On to the finals: Franklin, Whiteland divers advance from regional round

For the Daily Journal

BLOOMINGTON

Whiteland diver Collin Barton is headed to the state finals with only three months of diving under his belt.

The sophomore had previously focused on gymnastics, but after watching his brothers participate in water sports he gave diving a try. Barton said that it’s definitely something he plans on sticking with after his eighth-place showing at Tuesday’s Bloomington North Regional earned him a spot in Saturday’s state meet at the IUPUI Natatorium.

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“So far it’s going really well,” he said. “Better than anybody would have thought.”

Barton’s 243.15 score after the eight round put him in 12th place, barely inside the final cut. After his last three dives, though, he had a 349.80 score, putting him just ahead of Edgewood’s Wyatt Blake for the final spot.

“I really couldn’t have done it without me teammates, my coach and my family,” Barton said. “My emotions are flying; it’s definitely ridiculous.”

Franklin diver Gauge Creech also is headed to the state meet for the second straight year after his 396.95 score tied him for third.

Creech was not too pleased with some of his early dives, as he finished the first five rounds in seventh place. He ended the eighth round in fifth and said he started focusing more on his last few dives to advance his score even further.

Creech finished 25th overall in last year’s state meet but is looking to place higher Saturday.

“The first time is a little nerve-wracking, a lot more pressure,” Creech said. “I feel like this time I’ll be more comfortable.”