Gary West Side last year ended a nine-year run of boys state track and field team champions from the Indianapolis area. Previewing this season:
FIVE TEAMS TO WATCH
Ben Davis: The top-ranked Giants won three successive state titles from 2008-10, but they haven’t finished higher than fifth since then. Coach Mike Davidson said the 2014 team was perhaps the school’s best since 2008 — scoring 214 points in its sectional — but came up short at state. “The younger guys from last year want to bounce back,” Davidson said. He called victory at the Hoosier State Relays, an unofficial state indoor meet, a “springboard.” The Giants have a quantity of quality, led by sprinters Derrick Jones, Chris Evans and Jordan Wilkerson. They’re even deeper among throwers, including indoor state shot runner-up Jalil Brewer (56 feet, 7 inches) and 170-foot discus thrower Justin Brandon.
Warren Central: The No. 2 Warriors were second in the state indoors. They feature 200-meter state champion Isaiah Thomas, high jump runner-up Jarrell Dennis (6-9) and indoor hurdles state champ Glendon Montgomery.
Carmel: The No. 3 Greyhounds had last year’s state title within reach until a calamitous dropped baton in the closing 1,600 relay. “It’s driven the kids that were a part of it,” coach Ken Browner said. Besides runners from its state cross-country champions, Carmel has sprinter/jumper Isaac James (an Indiana University football recruit), shot putter Vince Laconi (57-8) and sophomore vaulter Mitch Lipe (13-9).
Avon: Orioles were fifth in state indoors, thanks to runners who were 11th in state cross-country. David Schall is the state favorite in the shot and discus.
Brownsburg: The Bulldogs are ranked only 12th. But they retain junior half-miler Hari Sathyamurthy as well as all four from the 1,600 relay state champions. Brownsburg has 400 depth in Nassif Kouton (50.69) and junior Tyler Kirtz, a football receiver (22.77 in 200).
INDIVIDUALS TO WATCH
Tres Carver, Fishers, senior: Second in state long jump with a wind-aided 23-4 3/4and second in state indoors.
Chris Evans, Ben Davis, junior: Running back/receiver has been offered football scholarships by Michigan State, Illinois and IU after scoring 28 touchdowns last fall. Sprinter/long jumper is also learning hurdles. Third in state indoors in long jump and won Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference at 22-5 1/2.
Derek Grimmer, Center Grove, senior: He is a curiosity because he is in his first year of track after abandoning baseball. Won MIC indoor 60 and finished fourth at state, both in 7.05.
Derrick Jones, Ben Davis, senior: Won state indoor 60 in 6.99, then led off 800 relay in 22.1.
Rahman Minor, Pike, sophomore: Was nation’s No. 2 freshman high jumper at 6-7, then leaped 6-8 to finish second in state indoors.
Stoney Prowell, Marshall, senior: Defending state champion after running 48.40 in 400.
Hari Sathyamurthy, Brownsburg, junior: State runner-up in 800 in 1:51.58, fastest ever by an Indiana sophomore and No. 2 in nation among sophs. Has extraordinary range, as evidenced by his 48-second split to deliver 1,600 relay state title and 18th place in state cross-country. Ran distance medley’s 1,600 anchor in 4:16 at indoor state. Is age-eligible to try for World Youth Championships.
David Schall, Avon, senior: Overwhelming favorite in both throws after finishing fifth in shot put and third in discus at state. He ranks sixth nationally in shot indoors this year at 61-10½, and his 185-2 in discus last year was 11th nationally among juniors.
Zack Snider, Brebeuf Jesuit, senior: State runner-up in cross-country and fifth in indoor nationals with 8:58.40 two-mile.
Isaiah Thomas, Warren Central, senior: Defending state champ in 200, clocking 21.68. Second in state indoors in 60.
Ben Veatch, Carmel, junior: State runner-up in 3,200, then won state cross-country and was 14th at nationals. Good rivalry with Snider.
Deakin Volz, Bloomington South, senior: Defending state champ twice set national indoor record in pole vault, raising it to 17-11¼. He aims at outdoor record of 18-3½.
Call Star reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.