The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


Trojans’ boys cross country team looks to win fifth straight sectional

Karleigh Barlow
Senior Gavin Rockwell attempts to overtake a runner in the Eagle Classic. Rockwell is ranked No. 2 in the sectional, behind senior teammate Kyle Montgomery.

This Saturday, the No. 14 boys cross country team begins their postseason run at the Shelbyville sectional meet. The Trojans are the highest ranked team in their sectional and are looking for their fifth-straight state finals berth. 

“For the week of sectionals, it is a big week of training, so it’s not as important to run fast. It’ll be a good test to see what we can do that day at least for me and Gavin [Rockwell],” senior Kyle Montgomery said. “For the rest of the guys, that race it’ll be nice for them to try to work together on a fast course, and they’ll have a little competition so that it would be a good test for them.”

Senior Gavin Rockwell agreed. However, they are both confident in each other and their abilities to pull through and win the race.

“Kyle and I are seeded No.1 and No.2 [in Sectionals], and we’ll probably just take the race out by ourselves,” Rockwell said. “Some guys might stick with us from the other teams, but we’ll end up pulling away since they are not as fast as we are, and the team’s plan is to stick together, work together to keep a good pace and to not fall off.”

Montgomery is the highest ranked runner for the Trojans at No. 18 in the state. Despite being highly ranked, Montgomery still reflects on his past races and learns lessons that he’ll apply in this sectional race to optimize his performance.

“Being at the front has helped me get a feel for what it is like to be up there because a lot of the top guys in the state, they’re able to get out in the first kilometer really quickly, and that can be a big change one year to the next if you want to get a lot better,” Montgomery said. “At the state meet, the start is going to be really quick, so having that experience will be good.”

Cross country is recognized for its dual challenge, demanding both physical and mental resilience. However, Rockwell isn’t as concerned about it since he has strategies to cope with the challenges. 

“I just think about all the training I’ve done, knowing that I have done everything I can to get ready and am in good shape,” Rockwell said. “I keep myself motivated by knowing I don’t want to be there and running as hard as I can if I am not going to end where I wanted to end at that finish line, and staying where I know I should be, not being beaten by people I know.”

The Trojans graduated five runners who had multiple years of experience running at state. Rockwell has competed at Shelbyville previously and understands the Shelbyville course and what it means to the younger, inexperienced part of the team. 

“This will give them the opportunity to understand the course and be able to run, and when they get in the big crowd of runners, the faster schools can compete better with them and not fall off.”

Running at the same venue two weekends in a row may give Montgomery and his team an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the course and give them an advantage at next week’s regional.

“If I personally do really well [at sectionals], then that would mean a lot going into regional because the regional is on the same course,” Montgomery said. “If I win sectionals and do really well, I can do even better at the regional competition and be even more competitive with some best runners there. As a team, overall, if we have a good team performance at sectionals, then we’ll do even better at regional, so it is pretty important that we do well at the sectional.”

Although Rockwell said the team is looking forward to this race, they have their eyes toward the final finish line at the state competition.

“Where we perform on this course will directly correlate to next weekend where we see the bigger teams, and it will give us a vision of where we can place and where we should be,” Rockwell said.

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