A year of accomplishment

By Jordan Morey and Zach Spicer

It’s been a wonderful year in Jackson County sports.

From the success of the Seymour cross-country team, led by a crew of young running stars, to a local woman leading one of the state’s premier hoops programs, 2014 was a year to remember. So take a moment and reflect on the top stories on the calendar.

State-bound Seymour

With a slew of underclassmen on its roster, and some senior leadership, the Seymour girls cross-country team made school history this past fall as they sent their first girls team to the state meet.

The success of the Owls program is The Tribune’s top Jackson County sports story for 2014.

If you combined all the races in 2014, the Owls finished with a record of 87-19.

In sectional, at Brown County’s Eagle Park, the Owls finished in second place behind Columbus North.

The Owls would finish behind the Bull Dogs again in the regional.

At semistate, the Owls finished in sixth place with

129 points to punch their first ticket to the state meet in Terre Haute.

The Owls won six meets, including one of the most competitive races in Indiana at the Flashrock Invitational.

This season, the Owls had a record-setting 31 girls come out for the team.

Some of the strongest Owls runners were freshmen. Emma Brock, Oriana Morales and Abby Voss often finished in the top-four places for the Owls.

Senior Madison Hays and junior Megan Winter also mostly placed for the Owls on the season.

Hays, Mariah Lewis, Delaney Sunbury and Macey Warren will all graduate from Seymour.

With a middle school team that finished 47-2 and a number of young runners who competed in the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in December from the South Central Indiana Running Club, it appears the program is poised for more success in 2015.

Old faces, new places

Three Seymour natives were named coaches in NCAA Division I basketball programs this past year.

Teri Moren, a member of Seymour’s Class of 1987, was hired as the Indiana University women’s basketball head coach on Aug. 9.

Moren spent four years coaching at Indiana State and seven years at the University of Indianapolis, before joining the Hoosiers.

Thus far this season, the first-year coach has a record of 10-2 (0-1 Big Ten).

Following the University of Oregon men’s basketball team’s season, Brian Fish was offered a job with Montana State University.

After spending 25 years around the college game, Fish finally landed his first head coaching position.

From 1996 to 2004, Fish had coaching stints at Texas Christian University and University of San Diego. Before the 2004-05 season, he rejoined Altman’s staff at Creighton before they left for Oregon in 2010.

The Bobcats currently stand at 3-9 in their 2014-15 campaign.

Julie VonDielingen Shelton, who played with the 1987 Owls team that made it to the state finals with Moren, accepted a role as an assistant coach with Butler University’s women’s basketball team.

After graduating from Seymour in 1989, VonDielingen became a Bulldogs legend.

From 1989-93, she finished her career as Butler’s all-time leading scorer and as the second all-time leading scorer in the Horizon League. She’s the only player in Butler women’s basketball history to score more than 2,000 career points, finishing with an all-time record 2,018 points.

The Bulldogs are 4-8 this season.

Out at the ballpark

A $25,000 donation from American Legion Post 89 helped Seymour High School upgrade its baseball field.

The improvements included a rebuilt backstop with a 3-foot brick wall going from dugout to dugout, a screen that goes up

27 feet from the brick wall, a halo around home plate, a bullpen down the left-field line, dugout rails with netting and padding and a prime seating area behind home plate.

The ballpark was named American Legion Field and dedicated during the Owls’ season-opening doubleheader against Emmerich Manual. To top the day off, the Owls won 26-0 and 25-0 and didn’t allow a hit in either game.

As part of the upgrades, the school also wanted to replace the scoreboard and move it to left field. But some neighbors spoke against the request, saying they didn’t want a “billboard” in their backyards and that the new scoreboard would decrease their property values.

School officials made some changes to their plans for the scoreboard, and the Board of Zoning Appeals gave its stamp of approval in November.

All-star coaches

Brownstown Central’s Dave Benter received one of the highest honors in boys basketball coaching in June — heading the Indiana All-Stars.

