A so-so indoor track season wasn’t an accurate precursor to what Matt Fleener would accomplish once things moved outdoors.

On April 8, Fleener, a member of Center Grove’s junior varsity last season, convincingly began the process of making a name for himself by anchoring the victorious 4×400 relay at the Columbus North Invitational.

The momentum has lasted nearly two months.

“I think I’m having a great season. I couldn’t be happier about it,” Fleener said. “Really, I think my improvement came from lifting in the weightroom during the offseason. I’m a lot stronger than I was.”

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At 6 feet and 155 pounds, Fleener still isn’t the most imposing athlete in the 4×400, though he is the team’s lone underclassman. Running before Fleener are seniors Logan Bontrager, Tyler Boyer and Trevor Hohlt.

Fleener is qualified in two events for today’s Warren Central Regional. He’ll run the 400-meter dash and then be Center Grove’s final say as the relay anchor.

At last week’s Columbus North Sectional, Fleener finished first in the 400 in a time of 50.29 seconds. The relay dominated by blazing home in 3:23.48 — or 10.56 seconds faster than the second-place foursome.

During the regular season, Fleener ran a 50.21 to win the 400 at the Johnson County meet. The 4×400 relay’s time of 3:25.44.

Trojans coach Eric Moore, whose 4×400 team won state in 2016 with Bontrager and Boyer carrying the baton, appreciates the consistency Fleener provides his team.

“At the beginning of the year, honestly, he was lagging with the fifth or sixth fastest time in workouts,” Moore said. “Then, all of a sudden, he has a breakout meet and everything changed.

“Matt has got really good top-end speed and doesn’t change his pace at all.”

Fleener must be in top form if he is to represent Center Grove at the State Finals on June 1 at Indiana University. Today’s regional at Warren Central promises to be a difficult venue, but he’s ready.

“With the other (relay participants) being seniors, there is a lot of pressure. It’s a situation where I don’t want to let these guys down,” Fleener said. “Coach Moore told me he has a lot of faith in my finish.”

If you go

Warren Central Regional

When: 6 p.m.

Local athletes competing

Center Grove: Logan Bontrager – 400, 4×400, Austin Daming – shot put; Matt Fleener – 400, 4×400; Christian Goines – 110 hurdles, high jump; Sam Hohlt – 300 hurdles; Trevor Hohlt – 300 hurdles, 4×100, 4×400; Christopher Jones – 800, 4×800; Jacob Keith – high jump; Zane Libke – 800, 4×800); Nate Line – pole vault; Titus McCoy – 100, 4×100; Grant Mason – 100, 200, 4×100 relay; Gavin Matheson – 200, 400 relay; Steven Mills – 4×800; Travis Roehling – long jump; Adam Russell – 3,200, 4×800; Connor Walsh – pole vault; Nick Wilson – 1,600.

Franklin: Cole Bellmore – shot put; Andrew Bixler – 3,200, 4×800; Josh Campbell – 1,600, 3,200, 4×800; Tyler Fromer – 400; Isaiah Lindsay – 4×800; Chandler McGaha – 800, 4×800; Nick Riggles – 300 hurdles; Payton Utterback – pole vault.

Greenwood: Seth Gallman – 4×100; Justin Johnson – 300 hurdles; R.J. Meyers – 4×100; Lucas Oskins – 800, 4×800; Jake Patton – discus; Nick Patton – 110 hurdles, 4×100; Ethan Pine – 1,600, 4×800; William Socks – 4×100; Conner Terhune – 4×800; Nick Willham – 4×800; Nick Young – discus.

Indian Creek: Noah Maness – discus.

Whiteland: Jacob Ballain – pole vault; Ryder Emberton – discus, shot put; Zach Gaertner – pole vault; Mika Long – 3,200; Brylar Metz – 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles; Lance Parson – 4×100; Jake Perry – 4×100; Preston Phillips – 100, 4×100; David Ryan – 800; Chad Schuster – 4×100.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.