Trinity senior signs to UIndy cross-country, track programs

During his junior year at Trinity Lutheran High School, A.J. Goecker began to seriously think about running cross-country and track and field at the next level.

He made that idea a reality Monday when he signed to run both sports at University of Indianapolis beginning this fall.

“I hadn’t really thought about college until my junior year,” Goecker said. “Some of my friends recommended it for physical therapy. Then I talked to some other friends I have up there on campus. Then I started checking it out. I visited, loved the team, the coach, the campus.”

At UIndy, Goecker looks forward to the tough competition.

“I’m looking forward to having quite a few teammates that are ahead of me so I can be pushed by them to get better and improve,” he said. “Here at Trinity, it was pretty much me out front, so I’m really looking forward to being pushed.”

He said his favorite event in track is the mile, but the 3,200 was his best race.

His final high school race was the 3,200 in the Bloomington North Regional on Thursday night, where he lowered his school record to 9:40.24.

“The thing I really like abut track is it’s a lot more a spectator sport,” Goecker said. “You have your teammates all around you cheering you on and the fans cheering you on to the entire time. God has blessed me with an incredible group of coaches both in cross-country and track as well as teammates that have been phenomenal in helping me get to where I am today.”

Goecker’s track and cross-country coaches at Trinity, Chris Crenshaw, Caleb Tormoehlen and Jennifer Hildreth, all said it was enjoyable to coach him, and they look for more success from him at UIndy.

“He’s a great athlete, hard worker,” said Crenshaw, who coached him in track and cross-country each for three years. “He is very dedicated, committed. As a coach, it’s what you look for. He’s the one that’s going to go out there and do it whatever you ask. He knows what he needs to do, and he is willing to do it.

“He’s a good, all-around kid, and I’m proud of his accomplishments here and what lies ahead for him. He still has potential and could very well develop there and develop into a better runner. I’m anxious to see that.”

Goecker holds the school record in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and was on the 4×800 relay team that holds the school mark.

Tormoehlen, who recently completed his third year as the boys track and field head coach, agreed with Crenshaw.

“He’s pretty much what a coach would want a kid to be,” Tormoehlen said. “He puts in the time, doesn’t complain. He’s a very coachable, hardworking kid. He has the desire and will to be better every time he runs.”

Tormoehlen said Goecker worked hard at the beginning of this track season.

“We got him in a little bit better shape earlier this year. He put in extra miles during basketball season. He’ll go up there and be a great addition to their team,” Tormoehlen said. “He’ll work at it, and he’ll just grind until he gets to where he wants to be.”

Goecker was a three-time semistate qualifier in cross-country and holds the school record at 16:29.

Hildreth, who coached Goecker in cross-country last fall, said she watched him run when he was a student at Immanuel Lutheran School and also with the South Central Indiana Running Club.

“He’s just going to do so well,” Hildreth said. “To be able to focus on running alone through cross-country and track, he’s ready to be at that level, so I’m excited to see what the coaches have for him at the next level. You know that he’s going to step right up and do everything that they ask him to do, and it’s going to be exciting to watch him. He’s got so much more in him and so much more that he’s going to be able to accomplish.”

UIndy is an NCAA Division II school that competes in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Trent Hohenstreiter, a graduate of Seymour High School, is a member of the UIndy men’s cross-country team and Seth Ragon, also an SHS graduate, is a member of the the Greyhounds’ men’s track and field team.