BLOOMINGTON — It was a good start to the day and an even better finish.

Greenfield-Central senior high jumper Elliot Ryba and state-qualifying track and field teammates Carter Crouch, Kirk Knecht and Chris Ross all received their diplomas at the school’s graduation ceremony Saturday morning.

Ryba went from a handshake and diploma to a handshake and a first-place medal draped around his neck after winning the IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals high jump competition at Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University.

Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon had ample representation at Saturday’s meet.

Ryba scored all of G-C’s 10 points, which was good enough for a tie for 23rd in the team competition. Mt. Vernon scored nine points and tied for 30th.

Marauder senior Andres Langston competed in four events and finished second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 38.20 seconds. Langston accumulated eight points with his runner-up finish. Ahmed Saleh picked up a point by finishing ninth in the 1600-meter run in 4:18.87.

It takes a finish in the top nine to score team points. Mt. Vernon had a number of near misses. Caden Cassada was 10th in the 800-meter run (1:57.29). The 1600-meter relay team of Sebastian Sprague, Charlie Cole, Tre Jones and Langston placed 10th in 3:22.377. Sprague was 11th in the long jump with a distance of 21-feet, 7 1/4-inches. Langston was 13th in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 14.91 seconds.

Following Ryba, the next best G-C finish was 20th in the 3200 from Ross (9:28.62).

“I’m very thankful for God allowing me to do this and my coaches and parents for being great support for me. I can’t thank everyone I know enough,” Ryba, who cleared 6-feet, 10-inches, said. “It feels great. It definitely hasn’t set in yet. Usually with meet results and my PRs it takes a minute for me to realize what I’ve accomplished. I’ve still got that adrenaline going for me right now. I’m excited and really thankful for what my coaches have been able to allow me to do.”

Ryba was runner-up last year, the top returnee from last year’s finals, and a three-time state qualifier. He was co-champion during the indoor state meet in March, tying with Warsaw sophomore Jordan Randall.

An expected battle to the end between the two indoor co-champions added a third party in Anderson senior Tremayne Brown.

They were the only three competitors to clear 6-feet, 8-inches. Ryba and Randall, who had both cleared 7-feet during the season, passed at 6-9. Brown made it on his first attempt.

“No one expected (Brown),” Ryba said. “Everyone was pretty much, ‘Who is it going to be, me or Jordan?’ That kid had the meet of his life and I’m happy for him. I think he had a two- or three-inch PR. It was a shock to see him clear 6-9.

“I was definitely nervous the whole time with the pressure. I was talking to Jordan while (Brown) was jumping. Once he got (6-9) we realized very quickly it had turned into a three-man race rather than just me versus him. It was quite a surprise.”

Both Randall and Brown missed all three tries at 6-10. Ryba cleared the state-winning height on his first attempt to become Greenfield-Central’s first state champion since Jim Gluys won the discus with a distance of 168-feet, 4-inches in 1982. They are the school’s only track and field state champs.

“He was clean at 6-8, and 6-10 and then the others missed,” Greenfield-Central head coach Aaron Smith said. “If they don’t clear (6-10) he wins. It was kind of, in a sense, anticlimactic. We figured he and Randall were going to have a jump-off, they’d been close all season.”

Due to rainy weather, the high jump, long jump and pole vault competitions were moved inside to Gladstein Field House, located just west of the Robert C. Haugh Complex.

Competitors didn’t find out until Saturday morning. Ryba got the word shortly after graduation as he and his teammates were getting on the bus to Bloomington.

“He’s wanted this,” Smith said. “He gave me his graduation party invitation two or three weeks ago and he told me it was going to be his celebration for when he wins state. He had it in his mind he was the one that was supposed to win and he was going to win.”

After winning the event Ryba gave three tries to clear 7-feet but was unsuccessful.

“I certainly wanted (7-feet), but once I knew I won, it was very hard to focus,” Ryba said. “At that point the meet was over for me so I was super excited. I was really close on my attempts, but I just wasn’t quite dialed in to where I should have been.”

Ryba said he is hopeful to clear 7-feet or higher this weekend at Marian University as part of the Indiana All-Star event. Until then, he has time to celebrate being a member of the Class of 2024, and a state champion.

“Definitely there was a huge pressure aspect the whole season,” Ryba said. “I tried not to think about it early in the season, but as conference, and sectional and regional came up, I knew I had to do something now to be ready for the state meet. It kind of snuck up on me, both graduation and the state meet.

“I felt ready and confident with my training and it worked out for me. Being able to win is definitely quite the satisfying feeling.”

2024 IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals

Hancock County Results

Team scores: Greenfield-Central (tied 23rd, 10 points), Mt. Vernon (tied 30th, 9 points)

Event: Result

200-meter dash: Kirk Knecht, Greenfield-Central (16th, 23.04 seconds); Tre Jones, Mt. Vernon (24th, 23.41 seconds)

800-meter run: Caden Cassada, Mt. Vernon (10th, 1:57.29)

16oo-meter run: Ahmed Saleh, Mt. Vernon (9th, 4:18.87), Carter Crouch, Greenfield-Central (DNS)

3200-meter run: Chris Ross, Greenfield-Central (20th, 9:28.62)

110-meter high hurdles: Andres Langston, Mt. Vernon (13th, 14.91 seconds)

300-meter low hurdles: Langston (2nd, 38.20 seconds)

1600-meter relay: Mt. Vernon – Sebastian Sprague, Charlie Cole, Jones, Langston (10th, 3:22.377)

High Jump: Elliot Ryba, Greenfield-Central (1st, 6-feet, 10-inches), Langston (26th, 6-feet, 2-inches); Bradley Streveler, Greenfield-Central (29th, 6-feet)

Long Jump: Sprague (11th, 21-feet, 7 1/4-inches), Knecht (27th, 20-feet, 1 1/2-inches)

Pole Vault: Sawyer Ruminer, Mt. Vernon (22nd, 13-feet, 6-inches)