During his time, Benter’s All-Stars defeated the Kentucky All-Stars at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 111-99. Over his week of coaching, the All-Stars went 4-0.

Jeremy Richey was the third Seymour High School baseball coach to participate in the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North-South All-Star Series.

After wrapping up his third year at the helm, Richey was one of three assistant coaches of the South team.

State competition

County athletes qualified for the state finals in a variety of sports.

In boys diving, Seymour’s Chris Robinson placed 20th at state after winning Hoosier Hills Conference, sectional and regional titles — setting meet and pool records with his 439.95 at sectional.

In girls swimming, Seymour’s Alex Hawkins broke her own school record in winning the 100-yard backstroke at sectional before placing 29th at state.

Also in the winter, Crothersville’s Eryn West won the singles tournament title at regional to advance to the state bowling meet, and Alyssa Goen of the Seymour gymnastics team capped off her season by tying for 23rd in the floor exercise at state.

In the spring, two girls and three boys represented the county in the track and field state meets.

Megan Kimbley tied for 27th place in the high jump, and Seymour teammate Zoey Johnson qualified in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs but only ran the 1,600 and placed 23rd.

In the boys meet, Seymour’s Ben Coomer earned a medal after finishing eighth in the pole vault and setting a school record of

14 feet, 9 inches; Seymour’s Mitch McCoy placed 14th in the

800-meter run; and Brownstown Central’s Ryan Franklin wound up 26th in the 1,600-meter run.

In non-IHSAA wrestling, Matthew Ruddick had one final chance to win Indiana State Wrestling Association state tournament titles.

Ruddick won the folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman for the third straight year. That gave him the rare feat of a triple crown — the first wrestler to do so in SHS history.

Sectional champions

Trinity Lutheran led county schools with four team sectional titles.

Trinity captured its second straight titles in soccer and girls basketball, along with winning in volleyball and boys basketball.

Seymour earned sectional trophies in three girls sports: bowling, tennis and track

and field.

Brownstown Central’s lone sectional title was in boys

track and field — the first in

school history.

Record-breaking coaches

Two coaches in Jackson County reached career milestones during the 2014 season.

No one in Seymour’s history has had more success in the pool than Dave Boggs.

The hall-of-fame swimming and diving coach earned his 500th win at the annual S Invitational in December.

The Owls swept the competition, and Boggs, in his 31st year of coaching, currently stands at 515 career wins.

In the final regular-season game of his 11th season, Trinity Lutheran baseball coach Bob Tabeling earned his 100th win.

That night, the Cougars defeated Southwestern (Shelby) 9-0, and Tabeling was presented a banner noting his accomplishment.

Back on the diamond

For the first time in more than 20 years, Medora High School had a baseball team.

The roster consisted of 14 boys and one girl, and the Hornets played four regular-season games before losing in the first round of the sectional.

The team’s volunteer coaches were then-Superintendent Tom Judd and his son-in-law, Chad Armuth.

National stage

Southern Indiana is known for its dirt racing — and the notoriety grew in 2014.

This year, Devin Gilpin won his third-straight United Midwest Promotion modified division championship.

Tyler Cain took his first superstock championship in the same series.

The drivers finished with the highest point totals in their divisions after completing a minimum of 20 races.

Fresh faces

There were some new head coaches at the high school level.

At Trinity Lutheran, taking the helm were Mark Voss (tennis), Sara Martin (girls cross-country), Chris Crenshaw (track and field, boys cross-country) and Brandan Tabeling (coed soccer).

At Medora, Brad McCammon was named athletics director and coached cross-country, while Michael Leitzman (boys basketball) and Rudie Crane (track and field) were hired.

In the fall, Seymour had Lakin Davis (girls golf) and Kendra Knieriem (volleyball) as new coaches, and Crothersville’s only new coach was Hope McMannamy (volleyball).

Brownstown Central had new coaches in Sam Terrell (boys track and field) and Derrick Koch (boys cross-country).

Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.