GREENFIELD — Greenfield-Central’s boys track and field team wants to take its indoor momentum outside.
The Cougars wrapped up the indoor portion of their season with some impressive performances at last weekend’s Hoosier State Relays. The start of the outdoor season begins Tuesday with a home meet with Beech Grove and Southport.
Junior high jumper Elliot Ryba and the distance medley relay team of Chris Ross, Ian Jack, Carter Crouch and Griffen Wheeler both scored at the indoor state championships. The relay group set an indoor school record.
“We had some really good performances. Almost everybody beat their seed times or distances or marks,” G-C coach Aaron Smith said. “The DMR ran a 23-second PR, was not expecting that. It’s hard to get every guy to run their best race on the same day, but every guy on the DMR did that.”
The relay team finished eighth with a time of 10:36.4 which combines runs of 1200, 400, 800 and 1600 meters.
The focus now shifts to the outdoor season. Ryba, Wheeler, in the 800-meter run, both return with outdoor state finals experience along with long jumper/sprinter Kirk Knecht and sprinters Michael Runions and Aaron Lee. The trio of Knecht, Runions and Lee were part of last year’s state-qualifying 4×100-meter relay team. Only Hudson McGuire graduated from that group.
Smith believes the right approach can lead to another successful season for the Cougars.
“(We want to make) sure we have the right character, doing your best all the time and strive for excellence,” Smith said. “(We) talk about respect and servant leadership. If we’re doing those things every day then good things will follow.”
Ryba cleared 6-feet, 5-inches and finished fifth at the HSR, best of any Hancock County competitor. He was one inch off his personal best.
Knecht, also a junior, is a two-time state qualifier in the long jump.
Additional field events support comes from throwers Reese Hill, a junior and an HSR qualifier in the shot put, and seniors Cole Maroska and Caleb Nelson.
One of the strongest groups on the team will be the middle distance and distance runners.
There isn’t a DMR in the outdoor season. Most of those that ran the event during indoor will branch out to the 400, 800, 1600, 3200 races and the 1600 and 3200 relays.
Also the head cross country coach, it’s the group Smith has worked with the most. Wheeler and Liam Brinkruff were state qualifiers in the fall sport. Ross just missed out. He and Crouch have shown considerable improvement now that they are both healthier.
“With Griffen, last year, …. he was looking at nutrition and he was changing his diet. He was that serious about trying to do every little thing correctly to do the best that he can do,” Smith said. “They are definitely working hard. They love doing well and they love getting better. They’re willing to do what it takes to get there.”
Jack, who ran the 400 in the medley relay, will be additional help to the sprint group.
Smith said Jack’s another that’s been doing extra work. A member of the varsity basketball team in the winter, Jack would stay late after hoops’ practice to do his track and field workouts.
Another key versatile member of the team will be Cash Looper. He’ll provide a spot in pole vault and hurdle races and can do a number of different events.
2023 Greenfield-Central Boys Track and Field Schedule
April 4;vs. Beech Grove/Southport;5:30 p.m.
April 6;at Shelbyville/New Pal;5:30 p.m.
April 11;vs. N. Castle/Scecina;E. Hancock;5:30 p.m.
April 21;at Carmel Showcase;6 p.m.
April 22;at Guerin Catholic Invite;10 a.m.
April 25;at Noblesville Invitational;5:30 p.m.
April 29;at Kokomo Relays;11:30 a.m.
May 3;at Hancock County (MV);5 p.m.
May 5;Cougar Chase Invitational;5:30 p.m.
May 11;at HHC (Mt. Vernon);5:30 p.m.
May 18;at Sectional;5:30 p.m.
May 25;at Regional;6 p.m.
June 3;at State;3 p.m.