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Martin Barco finishes outdoor season unbeaten with two IHSAA boys track state titles

BLOOMINGTON – Martin Barco is inevitably not going to be Indiana’s first high school sub-4-minute miler. There is no race scheduled to try. The thing is, he doesn’t need it on a resume to secure his legacy.

He is the Al Davis of Hoosier track and field: Just win, baby.

The Martinsville senior was invulnerable, kicking to reach the finish line first in the 1,600 and 800 meters on a rainy Saturday at the boys state meet.

“Tactical races, that’s kind of like my mojo,” Barco said. “I have a better chance of winning if they just make it tactical rather than go out super fast. So I was kind of hoping that would happen.”

'They almost ran a flawless meet.' Fishers holds off HSE for boys state title

Bloomington North’s Caleb Winders chases Martinsville's Martin Barco during the 800m race during the IHSAA Boys State Track & Field Finals at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington on Saturday, June 1, 2024.
Bloomington North’s Caleb Winders chases Martinsville's Martin Barco during the 800m race during the IHSAA Boys State Track & Field Finals at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Barco, a University of Washington recruit, became the first to win a middle-distance double since Center Grove’s Austin Mudd in 2011. He is the first to repeat in the 1,600 since Fishers’ Drew Shields in 2009.

Barco’s three middle-distance titles are one less than the state record — a record that has lasted since the 1920s.

“A win’s all that matters to me,” he said.

He took the 1,600 in 4:06.34 and 800 in a personal best of 1:50.97. He suggested he could, in the right race, run sub-4:00 in the mile and sub-1:48 in the 800. There was little reason to dispute him.

“I think I’m in the best shape of my life,” he said.

He is aiming at the under-20 nationals, set for June 12-13 at Eugene, Ore., in a bid to qualify for August’s U20 World Championships at Lima, Peru.

He is 10-0 outdoors this year, including a May 3 mile at New York in which he clocked 4:02.94. Barco dedicated his victories to Luke Moscrip, who is stepping down as Martinsville coach.

Martinsville’s Martin Barco celebrates a win in the 800m race during the IHSAA Boys State Track & Field Finals at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington on Saturday, June 1, 2024.
Martinsville’s Martin Barco celebrates a win in the 800m race during the IHSAA Boys State Track & Field Finals at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

In the 1,600, cross-country state champion Cameron Todd of Brebeuf Jesuit ran the opening 800 in 2:02.74. That was not fast enough to drop Barco, who ran the final 400 in 59.47. Todd finished second in 4:08.53.

Todd, also second in the 3,200, said he would have regretted not pushing the pace.

“The whole time, I was trying to soak it all in. No pun intended with the weather,”  said Todd, a Notre Dame recruit. “It’s a special night, a special meet. I was just having a good time out there.”

The 800 field was among the best assembled in 120 years of this state meet.

Bloomington North’s Caleb Winders was second in 1:51.45, a sophomore state record. Franklin Central senior Joey Ashman was third in 1:52.52. Hamilton Southeastern’s Mason Schmitz, who led through a 54.44 first lap, was fourth in 1:52.98 — just off Winders’ freshman state record of 1:52.68.

“I feel like lately I’ve been running other people’s races,” Schmitz said. “This meet, I wanted to just be like, ‘OK, Mason, you need to be you.’  I always take it out. That’s the type of 800 runner I am.”

For the summer, the 15-year-old set an ambitious goal of breaking the freshman national record of 1:49.12 set a week ago by Cooper Lutkenhaus of Justin, Texas.

Tony Provenzano pulls shocker in 3,200

Tony Provenzano is anything but anonymous in the local running community. As a junior, he was second in the state in cross-country and the 3,200 meters, both behind Carmel teammate Kole Mathison.

But in two April races, Provenzano was 12th in a mile and third in a 3,200, finishing 10 seconds behind Barco and Todd.

The three fastest 3,200 runners in Indiana history are Floyd Central’s Will Conway, Mathison and Todd. Conway and Todd have not won a state title in the 3,200 . . . and now Provenzano has.

The Carmel senior closed in 59.44 for a time of 8:51.40, just off the state meet record of 8:51.15 set by North Central’s Futsum Zienasellassie in 2012.

“Oh, it feels amazing,” Provenzano said. “All that hard work pays off.”

Conway led from the first lap to the eighth, when he was overtaken by Provenzano and ultimately by Todd. Times were 8:56.40 for Todd and 8:56.71 for Conway, who crumpled to the track afterward and lay there for several minutes.

Carmel’s Kyle Grove was fourth in 9:00.93.

Carmel has had the 3,200 champion in five of the past nine state meets, including Ben Veatch (2015-16) and Mathison (2022-23).

Etc.

Greenfield-Central’s Elliot Ryba competes in the high jump during the IHSAA Boys State Track & Field Finals at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington on Saturday, June 1, 2024.
Greenfield-Central’s Elliot Ryba competes in the high jump during the IHSAA Boys State Track & Field Finals at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Going indoors was familiar to two state champions: Greenfield-Central high jumper Elliot Ryba (6-10) and Hamilton Heights pole vaulter Peyton Quinn (16-3). Because of the rain, jumps were moved inside Gladstein Fieldhouse. Ryba, a Purdue recruit, and Quinn both won indoor state titles. . . . In the slippery conditions, defending champion Luke Himes of Heritage Christian was seventh in the shot put at 56-10.75, or 12 feet off his best. . . . Franklin Central senior Ivan Weaver was second in the 400 in 48.45, just .07 from first, despite not racing in the fast section. . . . Greenwood junior William Riley was fourth in the 100 in 10.88 and second in the 200 in 22.00. . . . Brownsburg, after finishing second, second and first in the past three state meets, was 17th with 12 points. The Bulldogs lost Dominic Calhoun, last year’s 200 state champion, to a hamstring injury.

Contact IndyStar correspondent David Woods at dwoods1411@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IHSAA boys track state meet notebook: Martin Barco wins distance double