Trinity senior has built impressive athletics résumé


To say sports has been a big part of A.J. Goecker’s career at Trinity Lutheran High School is putting it mildly.

Goecker has been playing basketball since second grade and soccer in the Seymour recreational leagues beginning at age 4. He started running cross-country in sixth grade and track in eighth grade.

“I wouldn’t be able to just drop any of them. I love all of them,” he said of when he entered high school.

He has played soccer, basketball and ran cross-county and track for all four years at Trinity and holds school records in track and cross-country. Goecker was all-county for each sport and also was chosen most valuable in all four.

He has served in a captain’s role in soccer and basketball.

Goecker kept extremely busy during the fall.

“Both (soccer and cross-country) would practice at the same time,” Goecker said. “If we were doing a shorter speed work, I would do part of running and show up late to soccer. If I was going to do a long run, I would do all of soccer practice, then do my long run after it. I would find a road and run there, and then run back with it and run around the neighborhoods that are near (TLHS).”

He played center midfielder in soccer.

“As a center-mid, you’re supposed to play half offense, half defense,” Goecker said. “A big part of it is facilitating the ball to your teammates, to your strikers up top and get them in a good position. Communication is a huge part of it because you can’t be all clustered up, and there’s got to be some communication when you send a long ball to make sure they’re ready for it.”

He scored 12 goals last fall and led the Cougars in assists.

“My freshman year, we made it to the sectional finals,” Goecker said. “We beat two teams we did not think we could be able to beat. We almost beat Hauser in the finals that year. Beating Christian Academy this season was another big win for us.”

His career-best time in cross-country was 16:29 at the Brown County Regional.

“That was the best I felt running all year,” Goecker said. “At the beginning of the year, I would start off and try to be somewhere near the top. I would have a really good first mile. Then I would kind of leave it all out there as I got to Mile 2, and then definitely Mile 3.

“Toward the end of the year, what worked better for me was pacing myself, staying back toward the end and getting faster as each mile progressed, and that’s what I did during sectional, regional and semistate.”

He enjoyed running at Brown County.

“I think Brown County was probably my favorite course,” Goecker said. “It’s a really fast course when everything is dry, but unfortunately, there was a lot of rain for the Eagle Classic, so it was muddy.”

Goecker was The Tribune’s 2018 Jackson County Runner of the Year.

In basketball, he filled the role as sixth man his sophomore year and was a starter the past two seasons.

“Speed and mobility is kind of my thing, so I would play up top, and they would send me down to the bottom and I would make cuts,” Goecker said. “As a runner, there is not a lot of muscle or mass on me, so posting up was not really in my game. We liked facing zone because it allowed me to cut to the baseline a lot and use my quickness. Trent (Shoemaker) and Tyler (Goecker) did a really good job of finding us when we hit those gaps.”

He topped the Cougars in scoring at 15 points per game with high games of 29 against Medora and 27 against Charlestown. His career-high was 34 against Medora and Austin his junior year.

“I preferred dribbling to my right and shooting, and I liked shooting a 3s on the baseline,” Goecker said.

He said he liked playing on the Cougars’ court.

“Our school showed a lot of support,” he said. “We had a lot of people in the student section. For how small our school is, they showed a lot of spirit and energy.”

This spring, Goecker hopes to advance to the state meet in track.

“It’s pretty open in the 800 and a little bit harder in the mile,” Goecker said. “The two-mile is probably my best event, but there are four runners in the top 10 in the state in cross-country in the regional, so getting to state is going to be really tough. I might focus on the two-mile to get my times down so it looks good for college.”

His best 800 was a 2:03 he ran at sectional last year, and his best time in the 3,200 is 9:55.

“My goal is to break two minutes. A 1:58 would get me to state,” Goecker said.

Goecker said he has a lot of good memories from his career.

“I’ve been blessed with the teammates I’ve had,” Goecker said. “My freshman year, they gave me a really warm welcome, and that helped me get into it. As I got older, I made friends with a lot of the underclassmen. In cross-country, I made friends with people from other schools when I didn’t have teammates, and that was a huge part.”

He said working hard in practice is a must.

“Trusting your teammates, especially in soccer and basketball, you can’t make it an individual game,” Goecker said. “You have to rely on your teammates to kind of come together to get the job done. Running, when I was by myself, I did it for the enjoyment. I had to keep focusing on that because when you were by yourself, it would get boring every once in a while.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Goecker file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: A.J. Goecker

High school: Trinity Lutheran

Parents: Max and Becky Goecker

Siblings: Emma and Kayla

Sports: Basketball, four years; soccer, four years; cross-country, four years; track and field, four years

Athletic highlights: In track and field, school records 1,600 (4:39), 800 (2:03), 3,200 (9:55) and 4×800 relay (9:02.2), sectional champion 3,200 ’16, ’17, regional qualifier 800 ’17, most valuable ’16-’18, all-county ’16-’18; in basketball, leading scorer and rebounder ’18, ’19, all-county ’18, sectional champions ’17; in cross-country, school record (16:59), four-time Trinity most valuable runner, two-time Cougar Award, most improved runner ’17, regional qualifier ’15, semistate qualifier ’16, ’17, ’18, Jackson County runner of the year, all-area runner, all-county team; in soccer, Cougar Award ’18, all-county ’17, ’18

Organizations: National Honor Society, Art Club, Culture Club, junior counselor at Camp Lakeview, Immanuel Lutheran youth group, student ambassador, events team, South Central Indiana Running Club

Plans after high school: Attend University of Indianapolis

Favorite food: Quesadillas

Favorite TV show: “Parks and Rec”

Favorite musician: Post Malone

Favorite movie: “Benchwarmers”

Favorite team: Minnesota Vikings


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