How good is the Mid-State Conference in Indiana?

When you talk about the best sports conferences in Indiana, many come to mind.

Those coming to the fore are the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference in Indianapolis and the Hoosier Crossroads Conference, maybe the Summit Athletic Conference in Fort Wayne or Southern Indiana in Evansville, maybe even the Indiana Conference.

All have valid and justifiable claims to be at the top. Schools like Carmel, Center Grove, Brownsburg, Fishers, Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger and Snider, Evansville Mater Dei, Columbus East, Bloomington North and South all have powerful programs with deep histories.

In any case, a conference is often overlooked.

The Mid-State Conference.

Martinsville senior Chase Mabry (31) makes a catch over Decatur Central defenseman Javon Tracy for a touchdown during Friday's game at the mid-state conference Decatur Central.

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Perhaps Mid-State’s schools don’t have the flash or flare of other schools, or perhaps it’s forgotten that they’re mostly tucked away in the southwest corner of Indianapolis. But if there’s one thing Mid-State brings forth, it’s success.

Let’s take last weekend for example. Two mid-state schools, Mooresville and Franklin, competed to decide who would compete in the state 4A girls’ basketball championship. No matter who advanced, the Mid-State won, and not many conferences can say that.

Look closer

The middle state may not be powerful in every sport. After all, every conference has its weaknesses. But each team within Mid-State has their own success, and when they are all put together, they have a long list of State Finals appearances.

Martinsville's Evan Hamblin wrestles 145-pound Brayden Johnson of White Country during Saturday's IHSAA section game in Mooresville.

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Martinsville is historically the most decorated team at the conference with 20 state titles across all programs. The girls’ golf team holds 11 of those, with the closest being boys’ basketball (3), volleyball (2), softball (2), and girls’ basketball (2).

The Artesians and fellow Morgan County School Mooresville lay claim to girls’ basketball, with the Pioneers leading Mid-State with 10 regional titles and 21 section titles, but Martinsville holds the two state titles in the sport.

All seem to have decorated wrestling programs. Perry Meridian owns three team state titles. Combined, all schools make a total of 50 individual state champions, with Decatur Central and Perry Meridian having 15 each.

Mooresville forward Chloe Flinn (21) prepares to attack while Plainfield's Harper Ring (22) prepares to defend during their section game October 5, 2021.

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Franklin is considered the powerhouse in the pool, consistently breeding top-flight swimmers to formulate state-bound individuals and teams. Decatur Central, Mooresville Martinsville and Whiteland take the pie in soccer.

Decatur Central has had a large part in its success in football, having won or shared the conference in every season since 2014 (only 21 losses in that span) and became the youngest player to compete in a state final (2018). Had Cathedral not joined Class 5A, there could be more.

Martinsville has had success in the past, but much of it wasn’t in the mid-state conference.

Mooresville junior Nicholas Patterson makes a move under the basket in Friday's Mid-State Conference home game against Plainfield.

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Martinsville and Franklin each have three titles in boys’ basketball, but Plainfield have their biggest title yet with a 3A championship win in 1999 and went 24-3 en route to the regional championship game last season. Perry Meridian has built a strong football program (12 section titles between boys and girls since 2006).

Plainfield and Decatur Central have each achieved a state title in softball in the past 10 years. Expand that to 20 and Martinsville adds two more. The Hawks also added a 4A crown in baseball in 2008.

The list goes on

Listing the history and success is really only half of it. This list could go on for quite a while. Producing top-flight athletes (all schools have featured on every state roster this season) and teams is the other half, and all schools seem to be doing it at a similar rate to the other major Indiana conferences.

Sure, the mid-state isn’t on par with the MIC, or at least what’s left of it after Carmel and Center Grove exited. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be in the same conversation.

Martinsville Sr. Mackenzie Martin is on the receiving end of one of many digs the assist of Senior Grace Reynolds (9) received during Tuesday's IHSAA Class 4A Sectional against Columbus North.

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Mid-State teams have outperformed many within the MIC and HCC, especially this season. The Mooresville girls’ basketball team defeated Brownsburg, North Central and Ben Davis on their way to the semistate, eventually losing to another Mid-State Conference school.

Decatur Central Boys Basketball defeated Ben Davis and Pike. Martinsville topped Carmel, Center Grove, Westfield and Zionsville in volleyball. Perry Meridian and Plainfield have done similar things in football.

At the end of the day, the results are in. The success is there. It’s time to start acknowledging it.

The Mid-State is one of Indiana’s premier high school athletic conferences.

Contact reporter Devin Voss at dvoss@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @DevinVoss23.

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