Carmel High School boys track team wins third consecutive state title

CIC COM 0613 Track Title
The Carmel boys track team won its third consecutive state title June 2 in Bloomington. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

Carmel High School boys track and field coach Ken Browner marvels at Ryan Lipe’s versatility.

“He’s an amazing athlete,” Browner said. “He’s one of the top five kids I’ve ever coached in my life. He could run a 10.61 (in the 100 meters), switch shoes, get on the runway and vault 17-3 to win. It was an amazing swing for the emotion of the team. From that point, we just caught fire.”

Lipe, who will compete for the University of Alabama next season, captured the pole vault state title for the second consecutive year;  was second in the 100 meters; and was on the 400 and 1,600 relay teams that placed sixth as the Greyhounds won the state title June 2 with 68 points, 22 more than second-place Avon.

Lipe said he got a boost from teammates and fans after he surprised himself by finishing second in the 100. When he got back to the pole vault, he knew he need to clear 17-3 to win.

“When I did, I felt like I was on top of the world,” he said. His twin brother, Mitch, finished fourth in the pole vault.

It was the third consecutive state title for Carmel, but it was the most dominating win. The Greyhounds won by two points in 2016 and by 12.25 in 2015.

“It was very well-balanced,” Browner said. “The kids were not going to be denied. We kind of got after it early by winning the (3,200 relay). We basically didn’t finish any worse than  sixth place in all the events we scored. We were able to score in multiple events. You have to win a couple to give yourself a shot.”

The Carmel team of Jon Balda, Trey Harris, Eli Konow and Kenji Tomozawa won the 3,200 relay, the meet’s first running event.

Carmel’s Jalen Walker, who will play football at Miami University in Ohio, placed second in the 300 hurdles. Junior teammate Ben Miller finished third in the 3,200 run.

Prior to its three-peat, Carmel had won only one boys state track title.

“My goal in building this program is to always make sure we were in the hunt,” Browner said.  “I feel confident this program is to the point we can challenge every year. We can put a pretty competitive team on the field and with all our balance be in most of the meets.”