Category Archives: Sports

Cougars hope to bounce back from Conference, end season strong

by Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Matt Kaser, 12, tees off at a home match.

The Greenfield-Central boys golf team has had some good moments this year, but are yet to have everyone clicking at the same time. At the conference tournament, it was another instance where the Cougars fell short of having it all come together. However, after a seventh place finish, the Cougars are more motivated than ever, and practicing hard in hopes to rebound from their struggles going into the final stretch of the season. 

Trying to pinpoint the reasons as to why the team struggled the way they did at conference, Tyler Young, 9, says it felt like the team was just overwhelmed throughout tournament. “I think everyone was just overwhelmed during the entire length of the tournament.” Young said. “I think one of the biggest things for us moving forward is just learning to play our game no matter what the circumstances are.”

One thing that the Cougars can use for hope is knowing that they’re not too far off from performing at a level that will ensure success. Matt Kaser, 12, said, “To play our best golf we just need to keep practicing. It seems like every match we get two or three great scores and then we have a couple underwhelming ones to go with them that hold us back from being the team we can be. We have a lot of potential and we need to be ready to have it all come out.” 

Something else that the Cougars are using for motivation is remembering the feeling of almost getting last at conference, and never wanting to feel it again. “We can bounce back from our bad performance at conference by just remembering how it felt nearly getting dead last, while also knowing we were one score off from being a top four finalis,” Kaser said. “That tournament has really hit us that we have to play our best if we want to keep this season going past sectionals.”

Of course, while the struggles at conference are disappointing, something that a lot of people seem to forget is just how young a lot of this Greenfield-Central team is. Not a single member of the Cougars squad had played in the conference tournament beforehand. On the topic of how young the Cougars are, Young, said, “I think considering that this is my first year of school golf, along with a lot of my teammates, we have almost done as much as we can do. If we can come together, though, we can definitely improve our scores.” The young guys have played a big part in the success that the Cougars have had, and it’s been great for multiple reasons for the entirety of the team. “We have a lot of guys who have never played varsity golf, So for our younger guys to step up and play like they have been, it’s special, and it adds motivation for the older guys to keep fighting for our spots,” Kaser said.

Now, with the conference tournament in the rearview mirror, the Cougars have their sights set on finishing the regular season strong before heading into sectionals. With the hard work they’ve been putting in, and the recent struggles adding fuel to the fire, the Cougars believe they have all the tools necessary for a late season surge.

GC Baseball excited to be back on the diamond

by Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Parker Stanley, 12, pitches during the Frankton game on Wednesday, March 31. ( Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

After having the entirety of the 2019-20 season canceled due to COVID-19, the Greenfield-Central Cougars baseball team’s excitement levels are about as high as possible as the current season progresses. Knowing what it’s like to have the game that they love ripped away from them has made them appreciate the opportunity to go out and compete even more. Along with this, the Greenfield-Central unit feels they have unfinished business from two years ago that they need to handle. With that, the Cougars are experiencing loads of success.

Currently sitting at 8-4 overall, with a 6-1 conference record, the Cougars are tied with Mt. Vernon at the top of the Hoosier Heritage Conference standings. Talking to players on the team, it’s evident that the desire to get back out on the field is one of the biggest reasons the Cougars are frequently finding themselves in the win column. Lance McKee, 12, said, “It feels great to be back playing the game I love. I missed the game a lot after not being able to play last year. I’m glad to be back out there with my teammates; nothing is better.” 

Along with the eagerness to get back on the field, another factor contributing to the Cougars’ success is the desire to repeat as conference and sectional champions. Throughout the course of the season, it’s clearly been the main goal that keeps the team motivated. “From being reigning conference and sectional champs, I’d have to say our main goal is to repeat what we did two years ago.” Carson Gibson, 12, said. “There is no better feeling than winning conference and sectionals with the people you’ve been striving to reach that goal with.” 

The Cougars aren’t stopping their expectations at just conference and sectional championships, however. The entire program believes that the sky’s truly the limit for this talented group. “My goals for the team is to win the conference, win a sectional, win a regional, and finally win a state championship.” McKee said. “We’ve won plenty of games in the past, but I think we’re all looking forward to taking the success to new heights.”

