Next stop, state: Rader returns to finals

PLAINFIELD — Ben Rader’s last-minute adjustments are paying off.

Adding two new dives to his repertoire at the end of the season, Rader has become even more dangerous on the diving board.

Breaking out a front one and a half double twist for the first time live Saturday at the New Palestine Sectional, Rader broke Greenfield-Central’s school record to earn second place and a regional birth.

His postseason success continued Tuesday at the Plainfield Regional, where Rader, a junior, finished seventh to advance to the state finals for the second year in a row.

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He finished with a final score of 385.40, while Richmond junior Ike Khamis repeated as the regional champion (496.25).

After only two days rest for each diver, Tuesday’s scores across the board were a little off, said Cougars’ head coach Duane Knecht.

“Hopefully if he is struggling through the meet, like tonight, those dives at the end can pull him through,” Knecht said. “From first place down, it was kind of a rough night for a lot of guys.”

Rader was in fifth after five dives and sixth after eight (281.20) to make the finals.

As a sophomore, Rader finished 31st overall at state and was fifth at the Brownsburg Regional (391.45). This season, though, with more challenging dives — in terms of degree of difficulty — Rader is expecting a better end to his season.

“I am definitely happy I have those last two dives now,” Rader said, who also added an inward double a few weeks before the sectional. “I am hoping to hopefully get in the top 12 at state, maybe a little lower.”

New Palestine freshman Colin Stacey was in 15th place after eight dives at Plainfield and missed the finals in his first regional meet of his high school career. Stacey, who began diving as a seventh grader, finished with a final score of 233.60.

And although he failed to advance to state, the lessons learned in his first season of high school will be invaluable moving forward.

“(Colin) was very clean going through the water at the sectional,” New Palestine diving coach Jason Tillage said. “Tonight, I think his freshman jitters got the best of him. He was tight, and I was tight too. But we were laughing about it afterwards.

“I think he will be ready to come back as a sophomore. I don’t think we need to change any of his dives or degree of difficulty, just get the nerves out of the way. This is one of the tougher regionals in the state.”

Stacey was fourth at the sectional last weekend and finished third overall at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet in January.

At state this weekend, all diving will take place on Saturday with the top 20 (of 32) competitors advancing from the preliminaries to the semifinals after five dives. After three more attempts, the top 16 will advance to the final round for another three dives, according to ihsaa.org.

Plainfield Diving Results

1. Ike Khamis, Richmond – 496.25

2. Aiden Werner, Pike – 405.65

3. Jared Hilt, Warren Central – 405.65

4. Caleb Whicker, Crawfordsville – 398.40

5. Sean Wolfe, Danville -396.70

6. Dylan Porter, Danville – 395.15

7. Ben Rader, Greenfield-Central – 385.40

8. Joshua Parquet, North Central – 380.45

*Top 8 advanced to state

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Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or kmills@greenfieldreporter.com.