Center Grove came into Thursday’s Columbus North boys track sectional a little banged up, but that didn’t stop the sixth-ranked Trojans from repeating as sectional champions.
Center Grove held off a late charge from Columbus North to prevail 158-149 1/2 for the title.
“‘The injured Trojans’ should be our theme,” Center Grove coach Eric Moore said. “It was a struggle coming into this. A lot of young kids had to step up.”
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The Trojans were without defending sectional pole vault champion Josh Hall, who broke his hand in a fall, and sprinter Russ Yeast, who is having hamstring issues. Christian Goines did not long jump because of a hamstring issue but still finished third in the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches) and 110-meter hurdles (15.64 seconds).
Grant Mason was a double winner for Center Grove, taking the 100 (10.96) and 200 (22.15). He was a little gun-shy in the 100 after false starting in that event in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference meet.
“I thought in the 100, I had a bad block start,” Mason said. “I didn’t get out very fast. I felt like I was holding back a little bit that race, and then the 200, I felt really strong. The second half of both my races were incredible. I felt like the headwind was a little bit of a factor today, but it was a good race going into regional.”
The Trojans also got wins from Matt Fleener in the 400 (50.29) and Trevor Hohlt in the 300 hurdles (39.49). Center Grove won the 4×800 (8:12.55) and 4×400 (3:23.48) relays.
Several other Trojans advanced to Tuesday’s Warren Central Regional with top-three finishes.
“We all have to execute everything, and we all have to make sure we stay healthy the next two weeks until state,” Mason said.
Franklin finished fourth in the team standings with 79 points. The Grizzly Cubs were led by wins from Payton Utterback in the pole vault (13-6) and Chandler McGaha in the 800 (1:57.73).
“We brought kind of a thin team down, but we really performed pretty well,” Franklin coach Mike Hall said. “We’re going to have a bunch of guys going on next week, so we accomplished what we wanted to.”
Greenwood finished fifth with 65 points. Ethan Pine won the 1,600 in 4:22.83.
Noah Maness won the discus with a throw of 159-4 to lead Indian Creek to a sixth-place team finish with 32 points.