One Big Leap / Easts Bergman signs to continue track and field career with Hoosiers

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Columbus East’s Crase Bergman competes in the long jump at the section running meeting at Columbus North High School in Columbus, Indiana on Thursday, May 20, 2021. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Athletes write their goals, hopes, and dreams on the windows of the weight room at Columbus East High School.

Crase Bergman wrote that he wanted to set the school record in the long jump and become a Division I athlete. He achieved the former during his senior track season this spring and the latter last week by competing in athletics at Indiana University.

“What makes Crase special is that we mark our goals and everything on the windows, and he has achieved everything he ever wrote and said he will do,” said Scott Pherson, former East strength coach and boys’ athletics coach . “He did it. There are very few people in this world who can say that about themselves. I am very proud of everything he has achieved.”

Bergman jumped into the Olympic record books on April 27 when he walked 23 feet, 8 1/2 inches in the long jump in a dual meet in Seymour. This brand was the best in the state throughout the season, including the state meeting.

Unfortunately for Bergman, he had no chance to fight for a state title in the long jump. He failed in all three attempts in the Columbus North Sectional.

“(Winning state) was always a target,” said Bergman. “I wanted to hold on to it and win. That is always your goal. You want to win everything. But my cards didn’t play right. It was one of my worst days and one of my best. I jumped well and just kind of touched the board. It’ll only make me work harder. “

Bergman was not completely expelled from the state meeting, however. He ran in East’s state qualifying 4 × 100 and 4 × 400 meter relays.

“It was amazing, the atmosphere and only four good friends next to me,” said Bergman. “It was a dream that came true. It was so nice to actually experience her.”

This wasn’t the first time Bergman had competed at the state level. He played as a freshman on a small special team in football when the Olympians defeated Kokomo for the state title of class 5A at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“The chills and the creeps and the crowd, it’s all part of it,” Bergman said. “It’s a great experience and I wouldn’t change any of it for anything now.”

Bergman became a major football player for East in his last three years in high school. During his career he played several positions on both offense and defense.

Bergman has also been a regular on the Olympic basketball team for the past two winters.

“Crase was a three-sport athlete and that’s great,” said East Athletics Director Pete Huse. “He is on a DI scholarship to a historical school in Indiana and is a versatile athlete. Obviously the grades are there, the passion is there. It just wasn’t like he was on the team on those three programs either. He was a valuable member of three teams, was allowed to attend state championships, conference championships, individual state qualifications and the like. So if you just work hard, give your all and do responsible things in school to get here, that can happen. “

Pherson, who will serve as director of the fitness and performance center at Concord High School in northern Indiana, was happy to work with Bergman both in the weight room and on the track.

“It’s just so fun to see him grow up on this little newbie who just dominated,” Pherson said. “You could tell that he could play anything and that he played all three sports every four years, that’s another thing that is very, very difficult to do these days and I love that he did it.”

Bergman had several offers for football or athletics. He said the IU, which was his only Division I offer, began to take interest after he posted the 23-8 1/2 jump.

“They saw that number and started getting interested, and I had a few other schools interested in it,” Bergman said. “Since I entered the IU campus, it just felt like home and had what I wanted to study with the Kelley School of Business.”

Bergman plans to study Marketing and Management at IU and hopes to break new ground in athletics during his time at Bloomington.

“I want to go there and be the best,” Bergman said. “I want to reach my full potential and keep doing what I do.”



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