Amazing and rewarding are two words Devin Ramsey used to describe his experience Saturday.
The Seymour junior was among the 32 divers in the Indiana High School Athletic Association boys state finals at the Indiana University Natatorium on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.
It was his second straight year making it to the meet and winding up in the finals.
Earning a fourth-place medal, however, exceeded the expectations of Ramsey, Seymour diving coach Tara Sutherland and head coach Dave Boggs.
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Ramsey placed 13th in the 2017 state finals and was seeded 14th going into this year’s meet.
Through 11 dives Saturday, he scored 469.45 points. Richmond’s Isaac Khamis repeated as champion, scoring 583.4, while Pike’s Aiden Werner was second with 576.8, and Fishers’ Cole Van Devender placed third with 540.5.
It topped off a stellar season that also included earning a Hoosier Hills Conference title, setting meet, pool and school records in winning a Floyd Central Sectional title and finishing as runner-up in the Bloomington North Regional.
“Just consistency and just have fun,” Ramsey said of his mindset going into the meet.
On Friday night, he and his coaches made the trip to Indianapolis so he could get a feel for the diving boards.
“We were just running through our dive list for today, just working on the fundamentals of every dive,” he said.
Ramsey chose the order of his dives for Saturday, and they varied in degree of difficulty.
“I just put dives together in the list that I was best at, tried to find the dives that I scored the best at this season,” he said.
In the five-dive preliminaries, Ramsey scored 28.5, 44.4, 40.8, 42.9 and 48.75 and was seventh with 205.35 points. The top 20 advanced to the semifinals for three more dives.
Ramsey scored 35.2, 61.5 and 33.15 to bump his score to 335.2 and move him into fourth place.
The 61.5 was on a reverse two and a half tuck. He said his consistency on that dive helped boost his score and motivated him for the rest of the meet.
“It just makes you feel good, and it makes you feel good for your next dives, too,” Ramsey said.
The finals featured the top 16 divers doing three more dives. The 43.2 on Ramsey’s first dive put him in fifth place, but he went back to fourth with his final two scores of 44.85 and 46.2.
He said focusing on consistency all season helped him improve nine places at state this year and make it into the top eight for a spot on the awards podium and a medal.
Taking fourth, though, wasn’t really a thought, Ramsey said.
“He wanted to medal this year,” Boggs said. “None of us thought fourth, but we’re not going to turn that down by any means because he definitely earned fourth today.”
Entering the meet, Sutherland said they weren’t stressing a certain score or placing for Ramsey.
“We know we have next year, so I think we went into this just saying, ‘Really push the consistency,’ and it would be nice if we made the podium … and we left it at that. I think by doing so, it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on him,” she said.
“It just means, ‘Go out there. Do your best. Whatever your best is, we’re going to take it because we’re going to fall back on the term consistency because that’s what we’ve relied on all season,’” she said. “That’s what we pushed and stressed, and now, we can walk away and say, ‘Hey, man, look what consistency got you. You are top four. We were kind of hoping for eighth, but here you are fourth.’”
Boggs said Ramsey’s placing is the second-highest by a Seymour diver behind Kevin Whistler’s third-place showing in 1990.
Sutherland already is excited for next season because the three divers who finished ahead of Ramsey are seniors. Plus, they are all club divers who focus on the sport year-round, so Sutherland was happy with how Ramsey performed against that type of competition.
Ramsey said he has gone to a two-week diving camp the past couple of years, but most of his other diving work is done during the high school season.
“My height on the board, I think it has helped me, and my speed in spinning,” Ramsey said of the benefits of the camp.
Sutherland said she would like Ramsey to implement a gainer twister into his list of dives next season.
“Really, the degree of difficulty dives he does right now, they are pretty good, but he’s got a lot of 3.0s, he’s got a lot of 2.1s,” she said. “I’d like to see a front three and a half, and I’d like to see the gainer twister that Aiden did tonight.”
She said Ramsey hit a difficult dive last year after not having practiced it very long, so she feels he could pull that off again.
“I know a three and a half is definitely possible, and I think that would be a good goal,” she said. “It’s doable.”
Ramsey having a tremendous work ethic also makes Sutherland hopeful for next season.
“Day in, day out, the kid gives it his all, and I think that’s going to set the pace for later on. It’s going to open up doors for him and make it a lot easier,” she said.
“I’m just proud of him,” she said. “I don’t think that we expected this (fourth-place finish), and he delivered. I’m just excited for what the future holds for him if he stays on this path and works as hard as he has and what comes next. We want to see him succeed, and we’re willing to do whatever it’s going to take to get him there.”
Boggs said he is amazed with the improvement Ramsey made and his growth on many different levels this season.
“He really got his name on the radar in the state of Indiana with diving and hopefully with some college coaches down the road,” Boggs said. “He’s a good worker. He’s very dedicated to the sport. We’ve not seen the best of what this kid is capable of doing.”
Sutherland said she and Boggs both push their athletes hard, but there’s a reason for doing that — they want to see them succeed.
When asked who pushes him harder, Ramsey quickly pointed at Sutherland.
“Oh, well, that’s good,” she said, smiling.