McKee and Gibson both are in the middle of a senior season that they are trying to make their most momentous one yet. How are they going to make it their most eventful? Both of the upperclassmen pointed to it simply coming down to one thing: Winning. “I’m trying to make the most of every moment I have on the field so that we can win as many games as possible. The best memories I have in high school is winning games, so there’s no better way to make this last go-around more memorable than winning!” Gibson said. Echoing similar thoughts to his teammate, McKee said, “I think winning has a huge part of making a season memorable. I know we’re going to win a lot of games and have a good time doing it, and with the goals we have set, this last season will definitely have a great chance to be a special one.”

Cougars Exceed Expectations, Still Not Satisfied

By Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Joey Roland, 11, goes to the basket during the Pendleton Heights game on Friday, Jan. 29.

The Greenfield-Central Cougars boys basketball team wasn’t supposed to be successful this season. At least, that’s what some people thought going into the year. As the season played out, though, it was clear that the projections some had for this group weren’t accurate. In fact, they weren’t even close. Under second-year head coach Luke Meredith, after losing five seniors, and much of their scoring from the previous year, the Cougars finished the 2020-21 season with a record of 14-10, earning just the second winning season for the program in the last 17 years.

The low expectations that many had for the Cougars was one of the main resources used to keep the group motivated, and it added loads of fuel to the fire to prove those who doubted the team wrong. “This group of young men were special because we were underdogs all year and always played with a chip on our shoulder. We knew we would be underdogs most nights and when you’re doubted, that continues to add fuel to your fire and additional motivation to prove people wrong,” Meredith said. “This group relished the fact that no one expected us to win 14 games, win a sectional game against New Pal, win the Alexandria Holiday tournament, have the second winning season in the last 17 years at GCHS. This group fed off that doubt from others and used it as a positive to prove them wrong. That was our identity and will continue to be our identity moving forward.” 

While the Cougars are obviously happy about proving the doubters wrong, they aren’t satisfied with how the season came to a close. Adam Lester, 11, said, “It felt great to prove everyone wrong and win 14 games. We were doubted all season and fueled off of it. We made a solid run, but in the end, we didn’t get the job done. Until we bring a trophy home, we won’t be satisfied.” Gavin Robertson, 11, echoed similar thoughts to his teammate. “Looking back at the season as a whole, there was a lot that we accomplished, but we are never satisfied with where we’re at. The goal is bigger next year, and we are working to achieve a sectional and conference championship.”

The Cougars improved greatly in many areas throughout the course of the season, but one word is all that Coach Meredith needs to sum up the improvements: Culture. “This team cared about each other, were fun to be around, worked hard, and loved the process of practice, they understood what it took. We preach the standard is the standard, which simply means when someone pays to come watch Greenfield-Central boys basketball, they know what to expect: young men who will work hard, dive on the floor, hustle on and off the court, and represent our school, community, and program the right way. The biggest improvement from November to March was caring about each other and continuing to develop our CULTURE.”

As for next season, the Cougars feel like they can bring the momentum they obtained this past year into it and reach even higher levels of success. Leading scorer for the Cougars this past season, Dylan Moles, 10, said, “With how our season ended, we’re definitely hungry going into next season. We always feel like we are overlooked and slept on, so we’ll be ready to continue to wake people up next year. Nobody is satisfied, and we are ready to get to work and cut down the nets next season.” 

Coach Meredith also believes that the program can build quite a bit off of the success from this past season, and with a complete buy-in from his players, believes that his Cougars squad will once again have the chance to surprise some people. “We can build quite a bit from this past season. We return our core with a group of players that logged a ton of minutes as sophomores and juniors. If these young men continue to buy-in and work hard this offseason, we have an opportunity to surprise people again next season. We will be undersized and doubted along the way, but that is who we are and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We just have to stay humble and hungry and be willing to put in the work in the dark if we want the opportunity to shine under the bright lights next season.”

LET THE MADNESS BEGIN

by Tyler Young/Staff Writer

That’s right, all you sports fans. The NCAAM (college basketball men’s) and NCAAW (college basketball women’s) will all be held in the state of Indiana, even both the Big Ten tournaments for men’s and women’s basketball.

