2/4/2017 1:24:00 AM Hamilton Heights diver eyes state championship
The Times photo by Maria Leichty
Hamilton Heights’ Ivy Houser has been diving since she was four.
Maria Leichty Sports Editor
Hamilton Heights senior Ivy Houser is in it to win it.
Houser is a first-year Heights student and has been training with RipFest and 2008 Olympic head coach John Wingfield for four years. She has been diving for 12.
With sectional diving starting today, Houser has her dive list ready to go.
"I'm excited to qualify on and see what that meet is like," Houser said. "And I'm excited to see what my competition will be like."
The last time Houser was at the IHSAA Girls State Diving meet was when her sister, Lacey Houser, went to state. This year, she won't be watching from the stands.
"When she's having fun and I'm smiling, she's winning," Husky head coach Steve Hoeferle said.
Houser won all of her meets this year, along with the Hoosier Conference meet. Houser is following in the footsteps of another RipFest diver, Brooke Schultz, who was the 2015 diving state champion. She also holds the sectional record which Houser is aiming to break today.
Both Schultz and Houser have been uniquely accommodated at Heights with their RipFest practices and online classes. Houser takes one on-site class at Heights in order to be eligible for sports.
"It's a wonderful thing to be doing this and them accommodating me," Houser said. "We're looking to have more of my RipFest teammates come in next year."
Wingfield uses the Heights facility for RipFest practices which has drawn a number of divers to the Heights program. This year is their strongest team yet, according to Hoeferle.
"We've never had a five-diver varsity girls rotation," Hoeferle said, who has been coaching Heights diving since 1997. "We've had two or three usually and this year we started with six until one had to move . . . it's a lot of fun."
The other four divers include juniors Caitlin Coy, Jadyn Lutz and Sierra Rickman as well as sophomore Bailey Haworth. Coy and Lutz have dove all three years while this is Rickman's second year and Haworth's first.
The team finished the season with a first place at the Noblesville invite and a third place at the Patriot Invite. They had three divers finish in the top six at the Hoosier Conference meet.
"It became much more competitive from number two through four than I would have ever anticipated," Hoeferle said of the team.
Lutz and Coy had clinched spots in this year's conference meet from their second and third conference places last year. Lutz finished fourth this year and Coy finished sixth. However, sophomore Haworth was also in the running for the three spots at sectionals.
"It boiled down to who dove best at the Patriot meet and it's the most anxiety I've had in my life coaching - to have to pick amongst three kids that are all pretty equal," Hoeferle said.
In the end, Coy and Haworth will be diving in the second and third spots as Lutz is battling an ankle injury.
Both had their 11-dive bests at the Patriot Invite, with Coy finishing with a 285.80 and Haworth finishing at 271.15.
Houser, Coy and Haworth hit the boards today at Carmel. The top four qualify for the Hamilton Southeastern Regional Tuesday.