Another year is in the books for Jackson County sports.
From the approval of a new soccer stadium to a slew of county athletes competing at the state level, 2015 was a year to remember.
As the calendar year changes, we look back at some of the top stories of the year.
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1. Seymour adds infrastructure
Changes are coming to Seymour High School’s athletics scene.This past year, it was announced that the Seymour boys and girls soccer teams will have a new home come 2016.
When completed, the new soccer facilities will include a full-size artificial turf field for boys and girls soccer games along with a full-size practice field that also will be used by the high school marching band and physical education classes.
The complex, for which construction has started, will be in the large area between the varsity baseball diamond and the softball diamond just west of the school. There will be a new parking area with 93 spaces available and a large grassy, fenced-in detention area to help with drainage.
For seating, the new specs include a prefabricated smaller bleacher and press box unit that will seat 320 people. The school also owns two sets of portable bleachers that can be used.
The project is being funded through a $2 million general obligation bond.
On the other side of the school, Bulleit Stadium will undergo renovation.
In November, it was announced that a $1 million project will install an artificial turf football field.
The project will get underway this year. To finance the work, the district will sell bonds in the spring with repayments to begin in 2017.
2. Trinity adds girls soccer
A new group of athletes hit the pitch this past year.Trinity Lutheran launched its inaugural girls soccer season in 2015. Previously, the school offered a coed team in the fall.
In their first season, the Cougars went 8-8 under first-year coach Jeff Nolting.
Once the Cougars hit tournament play, they defeated South Ripley in the Lawrenceburg Sectional to claim their first postseason victory.
The Cougars were led by one of the top scorers in the state in sophomore Maddie Roark. She finished with 36 goals on the season, second-best in Class A and third-most in the state.
The school will maintain a team in the coming years.
3. Cougars drop football program
In June, Trinity Lutheran High School officials decided not to offer football in the fall.Some players had either moved to another school or decided not to play in the upcoming season, so that left about 15 players.
Trinity will be without a program for at least two years.
It was announced in March that lights were going to be installed at Trinity’s field for the fall season. For the past few years, the school has rented temporary mobile lights for home games.
Four poles, which include 56 lights, have yet to be placed.
Students who wanted to continue playing football played on the Indianapolis Crimson Knights — a home-school team on the city’s southside.
4. State competition
County athletes qualified for the state finals in a variety of sports in 2015.In swimming and diving, Seymour’s Jon Montgomery won the Floyd Central sectional in the 50 freestyle and the girls 200 freestyle relay team of Allison Hayes, Sarah Montgomery, Katie Turner and Kenzie Persinger finished in second place at 1:41.66, a school record, to advance to the state competition at IUPUI.
Seymour’s Alyssa Goen, who was the highest-scoring all-arounder for the Owls on the season, was a qualifier for state competition in gymnastics.
In the spring, three county athletes made their first appearance at the state track and field meet.
Brownstown Central’s Jaelyn Reynolds advanced to the state meet in the discus, and Seymour’s Megan Winter ran the 1,600 at the highest level. Seth Ragon represented the Seymour boys’ team in the high jump.
Seymour’s Karen Dringenburg and Emma Wood advanced to the final four of the IHSAA’s tennis doubles state tournament at Park Tudor in Indianapolis.
The Seymour girls cross-country team made its second-straight state appearance after finishing fifth at the Brown County semistate.
5. Owls have record-breaking season
The Seymour girls tennis team was superb in 2015.In the regular season, the Owls claimed their first-ever Hoosier Hills Conference title and fourth-straight sectional championship.
While the team fell to Columbus North in the regional, the No. 1 doubles team of Karen Dringenburg and Emma Wood made their dreams of taking on the state tournament a reality.
As a team, the Owls finished 19-3 on the season, winning 16 matches by scores of 5-0.
With their 6-1, 7-6 (3) victory against Castle’s Katie Brookman and Bailey Devillez, the Owls advanced to the 2015 state championships at Park Tudor in Indianapolis.
The Owls tandem would make it to the final day of the state championships, falling to Carmel’s Emma Love and Lauryn Padgett in the semifinals 6-1, 6-0.
Wood is 57-4 going into her senior season.
6. Conference firsts
Two Jackson County cross-country teams claimed their first conference championships this past fall.Crothersville’s girls team captured its first-ever Southern Athletic Conference title in Sellersburg. The Tigers scored 37 points to Lanesville’s 40 and South Central’s 43.
Tigers Coach Carl Bowman, in his 37th year, was named SAC Coach of the Year.
On their home course at Freeman Field, the Seymour boys cross-country team won its first Hoosier Hills Conference title since joining the HHC in 1997.
The Owls made it a race to remember on their home course by narrowly taking the team title with 61 points. Jennings County was second with 63 points, and New Albany took third with 65.
Coach Randy Fife, in his 13th year heading the program, was named HHC coach of the year.
The Seymour girls tennis team won their first-ever HHC title by defeating state-ranked Floyd Central.
7. Sectional champions
Seymour led all county schools with three sectional titles.Seymour captured its fourth straight girls tennis title along with boys tennis and girls track and field championships.
Trinity Lutheran won in volleyball.
Brownstown Central won their football sectional by blanking Southridge 37-0 at home.
8. Benter hits milestone
Right before the new year, Brownstown Central boys basketball coach Dave Benter reached 300 wins following the 78-39 win against Mid-Southern Conference foe Scottsburg on Dec. 11.Of all the active coaches in the state, of any class, Benter has the fifth-highest winning percentage at 73 percent.
Heading the Braves, Benter now has a career record of 304-111 as of Wednesday.
Since 2001, Benter’s teams have finished with 14 straight winning seasons along with two trips to the state finals (2004 and 2009), five sectional championships and eight Mid-Southern Conference titles.
9. Bowlers 8th in state tourney
The Seymour bowling team made a trip to Anderson to compete in its first Indiana High School Bowling state tournament in February.The Seymour girls bowling team finished in eighth place, with a combined score of 2,412.
Earlier that the morning, Seymour’s Hannah Kaufman also finished fourth in the singles portion of the tournament. She was the second girl to ever make it to the state tournament individually.
10. Fresh faces
There were some new head coaches at local high schools.At Seymour, taking the helm were RaeAnn Wintin (golf) and Holly Birdsong (volleyball).
At Trinity Lutheran, Chad Goecker (softball), Jeff Nolting (girls soccer) and Chelsea Stroub (volleyball) assumed new duties.
Crothersville’s volleyball program was headed by Linda Luedeman, while Jared Richey coached the baseball team.
Brandon Allman was the head coach of the girls golf team in the fall at Brownstown Central.
Jason Booker, who will not be returning in 2016, took over Medora’s track and field team.