Country trio compete with best

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Greenfield-Central’s Liam Brinkruff (653) tries to chase down Pendleton Heights’ Andrew Blake (771) in the IHSAA Boys Cross Country State Finals in Terre Haute at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course Saturday.

Rob Baker | For The Daily Reporter

State-ranked for much of the season, with runners that will go down as some of the best in school history, Mt. Vernon and Greenfield-Central put a close to a memorable 2022 boys cross country season Saturday.

At the IHSAA Boys Cross Country State Finals, held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Mt. Vernon’s Tristan Trevino and Greenfield-Central’s Griffen Wheeler and Liam Brinkruff ran their final 5,000 meters of the season.

For Trevino and Wheeler, the only seniors on their varsity teams, it was their final race for the Marauders and Cougars, respectively.

Trevino finished 27th out of 205 runners. He was just a few spots away from receiving all-state recognition. He finished with a time of 15:58.5.

Wheeler was 44th in 16:14.6. Brinkruff, a junior, placed 85th in 16:39.6

Carmel’s Kole Mathison won the race in 15:02.8, leading the Greyhounds to the team championship.

It was the second straight year Trevino ended his season in the final race. Last year, he placed 77th with a time of 16:42.7.

He said after last week’s Shelbyville Semi-State he was hoping to get all-state honors, which went out to the Top 20 finishers.

Though a disappointing day in Terre Haute, Mt. Vernon coach Bruce Kendall spoke highly of Trevino, a true senior leader on a team that spent much of the season ranked in the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Top 25.

“He had one bad (kilometer) in there (Saturday), between three and four, and got disconnected. And by the time he got re-hooked up, (finishing in the Top 20) was out of reach,” Kendall said. “Finishing 27th is really great, but a lot of those guys in front of him he’d beaten. Hats off to those guys … wish we could have done more.”

“Trevino has really showed a way. He’s the only runner we lose and he’s been a great role model for the kids. He’s a hard worker and very competitive. I’m bummed out we didn’t get a medal. I know he’s disappointed.”

It was the 10th time Mt. Vernon had a team or individual get to the state meet. Five times the team has gone and five times individuals have advanced.

Trevino’s 27th place finish was the best for a Mt. Vernon runner since 2015 when Christian Noble was fourth and Aaron Rush placed 19th. His time of 15:30 in last week’s semi-state puts him at No. 6 on the school’s all-time list.

“Tristan has had more races in one season under 16 minutes than any runner we’ve had,” Kendall added. “His seven best races averaged a 15:42. That’s a very fast average.”

Along the way, Trevino won individual races in the Hancock County, Hoosier Heritage Conference, sectional and regional meets.

Wheeler and Brinkruff are Top 10 runners in G-C history, too.

“It was definitely neat for them and awesome to get two (in the state meet),” Greenfield-Central coach Aaron Smith said. “They both had fun in the race.”

Wheeler’s 44th place finish and Brinkruff’s 85th are the best from Greenfield-Central runners since Gary Holt was fourth in 1989.

“We’re trying to take things in the right direction and those two did an excellent job of setting up for the future. We’re hoping to get more next year,” Smith added.

Smith called Wheeler, like Kendall spoke of Trevino, a good senior leader. “He wants his success to not stop with him but continue for the whole team,” said the G-C coach. “It’s important to him to try to get the other guys to become better.

“He want to be a change in our program.”

The Cougars were also regulars in the Top 25 poll. They finished runner-up to the Marauders at the HHC meet, but won the county race.

Wheeler ranks No. 4 on the program’s all-time list. Brinkruff is No. 7. Chris Ross, another junior, who just missed out qualifying for state, is tied for No. 10 in the program.

“It was a good year. We don’t have a lot of wins (other than county) to show for it, but definitely one of the best years we’ve had,” Smith said.