By Amy Moshier
It had to seem a little odd: one day your whole track and field season gets postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, the next you’re beating runners from all different states in Desert Dream-Last Hurrah Track & Field Invitational in San Tan Valley, Ariz. And what about finding a way for the team members to somehow use the situation to their advantage, like a group of students from Center Grove High School track and field team did?
At the Last Hurrah meet in Arizona, 15-year-old Center Grove runner Ty Garrett broke the state freshman record when he finished first in 9:08.87 in the meet. He beat runners from multiple states and now ranks 10th among all high schoolers nationwide. The previous record holder was Futsum Zienasellassie, a North Central graduate with several records under his belt.
“He (Ty) is definitely multi-talented,” said Center Grove Track Coach Howard Harrell. “Technically, I am his coach. I am the coach for the cross country team, then I coach the distance runners in track,” said Harrell.
Garrett competes in various distance events when possible during normal COVID-free seasons. Not every event is available to most high school runners, however. “I really enjoy the 2000-meter steeple chase event,” said Garrett, who loves to snowboard when his family takes vacations to Colorado.
Although Harrell could not host practices officially, he would send in proposed workouts. “The guys there really did a good job of realizing this was a terrific opportunity, and they stepped up and competed with each other,” Harrell said. “The synergy of that group was really amazing. It was very competitive.”
Garrett echoed that, and said he liked the workouts and occasionally extended them a bit.
When asked what advice he would give up-and-coming track and field athletes, Garrett said athletes should feel free to explore other events to find the ones they excel at. “Don’t be afraid to try new events. And try not to think too much about it,” he said.