The Big Ten tournament was supposed to be held in Chicago but was relocated to Indianapolis in Lucas Oil Stadium and will go from March 10-14 due to “multiple factors for the decision, primarily health and safety, and COVID-19 testing protocols” according to thedailyhoosier.com.  The same thing goes with the Big Ten women’s tournament, which will be held one day before the men’s tournament starting on March 9 and ending on March 11. It will also be played in Indianapolis. But instead of being in Lucas Oil, the women will play in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Now for the NCAA men’s March Madness. According to the writers of ncaa.com, “The 2021 NCAA D1 men’s basketball tournament will be unlike any March Madness that has come before.” Announced in early January, many sports fans were shocked to hear that the ENTIRE NCAA men’s tournament will be held all in Indiana. A total count of “67 men’s basketball games will be taking place in Indianapolis” according to ncaa.com. That is exceptional. Selection Sunday will happen on March 14 and the Final Four will start on April 3 and April 5. The schedule is strangely similar to the previous tournaments, just all the games are in the same state. NCAA.com also states that “Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Only one game at a time will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium. Teams will practice at the Indiana Convention Center with multiple courts set up inside the venue.”     

The 2021 NCAA Women’s basketball tournament, however, will not be held in Indiana. Instead this event will take place in the major cities of Texas. It states on ESPN.com, “including San Antonio; Austin, Texas; and San Marcos, Texas.” Live coverage starts on the 21st of March and ends on the 4th of April with the National Championship. Unlike the NCAA men’s basketball coverage, which is held on CBS, TBS, TNT, or truTV, the women’s basketball tournament will be entirely on all platforms of ESPN throughout all dates of scheduled basketball. ESPN.com states that “The Alamodome will host the Women’s Final Four, Elite Eight and Sweet 16. All 63 games of the 64-team event will be televised by the ESPN family of networks and available on the ESPN App.”

Lastly, there will be some considerations and ideas moving forward. After Selection Sunday the NCAA is considering a 1-4 team pool provided a disqualification before the end of the first round. An article on CBSsports.com states, “if necessary, to move into the tournament field should that be required before the completion of the first round. Those teams would be ranked 1-4 and will be announced during the Selection Show on CBS on March 14 at 6 p.m.” This special type of March Madness shall be interesting to watch. Let’s just hope that it gets to happen.

Cougars Capture HHC Title, Place Fourth at Sectionals

by Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Scott Stanley, 12, goes up against a Franklin Central opponent on Dec. 2.

It’s been a year filled with many great moments for the Greenfield-Central wrestling team, and after securing the program’s first Hoosier Heritage Conference title since 2012, the excitement inside the program is through the roof as sectionals draw closer, and with this season taking place during a pandemic, the conference championship feels even more rewarding for this Cougars unit. 

In a season unlike any other, COVID-19 has certainly played a big role in how things have been conducted, and its presence has caused many different individuals to be quarantined, forcing the Cougars to always have the next-man-up mentality. In response to what this season has been like in the middle of a pandemic, Logan Condrey, 12, said, “COVID has affected our season heavily. I myself have been quarantined, and we have lost some big time wrestlers right before sectionals, like Dakota Herald.” Although this Cougars team has faced many challenges from this pandemic throughout the course of the year, they have found ways to overcome.

As for the conference tournament, it was just another example of this team finding a way to overcome. A complete team effort from the Cougars was what powered the group to the conference title win. Five wrestlers from the Greenfield-Central squad advanced to the championship finals in their respective weight classes, with four of them reigning victorious. These individual championship wins earned by Matt Torres, 12, Scott Stanley, 12, Dakota Herald, 11, and Chase Gardner, 11, each tacked on at least 24 points to the Cougars’ total, along with every single weight class contributing to the team’s 238 total points. 

At the conference tournament, Torres went from unseeded at the start of the tournament to champion of the 145-pound division in the end. Seeing the hard work he put in throughout four years as a Cougar all come together to capture the individual title was something that he’ll never forget. “Winning a conference title was a crazy rush of emotions. It felt great seeing my teammates, coaches, family members, and friends be so proud of me. I can’t thank everyone enough that helped me train and prepare for that moment. Bandits for life.” 

The hard work Torres has put in is no secret to those involved with the program. His teammate, Logan Condrey, 12, said, “Seeing one of my best friends, Matt Torres, win an HHC title was probably the most improvement I’ve seen from anybody this entire season. He’s worked hard his whole life, but never got his payday until now. It was awesome to see.”

Torres isn’t the only one who will never forget this conference championship. Head Coach Josh Holden has been at Greenfield-Central for 17 years, coached 13 teams to winning records, earned HHC coach of the year honors multiple times, and yet, this is just his second Cougars team to conquer a conference title. That alone shows you just how tough it is to do. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of this team. They are only the second team to do it in my 17 years. And, to do it during the COVID epidemic just shows their resilience. We focused all year on that tournament, then, they went out and took it,” Holden said. 

