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Andrean's Robby Ballentine wins third state title in as many sports: 'This one's the sweetest so far'
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Andrean's Robby Ballentine wins third state title in as many sports: 'This one's the sweetest so far'

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Andrean sings its school song with the student sectional following its 21-9 win over Evansville Mater Dei for the Class 2A state championship.

INDIANAPOLIS — Andrean senior Robby Ballentine has three state championships across three different sports and can thank a 50-yard touchdown pass by his brother Scott in a junior varsity game last season for it.

Seriously.

Robby played on the 59ers’ only boys basketball state title team as a freshman in 2019 and later that year helped the baseball team to a state title of its own. He stayed off the football field until seeing the success younger brother Scott, now a sophomore, had on the junior varsity team.

“He saw me throw that ball and everyone went crazy,” Scott remembers. “I think he fell in love with the atmosphere.”

Robby joined the Andrean football team last fall for five games and stuck with them for a senior season lined up at wide receiver catching balls from his little brother who moved up to varsity. The move paid off with Robby winning state title number three in Andrean’s 21-9 win against Evansville Mater Dei on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

He also won the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award.

“This is my favorite one,” Robby said of the title. “To win with this group of guys and my brother is an incredible feeling.”

The Ballentine family is littered with accomplished athletes.

Grandfather Bob Cantrell played for EC Washington’s first boys basketball state title in 1960 and later helped Michigan to the Final Four in 1964. Uncle John Cantrell played basketball at Spalding and aunt Jennifer suited up for Eastern Michigan.

Older sister Maggie helped Crown Point softball to a 2017 state title and currently plays collegiately for Denison.

Andrean coach Chris Skinner describes Robby as a “gifted athlete,” evident in his ability to perform across multiple sports.

Having his brother at quarterback helps, too.

“He’s one of those quiet leaders, not braggadocious at all,” Skinner said. “It’s all in his work ethic. He understands what it takes, especially in football. He just gets it done.”

Robby caught three passes for 44 yards in Andrean’s state win against Mater Dei to reach 50 catches and 907 yards for the season. More importantly, junior running back and Notre Dame recruit Drayk Bowen said, Robby set an example.

“He knows what he’s supposed to do on everything,” Bowen said. “If you don’t know, ask him. He’ll tell you. That dude is probably one of the best leaders on this team, works harder than anyone on the team.”

Senior defensive end Dh’Mari Wright agreed.

“I love that man,” he said. “Everywhere he goes, he leads.”

Robby said he was most proud of the way his teammates battled together throughout the season after starting 1-2 with losses to Class 6A semistate finalist Merrillville and Michigan powerhouse Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

A loss to Lowell in the regular-season finale could have derailed a less-prepared team, Robby said, but the 59ers rebounded in dominant fashion to win 44-6 against Wheeler to start a playoff run that saw Andrean outscore opponents 194-39.

The 59ers trialed the Wildcats on two occasions in the football finals but both times came back. That sort of effort is expected at Andrean, Robby said. It’s why he joined the team.

And it’s why he’s got three titles of his own with tries on the basketball court and baseball diamond still left to go. He’ll be chasing state medal No. 4 starting Monday.

“I’m going to enjoy this,” Robby said. “This one’s the sweetest so far.”

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