By Rick Morwick
Matt Fleener had any number of reasons for feeling good about his chances for a top-flight finish at the IHSAA Boys Track and Field Meet.
First, he is a four-year varsity standout. Second, he is a state meet veteran. Third, he is a Johnson County, sectional and regional champion.
And finally, the 2018 Center Grove High School graduate is in the best shape of his career
“I feel great. My body’s probably in the greatest shape it’s been all year,” Fleener said. “I’m feeling pretty good.”
Proof was in the results of the June 2 state finals at Indiana University.
Fleener raced to a sixth-place finish in his individual event, the 400-meter dash and ran the second leg of the Trojans’ seventh-place 1,600-meter relay. His prolific day in his final high school meet capped an outstanding career in which he led the Trojans in more ways than one.
“His leadership has been great,” longtime Center Grove coach Eric Moore said. “His on-track work ethic doesn’t allow for any young athlete to think they are too good for the workout of the day. He has given us such depth and strength in the mid-sprint events. His smile is contagious and he is always nice to all teammates.”
A versatile runner who can – and has – competed in sprints outside his specialty events when the Trojans needed points, Fleener is a dedicated track athlete who gave up varsity football after his junior season to concentrate solely on his No. 1 sport.
“I decided I’d be better off just to focus on track, because that’s what I’m good at and I knew I wasn’t going to get any (college) looks for football,” said Fleener, who played wide receiver. “Plus, I didn’t want to get injured or anything. You never know what can happen.”
Fleener plans to continue track as a career in college and is still sorting his options. He has received offers from a few small programs but is confident of receiving offers from some larger schools in the wake of the state meet.
“I’ve got a couple of small schools looking at me but I’m just waiting for after the state to see if I get any bigger offers,” Fleener said. “I’m hoping for IU. I’ve talked to them a little bit.”
Moore expects Fleener to be a valuable addition to any college program.
“Matt has a great practice work ethic,” Moore said. “Because he runs and trains the 400 so intensely, he can also run the 100, 200, 400 and all of the relays.”
Fleener credits his four years in Center Grove’s state-power track and field program for the opportunity that awaits him in college, wherever that might be.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Fleener said. “Being around coach Moore himself and (assistant) coach (Brad) Timmons has taught me a lot about life and made me who I am today. I own them a lot.”
THE FLEENER FILE
YEAR: Senior (2018 graduate)
Track and field: 400-meter run, 1,600-meter relay
INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF TRACK & FIELD:
Playing video games, spending time with friends
Uncommitted; still mulling college options
FAVORITE TV SHOW:
Full Metal Jacket
Virgil and Michelle Fleener