Winning the individual state title has been a longtime goal for Carmel High School senior Kole Mathison.
However, what he really wanted was to be on a state championship team. He accomplished both goals Oct. 29 as he helped lead the Greyhounds to their first IHSAA boys cross country title since 2018.
“I’d been dreaming of it for four years, and to finally do it was a surreal experience,” he said. “I’m so proud of the guys and all the work they’ve put in to get the job done. It’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.”
Carmel won with 103 points, three less than Zionsville’s total of 106. It was the second-closest finish in the boys state meet history. Floyd Central won by two points over Portage in 1991.
“We had a really good team this year, and this was a historically strong year for boys cross country teams,” Greyhounds coach Colin Altevogt said. “We knew going into the meet that the team score could be very close. Our guys did a great job of running hard for each other. We had awesome support at the meet from so many people, and our scorers closed hard up the homestretch. We’re thrilled to come away with the state championship in a year like this.”
Mathison won in 15 minutes, 2.8 seconds, followed in second place by junior teammate Tony Provenzano.
Mathison said his mission was to go out and score one point for the boys.
“I wanted to start and never look back,” he said. “Take the race by the reins and do what I needed to do.”
Provenzano was a move-in from Hopkins, Minn., this school year. He moved from a small city outside Minneapolis to Carmel because his sister, Laci, runs cross country and track at IUPUI.
Provenzano edged Brebeuf Jesuit’s Cameron Todd in a photo finish as both were clocked at 15:11.2.
It was the third time that teammates have finished 1-2 in the boys state meet, but Altevogt said it’s the first time a team won with those finishers.
“(Provenzano) asked me at the beginning of the season where I thought he could finish at state, and I told him he could finish second,” Mathison said. “And he went out and did it. It’s been fun to watch him grow and develop throughout this season. He’s a special guy.”
Altevogt said although most of the team had been running together for several years, Provenzano fit in quickly.
“He’s got a lot in common with these guys,” Altevogt said. “They’re supportive of each other. They like to work hard. He was a perfect fit for our team.”
So is Mathison, who finished fourth in the state cross country meet in 2021 and third in 2020. In June, Mathison, who has committed to the University of Colorado, captured the 800 and 1,600 meters at the state track and field meet.
“Kole has done such a great job with his teammates,” Altevogt said. “He’s a motivating, leading, supporting and calming influence all at once. The success of the team in his senior year is a direct reflection of these characteristics.”
Mathison said it was a perfect ending to be named the Mental Attitude Award winner.
“I want to be a leader on and off the course, and to be recognized with that prestigious award was a blessing,” Mathison said.
The team standings are based on runners’ finishes among teams qualified to compete for the title.
For Carmel, senior Charlie Leedke placed 20th (28th overall), followed by junior Thomas Biltimier, 38th (56th) and sophomore Jake Capes, 42nd (61st). The first five finishers are counted. Senior Connor Mallon was the No. 6 runner for CHS.