State championship column June 12

If Center Grove wins the state softball championship Saturday night, it won’t be anything new.

Easily the state’s most accomplished program, the Trojans have an IHSAA-record five titles and are favorites in any given year.

But if Center Grove’s boys golf team wins a state championship four days later, that will be something new.

And possibly historical.

No county school has ever produced two team state champions in the same season. Center Grove is positioned to be the first.

There are no guarantees, of course. But on paper, the Trojans are favorites on both fronts.

Take softball, for example.

Ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, the Trojans have won 23 of their past 24 games and are arguably the state’s most explosive offensive team. They have won games in every imaginable way, from blowouts to low-scoring thrillers to extra-inning shootouts. They don’t get rattled, don’t give up and don’t seem destined for a state finals letdown.

Neither does the golf team.

Ranked No. 1 most of the second half of the season, Center Grove is heavily favored to claim what would be its first state championship. The Trojans have not only won every tournament in their path, they’ve done it — more often than not — in record-setting ways.

For instance, the Trojans had event-record scores in winning the Hall of Fame Tournament and the Trojan Classic. They won the Johnson County Tournament by 43 strokes, won the sectional by five strokes and have essentially made a habit of playing big on big stages.

Just like the softball team.

Again, there are no guarantees. But both teams have been on state championship trajectories. Softball is 28-2 and ranked No. 3 in Class 4A. Golf has been No. 1 since mid-May and is unbeaten in dual meets and invitationals.

Moreover, both teams have been on a season-long missions to win state titles. Players and coaches have made no secret about that. They’ve talked about before and during the season.

And as results reflect, they’ve backed up talk with action.

For the softball team, contending for championships is an annual rite. Besides the five state titles (no other team, in any class, has more than three), the Trojans are in the final game for an IHSAA-record 10th time. They play No. 5 Lake Central (28-6-1) in the championship game.

For the golf team, the title run isn’t an entirely new experience (Center Grove was ranked No. 1 in 2003 and finished second) but appears to be its most promising. With four starters from last year’s sixth-place team, including No. 1 player Christopher Heck, the Trojans entered the spring with championship ambitions and haven’t wavered.

All they’ve done is win, and win big. All that’s left is to win it all.

Same for softball.

Here’s wishing a championship ending for both.

Author photo
Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2715.