Category Archives: Sports

Girls Volleyball focuses on team bond, strengths

by Andrew Elsbury/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Senior Morgan Hornaday goes to serve in a home volleyball game.

Even though the GC High School volleyball team season record is not what they planned, the girls on the team have high hopes for the future in general, as well as each other.

The players themselves have a positive outlook on how they’ve been playing, stated junior Emma Berty. Berty stated on the fact of improving, “We have improved a lot over the past few months so far, and we are going to improve over the offseason to be better next year.”

She also commented on the closeness of the team, saying, “Everyone on our team gets along really well. I would say that we are all friends.”

Another GCHS volleyball player, Harper Holden, freshman, also had this to say on the friendly nature of their team. “We are all so loving of each other and have developed relationships outside of the sport and school. I am always excited for our next match. It gives us all another opportunity to prove ourselves to each other and to ourselves.”

The mindsets that the volleyball team has towards each other, along with the sport, helps them be striking and courageous on the court. They can go out there and play there all, along with supporting our school, because of each other.

The volleyball team has been faced with many challenges this year, with some changes in coaching. Because of this, Ms. Elizabeth Mercer, Mrs. Joni Hornaday, and Mr. Phil Leswing have stepped up to do the job. Berty had this to say on how the replacement coaches have done thus far.

“They create a really great environment and we love having them as our temporary coaches!”

Although this season might not have gone as expected, both for the players themselves and for fans, the GCHS Volleyball Cougars are going to work hard during the offseason and will only improve and get closer.

Boys cross country discuss successes of season

by Tyler Young/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Griff Wheeler runs during the sectionals match where the team placed third. Wheeler went on to place top 10 in Regionals.

Photo Caption: Griff Wheeler runs during the sectionals match where the team placed third. Wheeler went on to place top 10 in Regionals.

On average this year the XC team finished top 5 in almost all of their competitions. They had occasional first, second, and third place victories. Some team members for XC were interviewed about their performances this year.

Starting off with Griffen Wheeler, Wheeler was asked about his favorite part of the season. His response was, “Definitely just waking up every Saturday and being able to run with my teammates.” Wheeler said he prepared for sectionals with “my pre-race beef jerky, a lot of ice baths, and some easy runs.” He also commented about the teams overall performance, “We had a really good team performance late in the season from our team, even though we were missing our #2 runner Chris Ross.” 

Chris Ross, sophomore, talked about team goals and individual goals, and how they worked out. “My goal for this season was to be under 17:00 in the 5K, and our team goal was to make it to Semi-State,” he said.  “I completed my goal by running 16:24 at Columbus North, and our team made it to Semi-State. I was very excited to fulfill my goal. Our team was expected to make it to Semi-State but we were still happy to advance to it. Even though we had a high chance of making it, it was not guaranteed.”

Ross said the effort put in by the team made a difference during the length of the season. “One thing you should know about our team is that we are one of the most hardworking teams you will ever see,” Ross said. “We have practice 6 days a week for the entire season and no break until the season is over. Having to run 11 miles in one practice is definitely difficult, but pays off in the end.

Ross discussed what keeps him going while he is running. “The thing that encourages me the most while running is improvement in races,” he said. “You may not think that you are getting much better during training, but you usually see huge improvements when the season starts. Beating your 5K time from the previous season by almost a full minute can be very rewarding.”

The team is able to bond because not only do they work hard together but they also relax together and spend time getting to know each other. Ross said, “Every Friday we have a spaghetti dinner. A member of the team hosts it, and we talk about our cross country season and general life. The team has gotten to know each other very well this way.”

Griffen commented on his performance at sectionals, “I think I performed really well. It wasn’t my fastest race but it was a good time on a bad course and a good place in a stackfield.” He also replied to what he did well in cross country. “I hope I was a good leader and teammate to my team. And most importantly pushed my team to be their best day after day, and helped hold everyone accountable when someone was slacking off possibly.”

Mason Kojima, a senior runner, commented on what his favorite part of the season was. He replied, “Going back to normal and having regular meets like in 2019.” Mason commented on what he would have improved on when running this year. He said, “I personally could’ve worked harder throughout the year.” He was also asked about what he did well this year. He said, “I took Devin Evanoff under my wing to make him a better runner.”

The Greenfield Central Cougars’ cross country team looked good this year and it sounds like they are out and ready for more next year as they strive to be a more complete and competitive team moving forward.

Boys’ soccer team reflects on season

by Devin Evanoff/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Michael Runions, 11, Bryce Kinnaman, 11, and Logan Stoeffler, 12, practice during the Fall 2021 season.

 The boys’ soccer team finished as conference co-champions.They also gave great effort at sectionals, losing after 14 minutes of overtime during penalty kicks. 

Holden stated of the work put in during the season, “We have a great coaching staff and practices are well coached. I feel we have hard working players who show up for practice and do what is asked of them.”  Coach Holden is confident in his players and is very dedicated in making them the best possible players they can be. 

Holden also discussed how the offense can improve next year. Holden stated, “We are in need of more goal scorers. The team will continue to work on finishing and being aggressive when trying to score.” 

In terms of defense, Holden stated, “Our defense has been great this year. We will be looking for players to step up into the missing roles going into next year. Practicing defensive skills during the off season would be a great step to getting better for next year.” 

 Holden commented on the team captains and the leadership on the team. He stated, “We have two senior captains, John Halvorsen and Logan Stoeffler, and one junior captain, Bryce Kinnaman. They did a good job leading the team. We will be looking for someone to come in and show great leadership with BK for the next year.”

Holden said in terms of goals this year, “I think we struggled at times to stay focused on some of the main goals but we did well to win conference and play hard in the postseason tournament.” The soccer team performed very well this year, winning conference, which was one of ther goals but fell just short of one of their main goals in the post-season.

 As far as room for improvement goes, Holden said, “I always review the season and think of things I could have done better. Without naming specifics, of course I can always improve on the previous season and I will continue to try and do that.” Looking forward, Holden also talked about how new kids come out every year and join the team, stating, “I’m always happy when we find new players who want to join our soccer family. We have had more and more kids come out for the team over the last 6 years and it’s great to see the program growing and kids wanting to join.” 

Tyler Kerkhof, 11, discussed team chemistry. “Our chemistry is very good. We hang out a lot on and off the field which brings closer combinations that are important. The culture is one of the best I’ve seen. It speaks for itself with the amount of time we spend with each other on the field.” 

As far as improvements go, Kerhof said the team could improve on “(f)irst touch, paying attention to details, and taking time outside of practice to get better on your own.” 

Kerkof some questions about his goals for the team next year. He stated, “Obviously win a sectional title and win conference.” 

In the offseason for preparation, Kerkhof said he would “work in the offseason and getting together and playing together with the team in the summer to keep our skill.” Kerkhof described his accomplishments this season as, “I did good and better as the season continued, and you can always improve on getting in better shape and IQ of the game.” 

Michael Runions, 11, discussed the role he wants to have on the team next season. He stated, “I want to be a role model to the younger players and also to be a motivator to the whole team.”  As far as goals for next season, Runions said, “I want to be a regional champ and I want us to be undefeated.”

Of improvements for next year, Runions stated, “The team needs to condition more and watch film and stay mentally prepared and get our bodies to our best.” He also stated, “We can go undefeated and we can all get good grades and I think we can push ourselves to be the best team we can be.” 

The final thing Runions discussed was one thing he was proud of the season that he accomplished. He stated, “I kept the shutout in the Newcastle game as a goalie.” Runions has never played goalie in high school so when he went in he truly didn’t know what it was going to be like and played even better than he expected.

Cougars start season in full force

by Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Senior Larry Bellows, #60, runs on to the field with the Cougars.

The Cougars Football team is off to a solid start this season at 2-2 for both varsity and junior varsity.

Jackson Maciejewski-Haston, 9, who plays quarterback on offense and safety on defense, talked about what his goals,  personally and as a team, are for this season. He said, “My personal and team goals are the same — get better each week. We never want to dwell on the past or look too far ahead. We are focused on going 1-0 each week, and for me, I’m just trying to improve each week as a football player.” 

Isaiah Sitton, 9, who plays left Guard and D Guard, had a very specific focus.He said, “My goal for this season is to beat New Palestine as a team.”

 Joey Roland, 12, has been versatile with different positions, other than the offensive line. This year he will be playing running back and defensive end. He said, “The main goal is always to get better day by day and to obviously achieve a county championship trophy and a sectional championship trophy. A personal goal is to make the teammates around me a better person and a better football player. Playing football isn’t always about winning but more of becoming a better person and getting ready for your future.” 

Travis Nolting, head coach, who has been coaching football for a total of 17 years (10 years as a head coach and 7 years as an assistant coach) talked about growing skills in the players that they can use in their own lives. He said, “My goal is always to try and develop a team that can handle adversity on and off the field and teach our players to be successful men of character.”

Nolting talked about who has stepped in to take the place of the seniors who graduated last year on the team. He said, “Since having seniors graduate last year, lots of players have stepped up to take their place on the team. High school football is all about stepping up and getting the job done. We have had a great group of hard-working guys step up and work hard this year.”

Sitton talked about what he thinks the strengths of the team are. He said, “We keep each other up.” Nolting added: “Strengths of the team would be our experience. We returned a lot of seasoned players and we will always work on trying to get better and better every day. The strength of our coaching staff is also experience. We have a great group of coaches with a wealth of experience. Some guys on our staff have been head coaches before and others could be. That makes my job a lot easier when I can delegate work to guys who I can trust.” 

Roland also discussed the stability of the team. He said, “The biggest strength would most definitely be the defense. We have 9 starting seniors and all who have been a part of the program every year, and we all have 2-3+ years of varsity experience.” Maciejewski-Haston commented as well, saying, “I feel we have really strong senior leadership. Guys have worked really hard and are committed to moving GC in the right direction. We have a system that’s tough to defend and guys have really bought into it.” 

Roland also talked about changes from last year that need to be enhanced. He said, “The weaknesses (of the team) would most likely be the offense. We lost almost all our starting O-Line from last year and the starting QB, so we have some guys playing in some new varsity spots this year.” Maciejewski-Haston said, “I wouldn’t consider us to have weaknesses, just areas of improvement. Our coaches do a great job of focusing our time on things we need to get better at. It’s early in the season so we just need to improve our timing on certain plays or recognize things on defense quicker. I’m confident we’ll get better at these things every week.”

Nolting talked about how they prepare the boys physically and mentally when they are facing a challenging opponent. He said, “The same way you prepare for every game. We prepare the same each week. Consistency is something we feel helps our guys grow and develop.” Maciejewski-Haston commented about what he does when he’s heading into a very competitive game. He said, “We try to approach every game the same because they’re all important. Personally, I just try to focus on my assignments for my position. If I know my job, then it allows me to go out and play fast and have fun.” 

Roland’s take on the topic was, “Personally, you need to just focus and lock in, not hours or minutes before the game but almost days before the game. I start focusing on the big game mainly on that Monday of the game week. I have to be focused in practice mainly and I still have to be focused in the classroom.” Sitton said, “When I’m heading into a very competitive game, I pop in earbuds and think of the plays we run.”

Roland talked about how they build team-building skills among the team. He said, “Obviously, we have teammates in classes and we are always chatting and getting along, but for the seniors we have team dinners at a seniors’ house every Thursday and that is a main way we build team-building skills.” Nolting discussed how the coaches instill determination and tenacity among the team. He said, “We spend a lot of time teaching our system and schemes to encourage confidence and team-building among the team. We have found that when players know exactly what to do and how to do it, they play faster and harder.” 

Sitton said, “We build team-building skills among the team by trying our hardest during drills and build skill when we all work together.” Maciejewski-Haston said, “I think that a way we build as a team is picking each other up when we are struggling and are in a situation that might be bad. We also build as a team when we are hyped up and are ready to play together as a team. 

Nolting concluded with a final comment about coaching this group of boys this season. He said, “The experience we return makes it really fun this year. Our players understand the basic system which allows us to be more diverse on both sides of the ball.”

Girls soccer surges forward with two consecutive wins

by Devin Evanoff/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Callie Means, 10, makes a free kick after a foul. Photo: Submitted

The girls soccer team was off to somewhat of a rocky start this year, but they still focused on their goals, and are moving forward with two wins in a row. Centerback Callie Means, sophomore, stated, “We talk about goals often on the team. We always focus on one thing at a time, so normally we prepare for the certain team we are playing for the week. As far as a major goal, we all would love to go far in sectionals.” 

She also commented on how her second year on the team is going, stating “It’s been great so far. The team is more connected and closer with each other this year.” 

Means discussed the differences from last year to this year, saying “We play more as a passing team rather than be physically focused.” 

Means described what her position does for the team. She stated, “Our continuous job is to be the last line of defense and most physical people on the field. We also have to communicate well and constantly with our teammates.” 

As far as preparation for the games, Means said, “We all like to listen to rap music for a better performance and have a pregame huddle right before kickoff. Myself, Carly (Means), and (Claire Davidson, freshman) all write “AO1” on our legs or wrist to remind us that we only play for an audience of 1 and it centers our focus.” 

With all the pressure expectations can bring, standing out from the pack can be challenging. Means discussed what she does to stand out from everyone else, saying,  “I have been told that I can be physical but know where to find the good passes. I sometimes play in the midfield. My focus, game-play and role has to completely switch.” 

Callie’s sister Carly Means, freshman, also discussed her thoughts about the season. She stated, “I’m really excited for the high school season. I think if we stay healthy we can be successful this year.” 

Performing well as a player is a priority for Carly. “I plan to go out every game and give 100%,” Carly said.  “I will do my best to do what my team needs whenever they need it.” 

As far as her role on the team, she stated, “I’m hoping I can be impactul for the offense. I’d bring a lot of speed to the team and make a lot of outside runs.” Means also spoke about how the transition was from junior high to high school. “The transition was good because I was super excited to play with my sister again. Our coach was also my club coach a couple of years ago,” she said. 

COVID did affect the season, unfortunately. Davidson stated, “There have been players taken out and there has been at least one girl who  is missing most of the season. Also, there was no student section at first but in the past few games there have been more people.” She also spoke about how travel is different. She stated, “We still get to ride a team bus but we don’t get to pick where we sit and we have to wear masks on the bus.”

The girls team may have started off with a rocky start but there are still plenty of games left to have a good comeback season. The girls seem ready and know what they have to do to reach their goals.

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.”


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  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, “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 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. 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, “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. 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 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.