CGHS Baseball and Track and Field Teams Put in Memorable Seasons
Writer / Kevin Conrad
Track and Field
Going out on top is more the exception than the norm. However, since Eric Moore took over as head coach of the Center Grove High School (CGHS) boys track and field program in 2000, the Trojans have been more than just normal. They have been exceptional. Under Moore’s leadership, Center Grove won the state title in 2011, and earned seven regional championships, 18 sectional titles and 23 county trophies.
Moore, 61, announced during the season he would hang up his stopwatch and whistle after the state finals in June. In the final event of the state meet and Moore’s final event as head coach, the Trojans sent him out on top.
“You coach track for almost 40 years and your last event that you coach is the mile relay, the four by four, and you win the state championship,” says Moore. “That’s pretty special.”
Senior Parker Doyle, a member of the mile relay team, sent Moore out with another first-place finish, winning the 300-meter hurdles.
“I love hurdling,” says Moore. “For my senior hurdler [Doyle] to fall in the event he should have won [110-meter hurdles], and then recover and come back and show his true character and toughness and win the state in an event he shouldn’t have. In my last go around as a hurdle coach, I got a hurdle state champion, and my last go around as relay coach, I got a relay champion.”
“When I was told that it was going to be Coach Moore’s last year coaching track, I knew I needed to end that era of his life with a bang,” says Doyle. “Coach Moore has been almost a second father to me. He’s been very tough on me since my sophomore year when I looked like an awkward giraffe running. Coach Moore saw my potential and helped me get as close to it as I possibly could. Without Coach Moore, I can’t see myself being anywhere close to where I am today.”
Doyle finishes his athletic career at CGHS as one of the most decorated athletes of all time, with five state championships. He not only won two state titles in track this season, but was also a member of Moore’s football state championship teams in the past three seasons. The Indiana State track recruit was also named the 2023 Indiana Mr. Sprinter/Hurdler.
“Every single state title means so much to me,” says Doyle. “I played a different role in all of them and it feels good to know my hard work paid off.”
Center Grove baseball has had tremendous talent through the years, winning numerous conference, county, sectional and regional titles. However, one thing was missing – a trip to the state championship game. The 2023 Trojans forever changed history with an incredibly fun-filled ride to their first appearance in the state title game at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
CGHS began the season with an 11-game win streak. Early-season success included one-run wins over Centerville High School in the season opener at Indiana University, and familiar foes Whiteland and Franklin in the county final-four and championship games. The Trojans also had wins over not-so-familiar foes Homestead and Bedford North Lawrence. The hot start put CGHS atop the state polls, where it would stay for the remainder of the season.
CGHS strung together nine straight wins mid season, highlighted by victories in Louisville over Cincinnati Elder, the winningest program in the nation, and the number-one-ranked team in Kentucky, Saint Xavier.
The Trojans ended the regular season with an impressive 24-3 record and were poised to make a deep run in the state tournament.
“We had a lot of new guys step up and throw some great innings for us,” says Keith Hatfield, baseball head coach. “Then we really started executing offensively in the tournament, which was a big reason we made the run we did.”
CGHS defeated Bloomington South and Greenwood to win its 21st sectional. In the Sweet 16, the Trojans topped Columbus North to secure their seventh regional. CGHS won just its second semi-state, and first since 1996, with victories over Brownsburg and Castle.
CGHS didn’t win the top prize, falling to Penn in the 4A state title game 2-0, concluding the season with a 29-4 record.
“I am extremely proud of this team,” says Hatfield. “The seniors and returning varsity guys did a great job with the freshmen and sophomores, leading them and making them feel welcome. This group definitely left a mark that will be visible for years to come.”
“I’m extremely proud of this team and especially the seniors,” says CGHS junior third baseman Noah Coy. “The run the [senior players] had over the past four years was amazing, and to finally break through to the state championship game was a great way to fulfill all the goals we’ve set as a team and program. We didn’t quite get it done, but hopefully we have kicked the door in for future teams. I think the legacy this team leaves is that hard work, believing in each other and really caring about each other makes a difference.”
The players were not only committed to putting in the time and hard work during the season, but also in the off-season.
“The guys bought in and showed up every day,” says Hatfield. “We had very limited absences because they not only are great workers, but wanted to be around and compete with their teammates. We are fortunate to live in a great community. They come to our program with a great mindset because of their upbringing. It is great to see them work and mature from teenagers to young men. This group definitely achieved that.”
This team had all the ingredients for success.
“The commitment to putting in the work and to the team was huge,” says Coy. “We have great coaching, and on the field I think we had the ability to play all parts of the game with great pitching, great defense, timely hitting and speed. Most of all, I think just really buying into the process and trusting each other – the trust and love we have for each other as friends and teammates carried over to the field. It’s going to be hard seeing these seniors move on, but it’s up to the guys that are coming back to create the same environment.”