A rather simple formula enabled Grant Mason to grow from a 120-pound Center Grove freshman to his current weight of 175.
Frequent trips to the school’s weightroom, combined with a steady consumption of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, did the trick.
Mason is a junior sprinter for the Trojans’ boys track and field team who says there are days he’ll eat anywhere from 10 to 12 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
He started the protein-packed practice during fall break of the 2013-14 school year.
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“I’m a skinny guy. We all have big metabolisms in my family,” said Mason, adding he occasionally tires of peanut butter and jelly.
“There are days where I think I have to eat a ham sandwich instead.”
Any additional weight Mason gained also would benefit him in football, where he plays wide receiver.
“By putting on weight you are adding on muscle. Eating, lifting weights, running and even sleeping helps you do that,” Mason said.
“We add it on for track and football. You don’t want to be light because then you have no explosive power. Adding muscle helps me get to my top speed quicker and get me out of the blocks faster.”
By last track season, Mason, who was up to 155 pounds by then, competed in the shadow of senior Derek Grimmer, who would go on to place seventh in the 200-meter dash at the IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals.
Grimmer also helped Center Grove take third at state in the 400-meter relay.
For his part, Mason came in third in the 100 and fifth in the 200 at the Columbus North Sectional. The following week he just missed advancing to the finals of the 100 at the Connersville Regional.
Grimmer graduated, which means it’s Mason’s turn to shine in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as running the anchor leg for the Trojans’ 400 relay.
Earlier this month, Mason displayed his potential at the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference Indoor Track and Field Meet at the University of Indianapolis.
He placed second to Ben Davis senior and University of Michigan football recruit Chris Evans in the 60-meter dash — 6.94 to 6.97 seconds. He also assisted in the Trojans winning the 800 relay and taking second in the 1,600 relay.
“Last year Grimmer was so good and everyone was paying attention to him. Now Grant is a big piece of the puzzle,” Center Grove coach Eric Moore said. “I’m just really excited about him and his improvement.”
Mason plans to carry on the program’s tradition of elite sprinters.
After becoming head coach in 2000, Moore saw Jonny Zwitt and Ryan Skelton advance to the state finals. More recently it’s been two-time 100-meter state champion Nick Stoner, also the winner in the 200 in 2011, and Grimmer last season carrying on the tradition.
For someone who runs fast, Mason understands athletes have to exercise a certain patience at Center Grove.
“You have to work your way up the pedestal here. You have to earn coach Moore’s trust,” Mason said. “I’ve never had someone push me the way he has.
“It’s never easy, but he wants you to be successful.”
THE MASON FILE
Name: Grant Mason
Family: Parents, Carl and Tawnya; sister, Gillian, 13
Favorite TV show: “Hawaii Five-0”
Favorite food: Pasta
Favorite movie: “Rocky”
Favorite athlete: Usain Bolt
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts