Jackson Hohlt had 400 meters to think about what happened 364 days earlier.
Frankly, it angered the Center Grove senior.
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So much so that Hohlt, the final runner in the Trojans’ 4×400-meter relay at Saturday’s IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals, rallied his team to victory with an unforgettable final 100 meters.
At one point in eighth- place in the third and final heat of the relay event, Center Grove’s quartet of Logan Bontrager, Zak Smith, Tyler Boyer and Hohlt took home first-place medals after being seeded seventh.
“I was thinking about last year. I remember getting caught and beat, how mad I was,” said Hohlt, referring to the Trojans’ third-place showing in the same event a year earlier at Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex.
“I just wanted to go out there with these guys and (get) redemption,” Hohlt said. “It’s running as a team. All the hard work paid off, and we ended up on top.
“I’m so happy to have this moment with my friends.”
Center Grove’s winning time was 3:18.66.
Hohlt sped past runners from Avon, Merrillville and Warren Central with approximately 60 meters remaining for the victory.
As a team, the Trojans finished fourth — their fifth top-four finish in six seasons with 33 points. Coach Eric Moore led Center Grove to its only state title in 2011; since 2013 there have been two third-place finishes and two fourths.
Carmel won the team title with 43 points, followed by Ben Davis (41) and Michigan City (41), who tied for second. West Lafayette, with 32, rounded out the top five.
Whiteland made history of its own by tying Hamilton Southeastern for eighth overall with 21 points. The team finish was the best-ever for the Warriors.
Junior Ryder Emberton won the shot put — the school’s first non-wrestling state championship — after obliterating his own school record with a put of 62 feet, ½ inch. This was after Emberton came in third in the discus with a best throw of 174-3.
Another junior, Djimmon Ogega, provided four points of his own by finishing sixth in the 400-meter dash in 49.35 seconds.
“We were extremely excited with how things turned out,” Warriors coach Brandon Bangel said. “We knew with Ryder and Djimmon that we were better than people gave us credit.
“To be able to finish in the top 10 and have your name on the scoreboard at the end, that’s a picture I’ll have on my wall forever.”
Ogega dominated the second of three heats.
“Sixth … to me it’s good because I got the school record, but I honestly think it could’ve been better if I was in a faster heat,” Ogega said. “I really wasn’t pushed in the second heat, but if I was in the faster heat I would have been pushed more and had a faster time.”
Ogega later ran anchor for Whiteland’s 1,600 relay, which almost made the awards podium by placing 12th. Producing a time of 3:22.73 were Jacob Walters, Brandon Patterson, Charlie Ogega and Djimmon Ogega.
Center Grove senior Cameron Tidd gave his team immediate momentum by repeating as state champion in the discus with a best toss of 181 feet, 11 inches.
Elsewhere, Hohlt took fourth in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 38.71 seconds; junior pole-vaulter Josh Hall’s personal-best of 15 feet earned him a seventh-place medal; and Trojans teammate Grant Mason finished ninth in the 200-meter dash.
Mason, a junior, led off Center Grove’s seventh-place 400 relay team which posted a time of 42.42 seconds. Other runners, in order, were Smith and juniors Titus McCoy and Russ Yeast.
Senior Nathan Fill came in 11th in the 800 for Center Grove, freshman J.T. Hodges 22nd in the 3,200 and Christian Goines, a junior, 21st in the high jump. The Trojans’ 3,200 relay of Reed Sauter, Christopher Jones, Zane Libke and Fill came in 26th (8:18.62), while Mason finished 18th in the 100-meter dash.
“We exceeded our seeds in all 11 events. I’m very proud of Cameron Tidd and the 4×400 team for winning state championships,” Moore said. “Very proud of all our guys for competing, but Cameron wins a state championship on the last throw and our relay wins a state championship in the last 100 meters.
“The character, you know. (Hohlt) is going to West Point. The whole team has just gotten better every week. They’ve taken the workouts we’ve given them and did them to the fullest of their ability. Every one of them got better, and it’s awesome.”
Two Johnson County sophomores made it to state in the 1,600.
Ethan Pine of Greenwood crossed the start/finish line 20th in a time of 4:26.71. Not far behind in 25th was Franklin Community’s Josh Campbell, who was clocked in 4:31.98.
Also for the Grizzly Cubs, junior Chandler McGaha posted a time of 1:59.00 in the 800 to finish 20th, and Samuel Barnett’s 41.06-second time in the 300 hurdles earned him 23rd place.