also motivates people, like, to do it again until you get it perfect.”

Ms. Novak said she trusts Will to advise and support his teammates just as she would. According to her, if she does not see someone’s dive at practice, she is confident the advice Will might give is the same as what she would say.

“As a teammate, he’s incredibly supportive,” Ms. Novak said. “Because of the knowledge he has of diving and has acquired, he can help his teammates.”

While Ms. Novak is confident in Will’s ability to coach, Will said he does not think he would have gotten to where he is now without his coach’s help.

“I’m just proud to have gotten that good. I also think a portion of the credit has to be given to Coach Dar,” Will said, referring to Ms. Novak. “She really has helped me improve a lot this season.”

Will’s accomplishments this year come after taking two years off from diving. He quit after his freshman year because, he said, it just did not feel the same as when he started in middle school at Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School in Flossmoor, Illinois.

Senior Will Maharry begins a dive at Gerald Ratner Athletic Center Feb. 17. Will has set several school records for diving, but his dedication to the team and unwavering support for his teammates makes him stand out. (Gabriel Issa)

“It just seemed really stressful for me, honestly,” Will said. “The social elements that had been present when I started was kind of gone, because as opposed to having 10 other people there were like two other people there.”

According to Ms. Novak, Will had to learn a collection of new dives this year to prepare him for a trip to the state competition.

Learning flips is something that Will has always liked. His trampoline and tumbling background is beneficial for diving.

“The main thing that I kind of got into was trampolining and tumbling,” Will said. “I kind of taught myself how to do a lot of the flips there, but at that point, I’d also already been doing diving for a while, so those skills kind of translated and built off each other.”

Ms. Novak believes Will’s attitude and mindset will take him far in anything he decides to do.

“He’s courageous. Fearless. He’s just absolutely fearless, and he has a desire to try new things,” Ms. Novak said. “He enjoys the accomplishment of learning something new, and then mastering it.” 

While his own dedication to mastering a skill brought him to state, his selflessness as a teammate is what stands out.