Capturing the conference title itself wasn’t the only thing that made the win special for Holden, though. “The other thing that made it special for me was the fact that we lost a former wrestler this year. Dezmen McGinley was on the last team to win the HHC title. He was a special kid. His heart was as big as anyone I have ever known. He made you smile when he walked into the room. It was like he was watching over us at the conference. I can’t explain it, but we were different that day. It was special, like Dezmen.” 

Holden has seen this Cougars team improve throughout the course of this season greatly on the mat, but the area in which he feels he has seen the most improvement is the team that they have become. “We preach every year that we will be the most improved team in the conference by the conference tournament. This year it was obvious that we were as evidenced by us winning the HHC title. We definitely improved on the mat, but the thing I think we improved on the most was being a team. People think of wrestling as just an individual sport, but you need teammates to get you through the tough times wrestling throws at you. You can really see this team coming together and loving each other.”

After capturing the HHC title, the Cougars had to put the championship behind them and fully focus on sectionals. Focused is exactly what they were, as the team’s efforts resulted in nine regional qualifiers, with six third-place finishers, and three fourth-place finishers. Unfortunately, all of the improvements that were made, and all of the hard work that this Cougars team put in throughout the course of the year was put to a halt. On February 3rd, the school officially announced that the Cougars wrestling team would be withdrawing from the IHSAA state tournament before regionals due to COVID-19 protocols. Six of the nine regionals qualifiers on the Greenfield-Central squad will be back next year, and along with the entire team, are going to use this as motivation, and after having major success in a season that included an HHC title, the entire unit is hungrier than ever before going into next season.

Meredith, Players Excited for New Season

by Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Gavin Robertson, 11, attempts a 3-point shot against Guerin Catholic on November 24th, 2020.

With the 2020-21 season now here, all eyes are on second year Greenfield-Central head coach Luke Meredith and the Cougars as another new chapter in GC basketball is among us. After a 12-12 campaign in Meredith’s first year at the helm, Greenfield-Central is losing five seniors who played an integral role in the success of the Cougars a year ago. Due to these losses, returning players stepping up and filling the leadership roles left behind will be a major factor in the success of this year’s Greenfield-Central team, along with staying completely invested in the culture that Meredith established in his first year as head coach.

The players on this year’s squad recognize the importance of staying bought in, and by hearing them speak about it, you quickly realize just how strong of a culture it is that Meredith has instilled in this program in the short time he’s been with the Cougars. Adam Lester, 11, said, “In the short time he’s been here, he’s already changed the culture and brought a new swag to Greenfield. He led us to a very good season last year, and even more are going to be surprised this year.” Guard Gavin Robertson, 11, also had high praise for the job Meredith has done. “Coach Meredith has done a phenomenal job to say the least, and he is one of the hungriest people I’ve ever met. His will and drive to win games as a coach was such a big factor in the success that we had last year, and it will continue to be, especially this year in particular with a young team.” With how highly the players speak of him, the impact of the job Meredith has done since taking over the program is no secret.

When it comes to the 2020-21 season, players and staff are excited, and are looking forward to the opportunity of proving any doubters wrong. Head Coach Luke Meredith said this about what the team needs to do to succeed this season. “The keys to our success hinges on players continuing to improve and relishing their new roles. We are going to play a lot of guys that quite frankly are not ready to play in varsity games, but will be called upon to play and will be given an opportunity. Many guys are in new roles and we are a young team looking to prove ourselves. Continuing to build the program, get the kids to believe we can compete, and show everyone we belong in our conference and sectional. I am excited to coach this group and hope we continue to play hard even if adversity hits us in the win/loss column. The goal is to be better in March than you are in November, and I believe we will be one of those teams.”

Coach Meredith also outlined his main goals for the team this season, saying, “The goals for our team is to uphold our standard of play. Whoever comes to watch us play needs to see that we are playing hard and competing every play. If we have “Bring the Juice” on our shooting shirts, it can’t just be a slogan; it must be a way of play. Uphold that standard and bring energy and enthusiasm on the court to represent our basketball program and continue that standard set by last year’s team. This is who we are and this is who we must continue to be to compete in our sectional and conference.” 

