Former Center Grove runner loving life out west

Much has changed in Tori Schoettmer’s universe now that she no longer attempts to satisfy the demands of a stopwatch.

But if you think the former Center Grove cross country and track standout has slowed down, think again.

Living in Marina del Rey, California, with her husband of just over a year, UCLA assistant men’s basketball coach T.J. Wolf, and their four-month-old daughter Collins, the former Trojan distance runner is experiencing her own version of paradise.

“I’ve been a little homesick, especially having a daughter now,” said the 29-year-old Schoettmer, who married former Martinsville basketball player Wolf on June 2, 2023 and is employed by Kroger as a digital experience coordinator. “It’s a totally new experience. You have to be totally selfless. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

The Wolfs reside approximately two miles from the sands leading to the Pacific Ocean.

“I really love it out here,” Tori said. “I feel very lucky in the sense that life seems to get better and better. I’ve been lucky.”

Luck had nothing to do with the success she experienced as a four-year letter winner in both cross country and track for the Trojans, coached then and now by Wes Dodson.

Schoettmer medaled a total of five times at the girls state track and field finals, with second-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the 1,600-meter run and a pair of eighth-place efforts in the 3,200.

Her respective best 1,600 and 3,200 times of 4 minutes, 55.31 seconds and 10:50.18 remain school standards.

Schoettmer made the awards stage three times at the cross country state meet with 17th-, 18th- and 19th-place finishes. The only thing that could stop her, it seemed, was a bit of misfortune.

“Whenever Tori wasn’t hurt, she was All-State,” Dodson said. “The thing I remember the most is she might’ve been the nicest, sweetest girl you could talk to, but if a race was close, there was no way you were going to beat her.

“She was a bulldog. And then would be the first person to smile and say ‘good job’ to the other runners and mean it.”

Schoettmer competed in both sports at the University of Louisville while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in marketing.

As a freshman, she took part in four cross country events, running a season-best 5K time of 18:05.08 at the Bluegrass Invitational to place 27th. Schoettmer ran the indoor mile during track, one of the highlights being a fifth-place finish in 5:17.01 at the Gene Edmunds Cup at Purdue University.

In time, however, injuries took their toll.

“I really only ran two years and redshirted my final two years, so not much of a college running career,” said Schoettmer, who graduated from U of L in 2017. “I had a femur stress fracture that didn’t quite heal.

“It definitely was disappointing, but it kind of gave me time to figure out what I wanted to do afterward.”

Despite now being thousands of miles from the majority of her family and friends, Schoettmer remains close to some of her former Center Grove teammates, particularly Anna Burton, Delainey Burnett and Jordan Timmons. In fact, the four planned to get together this month for some runs down memory lane in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Burton resides after attending grad school at the University of Michigan.

“It’s fun to know someone from so young, and then to know them as adults,” Schoettmer said. “I look back on everything with such fond memories. The friendships that came out of it.”

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Mike Beas
Mike Beas is the Daily Journal's veteran sports reporter. He has been to more than 200 Indiana high schools, including 1990s visits to Zionsville to profile current Boston Celtics GM Brad Stevens, Gary Roosevelt to play eventual Purdue All-American Glenn Robinson in HORSE (didn’t end well) and Seeger to visit the old gym in which Stephanie White, later the coach of the Indiana Fever, honed her skills in pickup games involving her dad and his friends. He can be reached at [email protected].