By Mark Ambrogi
Carmel High School senior Ben Veatch had a shot at the state record time in the 3,200 meters.
“He said, ‘Coach, I need to double for us to win the state title,’ and he made that decision he wanted to do it for the team,” Greyhounds track and field coach Ken Browner said. “He didn’t care about the individual accolades.”
So Veatch didn’t set the record mark, but he won both the 1,600 (4:08.38) and 3,200 (8:58.18) in the state meet to lead Carmel to its second consecutive title June 4 in Bloomington.
“My team is the ultimate motivating factor for me,” Veatch said. “When I’m running for them, I’m going to be hard to beat.”
Carmel was trailing Michigan City and Ben Davis 41-33 when the 3,200 meters, the second-to-last event came up. Veatch, the defending state 3,200 champion, was the only competitor from those three schools in the final two events.
“Ben said, ‘Don’t worry about it coach, I’ll take care of it.’ He did,” Browner said.
The 10 points gave Carmel a 43-41 team victory, its third boys state title and 130th overall Indiana High School Athletic Association crown in all sports. Junior Ryan Lipe won the pole vault to help Carmel’s cause as well.
Since 1995, only Columbus North’s Christian Wagner (2003 and 2004) has won the 1,600 and 3,200 in the state meet.
“I’m definitely a two-mile guy,” Veatch said. “The longer I go, the better I get so the mile was a bit scary with all the great guys in the state.”
Veatch said his confidence grew when he won the Miracle Mile in Indianapolis in April with many of the best milers in the state.
“I knew I could get the (state) win after that meet because I knew I had won a top competition that early in the season before some of my later speed training,” Veatch said.
Veatch, who will compete in cross country and track for Indiana University, will now train for the Brooks PR Invitational on June 18 in Seattle.
“I haven’t run a fresh two-mile (3,200) since the early parts of the season,” Veatch said. “I’m looking to run a fast time and maybe go after (former North Central High School runner) Futsum Zienasellassie’s all-time Indiana record of 8:47.75.”