The belief in this team isn’t just present in Meredith and the staff’s mind; the players share the same belief as well.  Robertson, the second leading returning scorer on this year’s GC team, said, “I think this team is capable of competing in every single game on our schedule. The goal is to get better each and every day, and with how much improvement we’ve made as a team during the offseason, the results will come.” Lester shared a similar belief, saying, “We’re all used to playing with each other, and the chemistry on and off the court has only grown throughout the offseason. I think we’re capable of shocking lots of people.” 

Profile: Robertson’s competitive spirit evidenced as cougars head into basketball season

by Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Gavin Robertson, 11, (in center of photo) is the Cougar’s second-leading scorer returning to play this season and is expected to fill a leadership role several graduating seniors left.

After a 4-20 season in 2018-19, the Greenfield-Central Cougars boys basketball team showed major improvements last season under first year Greenfield-Central head coach Luke Meredith, finishing the 2019-20 season with an overall record of 12-12. The Cougars will lose five seniors from last year’s roster, who contributed greatly to the Cougars’ success. One individual who is expected to step up in place of some of those seniors and have a big role on this year’s Cougars team is Gavin Robertson, 11. 

Robertson missed a chunk of last season due to an injury, playing just 14 of the team’s 24 games, but while he was available, he made an impact. In a 53-40 win over Yorktown last season, Robertson scored a season- and career-high 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting, and 4 of 6 from three. Robertson would match that with another 16-point performance later on in the season against Lebanon. With the Cougars losing so much scoring and experience, Robertson will be required to have those types of performances more often, as he’s the second leading returning scorer for this year’s team. 

Although the Cougars lost five key seniors from last year’s roster, Robertson is optimistic about this upcoming season. “I think this team is capable of achieving more than what others think. We lost five seniors, most of our scoring, and lots of size, but we still have guys that have heart, play hard, and want to win. I think we can shock some people this year. Everyone has been buying into the process.” The process Robertson speaks of is the culture that head coach Luke Meredith is building within the program. “A positive culture in this program is what Coach Meredith harped on from day one and tried to install, and I would say the effects of the culture he’s built has paid off.” 

Robertson has many goals for the upcoming season, individually, and for the team. “Personally, some of my goals are just to improve this year as a team from start to finish and to simply just win. A conference or sectional title is always the main goal, and I am just ready to try and prove people wrong.” He also added how he’s been preparing for the season, saying, “To get ready for this upcoming season, I have been focusing on my mindset and skill sets, training daily to try and take that next step necessary this year.”

When you hear some of his Cougars teammates speak about him, you realize the respect they have for him, and it’s easy to get a feel for the importance he will have on this team. Adam Lester, 11, who has played with Gavin since second grade, said, “Gavin is the most competitive person I’ve met on the court, and he never fails to leave his print on the game. He’ll always push you to your limit and hold you accountable, and brings the best out of you while playing with him.” 

Leading returning scorer for the Cougars, Dylan Moles, 10, said, “What impresses me most about Gavin on the court is his ability to knock down shots consistently with a hand in his face. I’ve seen Gavin’s game grow a ton over the years. He’s become a much better ball handler, defender, and also gets his shot off way quicker. He’s a great teammate, and is always holding guys accountable and being a leader.” These comments reflect the positive view his teammates have of him, and the impact he has in the locker room.

The Cougars will need quite a few individuals to step up and position themselves as go-to guys in the upcoming season. As one of the leading returning scorers, featuring the hard work he’s put in during the off-season, and the desire he has to get better, Robertson definitely is expected to be one of those go-to guys that the Cougars can lean on. Greenfield-Central’s season begins Nov. 19 at home against Morristown.

Soccer Team hustles into new season

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer  

Photo Caption: Hunter Stine, #17,  tries to stop #19 on the Pendleton Heights boys varsity soccer team from scoring a goal during a game last season. Photo by John Kennedy

    The boys varsity soccer team, four-peat sectional champs, have gotten off to a bit of a slower start this season with two wins, four losses and two ties so far. This season they are facing tougher teams such as the Lawrence North Bobcats, and the team did not get to have the club soccer experience in the off-season like they usually do due to the pandemic.

    Despite a few struggles, they are seeing some success in leadership and growth. Assistant Coach Micah Gerike said, “The biggest thing that has led to the soccer team’s success is that the players have bought into the program. They listen to the coaching staff and believe in the information that they are being coached.” Gerike said, “We have had several players step up to fill roles of last year’s seniors. Many of these players have not had much experience at the varsity level, but they are able to still have the support from the other players.”

