The success template Center Grove boys track coach Eric Moore incorporates every winter and spring is working.
His past four teams alone spawned seven individual state champions and another in a relay. Center Grove captured the team title in 2011 in memorable fashion and finished third the past two seasons.
The ultimate objective — to perform at optimum efficiency by mid-May — doesn’t change on Moore’s stopwatch.
Nor will it.
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“It’s the way we train in the offseason and the kind of workouts we do,” said Moore, whose teams have won 10 sectional championships in his 15 seasons as head coach. “We concentrate on strength and our hydration and nutrition as the season goes on, and our kids really live by it.
“We don’t seem to be depleted by the end of the year. We’re stronger.”
Both physically and in numbers. The Trojans have 67 athletes on the roster, a figure Moore expects will rise by the time they open the season April 1 against visiting Bloomington South.
Counted on to produce immediate results are returned who scored points in the 2014 IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals.
Senior 800-meter runner Grant Stapleton is the reigning Columbus North Sectional champion. He placed ninth at the state meet. Also returning are junior discus thrower Cameron Tidd (sixth at state) and two runners off the fourth-place 1,600-meter relay team, juniors Zak Smith and Jackson Hohlt.
A surplus of gifted hurdlers willing and capable of doubling as sprinters have played a major role in Center Grove’s ability to rack up points at the larger meets.
This time, Center Grove benefits from outstanding numbers in the speed events — the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes — as senior Derek Grimmer, juniors Connor Steeb and Joey Siderewicz and sophomores Titus McCoy and Zane Libke are among those expected to contribute individually and in relays.
Others versatile contributors are Trevor Hohlt, Blake Moran, Christian Goines, John Bontrager, Zach Hart and Luke Mroz.
“We are a multi-event track team, and we’ve had success doing that,” Moore said. “Another good thing is our kids worry about the team (point) total more than they do the individual results.”
Fueling the 800 will be Stapleton and junior Nathan Fill, while senior Griffin Miller is expected to be a force in both the 1,600 and 3,200.
Other than Tidd in the shot put and discus, Center Grove continues to have questions about who’ll emerge in the various field events.
Samuel Bolin, McCoy and Mroz will give long-jumping a try; sophomores Joshua Hall and Ethan Hart will compete in pole vault and shot put/discus, respectively.
Center Grove enjoyed success last weekend at the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference indoor meet at the University of Indianapolis, with Miller winning the two-mile run and Grimmer the 60-meter dash.
How Center Grove fares on a state level won’t be decided for more than two months.
Yet to a seasoned performer like Miller, the confidence the Trojans exude each spring is traced back to the training done behind closed doors over the winter months.
“Undoubtedly it’s the coaching. With the sprint training coach Moore does and the distance training coach (Howard) Harrell has, you can’t go wrong,” Miller said. “And it’s just about creating that team chemistry you don’t get with a lot of other sports. As the season goes along we all get really close.
“We’re up cheering for our guys during their events.”
The first track poll of the season hasn’t been released yet, though it’s a virtual certainty Center Grove will be in the top 20.
Moore will be the first one to tell you it’s where you finish that counts.
April 1: Bloomington South, 5:30 p.m.
April 11: At Columbus North Invitational, 11 a.m.
April 18: At Ben Davis Invitational, 10 a.m.
April 21: At Johnson County Meet (Franklin), 5 p.m.
April 25: At North Central Invitational, 11 a.m.