GREENFIELD — It wasn’t a surprise when two-time defending Hoosier Heritage Conference champion Shyanne Milne claimed her third consecutive conference diving title Thursday at Greenfield-Central.
What did come as a shock, though, was when a freshman was leading the boys side of the meet with one round of diving to go.
Yorktown rookie Joey Ulrich wasted little time making a name for himself in his first conference meet of his career. However, on his last dive, Greenfield-Central junior Ben Rader passed Ulrich’s score to earn his first HHC title.
After his final tally appeared on the digital scoreboard, a small cheer let loose from Greenfield-Central’s fans, who knew the stakes at hand.
Rader would finish with 432.05 points, which was slightly ahead of the Ulrich’s 425.35. New Palestine freshman Colin Stacey was third with 375.40 points.
Rader finished in second last season behind Dylan McCammon of Pendleton Heights, who graduated with the meet record. Of the 10 competitors diving on the boys’ side Thursday, four were juniors and six were freshman.
“(Dylan) never thought about trying to win (the meet),” Rader said of his former competitor. “Last year and the year before, I was always thinking I need to beat this guy or that guy. I think it’s what messed me up. I just tried to focus on getting better every day, and that’s what helped me. I was able to score extra half-points with my entries.
“(Ulrich) is really talented, it should be fun to see him next year.”
After taking first last season with 391.75 points, Milne, a senior, scored a 405.80 on Thursday for her third-straight conference win. Milne, who had heart surgery at the beginning of the season, said she is finally feeling up to speed.
“It was just an overall good meet. Some of my dives were off but most of them were on,” said Milne, who was approximately 20 points shy of breaking her own school record. “I have gotten some of my higher degree of difficulty dives down, like my reverse double. It makes up a lot of points for my other dives that don’t go so well.”
Mt. Vernon senior Maddy King, who did not place in the top five last season, was second for the girls with 384 points. Milne’s teammate, junior Maci Montgomery, finished fourth overall, while Halie Strege was sixth for the Marauders. Delta’s Breanna Evans was third.
Also for the boys, Greenfield-Central brothers Wyatt and Cooper Deno finished fourth and fifth overall, respectively. Mt. Vernon junior Jordan Spearman was sixth.
At the state finals last season, Rader placed 31st overall. At state as a junior, Milne finished in 13th.
The swimming portion of the HHC meet will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at New Palestine.
1. Shyanne Milne (GC) – 405.80
2. Maddy King (MV) – 384.0
3. Breanna Evans (DH) – 352.95
4. Maci Montgomery (GC) – 331.60
5. Sophie Fonacier (PH) – 305.30
1. Ben Rader (GC) – 432.05
2. Joey Ulrich (YT) – 425.35
3. Colin Stacey (NP) – 375.40
4. Wyatt Deno (GC) – 285.85
5. Cooper Deno (GC) – 245.05