    John Halvorsen, 11, number 15 on the team who plays center midfielder on the team, had several things that he enjoys about the soccer season. He said, “I would say the bond between my teammates that I have is my favorite thing. It brings a certain level of security knowing that I have brothers next to me at all times.” Soccer is often like a family for the coaches and players. Gerike said, “I think that the biggest strength is the “family” mentality. Everyone on the team and in our program is treated as a family member. Family members don’t always get along with each other, but they will always be there for each other when needed. A needed improvement in my opinion is that they need to make this season their own and not try to compare it to previous seasons.” 

 Hunter Stine, 10,  number 17 on the team who plays center back on the team, said there are many benefits to being on the soccer team. Soccer also has a main benefit. Halvorsen said, “The main advantage of playing soccer is just being in shape. It’s really good for your physical health and I think that is a big role in feeling good about yourself.” 

Coaching has some advantages to it. Gerike said, “Networking. Because of coaching soccer: I got my teaching job, I have met friends, I have traveled the country and I have met professional athletes.” 

    Playing soccer also has many challenges at times. Halvorsen said, “I would say the biggest challenge is playing through adversity, meaning a team could be better than us or the refs just are not the best refs out there. You have to have a strong mindset to be able to do so.” Playing soccer has another challenge to it. Stine said, “Being in shape is one of the many challenges in soccer. In high school varsity matches, we play 40 minute halves. You are running up and down the field the entire time, so you have to be in very good shape. Another challenge is being able to keep your head up. Sometimes you could be getting beat 4-0, and you just have got to keep your head up and keep playing, no matter the score.” 

Coaching soccer can also have obstacles to it. Gerike said, “One challenge I have as a coach/teacher is being able to draw the line between being in the classroom and being on the field. Another challenge that I think most coaches face is being able to keep a positive and energetic attitude at practice after a long day at work.”

    Gerike said, “My favorite thing about coaching soccer is being able to share my knowledge and passion for soccer with others.” Stine’s least favorite thing about playing soccer is the constant risk of injury. But it doesn’t slow him down. Halvorsen said, “I focus on getting my mind set on the game and the game only. I listen to music and get pumped up to play. I make sure I am fully stretched out and loose so I know I’m ready to go.”

    Stine said, “I usually focus my mind and listen to some music, and just think of game-like situations in my head to prepare. I also try to keep myself calm because if I’m nervous I make mistakes.” 

Gerike and the other coaches let the players set individual and team goals they would like to achieve. His goal for this season is to have players step up and take vacant roles on their own. 

    Gerike said, “I enjoy watching players develop over time and seeing how their thought  process evolves with their style of play. I also miss playing soccer and for me coaching is the next best way to stay involved.” Gerike said, “My least favorite thing about coaching soccer is handling the paperwork and the more organizational tasks that are required.” 

Stine summed up what makes all the challenges and ups and downs worth it.  “When I play, I forget about all my problems and hardships of the day. It’s my stress reliever.”

Cougars Adjust to Football in a Different World

by Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Lance McKee, 12, looks for an open man in the Homecoming game against Pendleton Heights. Photo by Kye Jocham

Throughout the United States, and the rest of the planet, high school football teams all over have had to adjust to the different world people are living in with the coronavirus pandemic; this is no different for the Greenfield-Central Cougars. The pandemic has brought many challenges and obstacles for the Cougars team, but Coach Nolting and staff are working to prepare the Cougars for success in the upcoming season.

Speaking with some of the players from the team, they discussed how well Nolting and the Cougars staff have done handling the situation. Running back Brayden Herrell, 10, said, “Coach Nolting and all of the staff have handled the pandemic situation better than we all thought it could be handled. Before school started, most people thought we had no chance of playing, but the coaches want to play, and are keeping us safe at the same time. They try their best to keep us all socially distanced on the sidelines and when we are not in drills. Our safety is their number one priority right now.” It’s not just Herrell who feels the Cougars staff has done a wonderful job dealing with the pandemic. Chris O’Connor, 12, said, “The coaches have done everything they possibly can to ensure that we play football. They have done a great job throughout the whole situation.”

