School history will be made today at 1 p.m. when the gun fires for the start of the boys cross country state meet. For the first time, Center Grove will be competing for a Top 5 podium finish and a state title. While freshmen Ty Garrett and Drew Costelow have been the front-runners for much of the season, seniors Archit Malik and NIck Wilson’s senior leadership has been instrumental. Those four have teamed up with freshman Jarrett Rockwell, sophomore Raef Sauer and junior Aidan Galt to lead the team to today’s history-making race.
“The cross country teams never really gets any attention around the school for things, so I think winning state would put us out there and help people see all the hard work we’ve put in,” Malik said.
According to the team, they’re underrated in the cross country world. Today, they have a chance to prove everyone wrong.
“To win state would be absolutely incredible,” Wilson said. “We came out of the dark as a team not predicted to even make it to state [before the season], and now we actually have a shot at winning.”
Ranked No. 3 in the final coaches’ poll, the team has made a significant amount of improvement since last season, and Malik gives credit to a new practice plan designed by their coaches.
“The changes were made by our coaches. They started us on a new training regime emphasizing easy running just as much, if not more, than difficult running,” he said.
Although the team believes the coaches’ strategies have contributed greatly to their performance, Wilson felt he could acknowledge themselves for their improvement as well.
“We’ve started believing in ourselves to be a top team. It all comes down to heart and mentality, and I think we have more of that now,” he said.
Though all runners deserve credit, it’s well known that the freshmen class is incredibly strong and boosts the team’s chances of going all the way – Garrett running a PR of 15:58 to help CG reclaim the sectional title and Costelow with a PR of 16:04 at last weekend’s semi-state, securing him a spot on the All Sem-State team.
Day in and day out, the team must choose to make decisions that will benefit their performance, and they’ve been especially serious this week.
“Other factors like eating right, staying hydrated, training the right amount, getting enough sleep… that’s all really important,” Malik said. “Especially this late in the season when only the best athletes in the state are left. Doing everything right can make a big difference.”
Despite the sacrifices, the team knows that opportunities like the one they have today make it worth it, and the feeling of winning would remind them why they do what they do.
“Honestly, I struggle with it and I hate tearing myself up every day, but being able to hang out with the guys and the feeling of getting better every day makes it worth it,” Wilson said.
That focus and sacrifice will be on full display at 1 p.m. today at the Lavern Gibson Cross Country Course when the team steps to the line for its school history-making race.