Boys track aims for second state title in school history


James Schott competes in 110 hurdle finals at last year’s county meet.

Bella Hodges, Staff Writer

After a third place finish at last season’s state meet, the Center Grove boys track and field team heads into the spring with championship intentions. 

Returnees that will be key components to the Trojans success will be brothers Brandon and Drew Wheat. The senior/junior duo brought the speed that helped the 4x100m relay place runner-up at the state finals. 

“Me and Drew are two of the fastest on the team, and we both know each other’s goals as we continue to push each other every day,” Brandon said. “I love running with him and I know I can always trust him in any race. My goals this season are to win state in my individual events but more importantly to win state as a team. I also want to try and get the school record in the 100m and 200m.” 

Drew believes he and Brandon will be role models for the younger runners. 

“As an upperclassman, I try to be a role model and a leader while also trying to build good bonds and friendships with all of them,” Drew said. “Me and my brother are unique to the team because we are two of the fastest and I feel like the younger kids can look up to us as leaders.”

Both Wheat brothers hope to improve their speed in the 100m and 200m and have goals of placing in state in both events. 

Drew Wheat continued to bring the speed in the 4x400m relay, which ended with an all-state finish with the help of another top returner, junior Zach Grellar. 

Greller, geared more toward the long-sprints, completed his season as all-county, all-sectional, all-regional and all-state, finishing sixth in the state meet. This year he looks to repeat with some minor improvements. 

“I trust in my coaches that they will work the team every day in practice to improve. For a personal goal, I am looking to break the school record this year, individually win state and help my 4×400 team win as well,” Greller said. “The goal for the team is definitely to take home the team title. I think everyone has their eyes set on that.”

However, for the team to achieve its goals, they will need to rely on a strong freshman class.

“We have a lot of talent with the underclassmen, so I’m really looking forward to helping them through workouts, get the most out of them and how to mature in their specific events,” Greller said. “Every day in practice we push each other through runs and always have a competitive side where we want to beat our teammates, which creates a great competitive environment for everyone during practice.” 

Head coach Eric Moore has a lot of confidence in the freshmen class. 

“This is the most talented freshmen class that is invested in track,” Moore said. “[Notably] Brady Dicken is going to battle with other great kids in the 100m and 200m, and be a team member of the 4x100m. He is going to have an excellent career at Center Grove. Other great freshmen include Brevan Holubar, Austin Hennessy and Dallas Johnson.” 

After the major injury sidelined Hohlt last year, he looks to make the most out of his junior track season. 

“My goal for this season is to stand out with my team and prove ourselves as we compete against other big schools,” Hohlt said. “I’m most excited to compete again after a series of injuries. As the season goes on, I think my teammates will keep me motivated along with my coaches and family. This year I want to play a role on this team in a big way. I want to be able to be counted on and trusted.” 

The team’s top hurdler, senior James Schott, is more in tune with his body this season and looks to use it to his advantage. 

“I can work with my body weight a lot more and figure out steps and certain strides for my race just to specify my knowledge on the event to hopefully help me in achieving first place,” said Schott. 

The Trojans not only have the speed to make their goals happen this year, but they have the distance depth as well. Parker Mimbela and Griffin Hennessy, both juniors, qualified for state last year in their respective events and finished all-state in cross country this fall.

“The cross country season gave me lots of confidence about what I’m capable of achieving,” Mimbela said. “I used the off-season xc/track meets these past few months to get in shape before the season starts.”

Mimbela placed 20th in the 3200m at last year’s state finals, and his focus for this season will continue to be on the 3200m and get distance points for the team. 

“My main focus will be the 3200m,” Mimbela said. “That is the event I want to get all-state in. I will do the 1600m throughout the season but probably only until the tournament starts. I think the main thing I will contribute to the team is getting important distance points for us at state to better our chances toward the team title.”

Hennessy placed 24th in the 1600 at last year’s state meet and ended his junior cross country season placing 15th at the state finals. Hennessy plans to use his experience to perform in the 4x800m relay and 1600m. 

“I want to go sub 4:20 in the mile and sub two in the 800m,” said Hennessy. “I think I have a much better idea of how to run the mile and 800. Last year I didn’t have as much experience with those races, so I wasn’t as confident in running with some of the top guys. I think now that I have experience, I won’t have to worry about my strategy as much.” 

Hennessy’s performance in the cross country season is helping his confidence for the spring. 

“Knowing that I was able to stick with some of the best during cross country will give me the confidence to do the same during track,” said Hennessy. 

As of right now, CG’s field event depth starts and ends with Conner Burries, who returns from an injury-shortened junior season with high hopes for his senior season. 

“Experiencing that was very challenging physically but more so mentally,” said Burries. “Moving forward after a season ending injury was unbearably hard, as there were plenty of challenges that I had to overcome and dealt with to stay focused. I would say losing my junior season along with my sophomore season has definitely motivated me more than ever to achieve my goals. My goal this season is to go undefeated in the pole vault- winning county, sectional, regional and state as an individual and team. I expect a memorable spring season. I have a lot of motivation through the hard work and dedication that I have put into this sport this past year, and this season is personal to me. I believe I’ll best contribute to the team through consistency each meet.” 

With this being said, Moore puts the team’s goal very simply: 

“We want to win county, sectional, regional and state. And if we don’t get it, we’re not satisfied.”