When it comes to being on the field, Cougars players are optimistic in the progress they have made throughout the off-season, and their potential in the season ahead. Quarterback Lance McKee, 12, commented on the improvements made throughout the off-season, “The biggest improvements I have seen from our team this off-season is how much bigger, faster, and stronger we are now compared to last season. We have had multiple guys gain as much as 30 pounds of muscle.” Hearing the players talk about the off-season, and the areas in which they have made the biggest efforts in, you quickly get an understanding of just how much progress they feel the team has made from last year to this year.

With the strides they have made during the off-season, and the job the Cougars coaching staff has done to prepare them for the season, optimism among the players for potential success in the upcoming season is high. Brayden Herrell, 10, was among those with optimism going into the new year. “I think this team we have could shock a lot of people. Losing around only 5 seniors last year, we have only gotten bigger, faster, and stronger. Last year we were young and in a first-year offense, which really does make a big difference. We definitely have the potential; we just need to go out there and ball.” Hearing these comments, and other optimistic feedback, the Cougars seem to be in a good place mentally, and on the field going into the 2020-21 season.

It’s not just the players who trust the process the Cougars have gone through during these times. Head Coach Travis Nolting recapped some of the biggest challenges the team has faced due to the pandemic, and stated that he feels he and his staff have done a nice job of handling it. “We lost all of the spring session and most of the summer. Once back in school we were hit with a 14 day quarantine and missed practices as well. We have also had to add lifting into the practice times due to the hybrid schedule. Most players are only in my class 1 day per week on site, which we have had to address by lifting on Thursdays after school to fulfill that need. We have had to be ready and adapt to changes as they come. I think our staff has done a good job overall in handling the new challenges.” Along with this, Nolting is also happy with how his players have progressed over the off-season, saying he was proud of the commitment the players have shown, and that they get better every day.

Profile: Anderson U. baseball players hope for spring season

Photo Caption: Clayton White, a senior at Anderson University, waits to throw a pitch against his opponent on April 21.

Corinne White/Staff Writer

Anderson University’s athletes have taken a harsh downfall for this season. The coronavirus has taken away lots of opportunities for players on the team. Most recently, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, of which Anderson is part,  postponed any conference-related contests and championships scheduled for the fall 2020 season. Clayton White, a senior who has played baseball all of his life, has been very doubtful about this coming season. “As a senior it’s really hard to let all of my hard work go to waste. Knowing I most likely won’t get my last season is truly heartbreaking,” White stated. 

The Anderson Ravens baseball season was cut short last season, and seniors from last year did decide to come back for this season. “I’m glad most of the guys are coming back this season. If our season gets canceled this year, I’m not sure I will continue my baseball career,” White explained. 

White, a graduate from Eastern Hancock, has played baseball since he was 5 years old. His drive is obvious,  as he set many records at Eastern Hancock and pitched the second perfect game in Eastern Hancock history as a sophomore. White then committed to Anderson University to further his baseball career. He has had lots of opportunities and has MLB scouts looking out for him. 

White explained that at first he didn’t think the coronavirus was such a big deal. “I didn’t know anyone that had it at first. I didn’t think it was possible for me to get it.” The Anderson baseball team has been restricted from practicing because 25% of the players tested positive, including White and his roommates. 

“I was the first one in the house to have it. I went to a party and a few days later I got sick, tested positive of course,” Tyler Burton, a Ravens baseball player stated. Soon after that all of the boys tested positive.

Burton graduated from Knightstown with a very good academic standing. Burton is one of the best hitters on the Ravens baseball team. As a freshman he was able to achieve his goal of 10 home runs in one season. “I felt extremely guilty when I tested positive for Covid. Not only to my roommates but for my whole team,” Burton explained. He knows that he will have at least one more season. Nonetheless he is still very upset and feels sorry for the seniors. 

When the coaches announced that practice and fall ball was pushed back the boys were devastated. Zach Lane, a senior baseball player, tried to uplifted the boys and be a leader.  His goal for this team is to not only be successful by winning, but also be a family. The boys on the team call Lane the “dad” of the team, because he is always taking care of people and being a leader. “I went to a very small high school and my team was not very good. There’s where I learned my leadership skills,” Lane said proudly.

He has also tested positive for coronavirus. “I think everything happens for a reason. God has a plan even if we don’t like it sometimes. Something good will eventually come out of this. We just have to wait and see,” Lane explained with a big smile on his face.”

The Anderson Ravens hope to have their season in the spring. White hopes to do something big for the end of his baseball career, maybe continuing into the minor league baseball league. The team has been looking forward to their season so they can give their seniors an experience to remember.