Center Grove Softball Seniors Class of 2024

Center Grove Athletics Shine Through Spring and Beyond

Former Center Grove Standouts Shining Brighter Than Ever

Center Grove High School (CGHS) football Head Coach Eric Moore’s program motivational motto is “Hard Work x Dedication = Success.” This principle was fully embodied at the 2024 NFL Draft, when the Chicago Bears selected former CGHS defensive lineman Austin Booker with the 144th pick. Booker’s journey from playing football in elementary school in the Center Grove Bantam League to becoming a professional football player is a testament to the success of Center Grove’s football program.

CGHS defensive lineman Austin Booker, recently drafted by the Chicago Bears (photo courtesy the Chicago Bears)

“I had an amazing visit [to Chicago],” says Booker. “I know I will be in good hands going forward. I’m 21, so I know I have many years to get stronger and faster, so I’m just looking to keep growing in the NFL.”

Booker impressed many of the pro scouts with his ultra-competitive spirit.

“It comes from playing tackle football since kindergarten,” says Booker. “My dad also played defensive tackle. I’ve always had that motor, wanting to get to the ball, make hits and get to the quarterback. I’ve always had that. I love the game. I’m treating every down like it’s my last.”

After playing in the Center Grove Bantam League, Booker played two years at Center Grove Middle School North, and concluded his youth career with three seasons on the CGHS varsity team. As a senior, Booker played a pivotal role in the Trojans’ triumphant 2020 6A state championship campaign, contributing 36 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

In 2023 Booker was named an All-Big 12 First Team selection, and the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year after one year at Kansas University. His transition from high school to college was not without its challenges, but his determination and hard work paid off. Booker participated in the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine and Reese’s Senior Bowl following the season. Booker transferred to Kansas after two years at the University of Minnesota.

Booker’s high school teammate, Carson Steele, was signed by the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent following the draft. Steele had a brilliant four-year career as a running back for the Trojans. In his final season at CGHS, Steele had 1,659 yards rushing and 31 rushing touchdowns, won a state title, and earned the coveted 2020 Indiana Mr. Football award. He concluded his prep career with 5,907 yards rushing, 82 rushing touchdowns, and 16 school records.

Former Center Grove HS Football star Carson Steele, now with the KC Chiefs (photo courtesy the Kansas City Chiefs)

However, despite his high school success, Steele only received one Division I scholarship offer. It came from Ball State University. He played two seasons for the Cardinals, recording 12 100-yard rushing games. In 2022 he had a career-high 198 rushing yards in one game, and his season total of 1,556 rushing yards ranked him ninth nationally and was top in the conference. He played his final collegiate season at UCLA, appearing in 12 games with nine starts, rushing for 847 yards.

Booker and Steele join current Los Angeles Rams safety Russ Yeast in the NFL as the only current CGHS players in the league. Yeast became the first CGHS player drafted into the NFL, taken by the Rams in 2022. Over the past two seasons, Yeast has 71 tackles in 32 games with the Rams. He earned defensive player of the game honors in LA’s win at San Francisco in the 2023 regular-season finale. Yeast was also the first Trojan to play in an NFL playoff game when the Rams played at Detroit in mid-January, losing to the Lions 24-23. Yeast recorded five tackles, four of which were solo tackles.

CGHS’s boys basketball program celebrated a significant milestone by drafting its first player into the NBA, Trayce Jackson-Davis. Jackson-Davis, taken as the final pick in the 2023 draft, immediately had an impact in his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors. He ended the season as a starter, averaging nearly eight points, five rebounds, and one block per game in 68 games.

Golden State player and former CGHS player Trayce Jackson-Davis

“Trayce had an outstanding rookie season and was such a joy to watch night in and night out, from having high-flying lob dunks to blocking the best players in the NBA like Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and [Victor Wembanyama],” says Jackson-Davis’s CGHS Head Coach Zach Hahn. “Expectations for all players coming into the NBA are unknown. Trayce exceeded expectations and cemented himself into the starting lineup for one of the best franchises in the NBA. He proved through consistent rebounding, blocking shots, and efficiency on offense that he deserved the opportunity to play a key role for the Warriors. Trayce has always been a high-IQ player. He greatly understands spacing, angles, and timing on the defensive end. His future is as bright as he wants it to be. He will have to continue to get in the gym and outcompete guys daily. If he does that, his next contract will be lucrative, and he can play in the NBA for 10 to 15 years.”

Boys Golf Wins North-South Cup over Carmel

CGHS boys golf clinched a thrilling victory in the 2024 North-South Cup, defeating its arch rival Carmel by 24 strokes. The Trojans’ collective effort, led by juniors Brody Holubar and Noah Parsetich, who were co-medalists with scores of 71, resulted in a team score of 291, surpassing Carmel’s 315. This win adds to the Trojans’ impressive victories, including the Trojan Classic and Yorktown Invitational.

Softball County Champs

CGHS softball captured the 2024 Johnson County Tournament title with a 6-1 home win over Indian Creek. The Trojans outscored their opponents in three tournament games 31-1. Senior Riley Janda led the CGHS offense in the tourney with five hits, two of which were home runs, and seven batted in. Senior pitcher Riley Henson secured the wins in the circle in the final and semifinal games, striking out eight batters, and only allowing three hits in four-and-two-thirds innings pitched. Congratulations to Alyssa Coleman on winning her 100th game as the head coach of the Trojans softball program.

Boys Track and Field County Champs

CGHS boys track and field won the Johnson County meet under first-year Head Coach Brad Timmons. The Trojans set two county meet records: the 4×800 relay team of Kyle Montgomery, Gavin Rockwell, Cameron Cox and Jayden Salo with a time of 8:05:14; and the 4×400 relay team of Ben Tapak, Brevin Holubar, Austin Hennessy and Daxon Sauer with a time of 3:21:24. Boys track and field also took first in the Warren Central Invitational, Kokomo Relays, Trojan Classic and Noblesville Relays. CGHS senior Gavin Rockwell set the school record in the outdoor 3,200 meters at 9:11:50 in the Carmel Distance Showcase.

CGHS girls track and field placed first in the Trojan Classic, and second in the Johnson County meet and Kokomo Relays.

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