Each time she laced up her cleats, Seymour senior Marie Lenart always had one individual goal on top of getting a team win: Outwork every other player on the field.
The Seymour High School senior’s effort never came into question over her four years.
She always gave it her all for each minute of every single game until the final whistle.
By the end of the 2016 season, the forward totaled an impressive 35 points on 13 goals and nine assists as the team finished 8-8-2.
With all her efforts on the season, The Tribune has named Lenart the Jackson County girls soccer Player of the Year.
Individually, Lenart ranked third overall in points for the Hoosier Hills Conference.
The four-year varsity letter winner scored in all but three of the Owls’ 18 games this season, with two each against Salem and Scottsburg.
She also had a season-high in assists (three) against Scottsburg.
While Lenart led the HHC in goals last season with 17, the Owls needed her to get the team more involved this fall.
She did just that, bumping her assist total up to nine from four last year.
“We played (Lenart) out wide and really needed her to get other players more involved,” Owls coach Greg Musser said. “She really could have had six or seven more (goals), but having her step into another role to sacrifice the glory of goals, she didn’t complain once. That says all you need to know about her.”
Lenart didn’t always play up top, as she anchored the defense her freshman year as a sweeper.
In her first year of high school play, Lenart played with her sister, Clare.
That’s when the fierce competitiveness started coming out.
“My older sister, Clare, who is now a junior at Franklin College, we went at it my freshman year,” Lenart said. “If you put me up against Clare, I wouldn’t have stopped until Claire did. I feel like that motivation carried on through my three years. The competition I had with her carried over.”
Once Clare graduated, the Owls moved Marie up front to take on some of the offensive responsibilities.
Musser said that Lenart had an extra gear, and everything came together in 2016.
“(Lenart) played hard and the goals came,” Musser said. “I think over her (sophomore year) up top, 90 percent of her goals were purely effort. As she grew as a player, she became a skilled player that would outwork you — that’s a dangerous combination to play against.
“She never took a play off. She always worked hard and was vocal and positive while holding people accountable at the same time.”
Musser said that Lenart grew as a leader in the offseason.
“It was just like something clicked in her head,” he said. “It just started in the offseason from the first time she stepped on the field.
She knew she wanted to be a leader and knew that she needed to make some changes to be that leader. From day one of summer, she was making changes. I think she took some of our suggestions from us to heart. She really wanted to be better.”
Lenart’s postseason accolades could hardly fit in her arms.
She was All-HHC, All-District, Academic All-State and team MVP.
In two weeks, Lenart will attend the district showcase before finding out if she earns All-State honors.
With near 800 players in the district, Lenart finished sixth in overall votes by other girls soccer programs.
Lenart said that she’s unsure if she will play in college, but has put feelers out in recent weeks.
“It means a lot,” she said of getting the outside recognition. “I know it’s late to go look at colleges, but the last game of the season I knew I couldn’t give (soccer) up. It has always been in the back of my mind. Getting recognized by other programs really boosted my confidence in contacting colleges.”
2016 Jackson County girls soccer Player of the Year
Marie Lenart, Seymour, senior
Honors: All-District, Academic All-State, All-Hoosier Hills Conference, team MVP, will play in All-District Showcase Nov. 19-20 for potential state honors.
Joining Marie Lenart on the 2016 All-County team:
Kayla Griffin, Seymour, senior (defense)
Honors: All-Hoosier Hills Conference Honorable Mention, Academic All-State.
Rachel Collett, Seymour, senior (goalkeeper)
Goal saves: 126 (7.4 per match)
Honors: All-HHC honorable mention, Academic All-State.
Katie O’Mara, Seymour, senior (midfield)
Honors: Academic All-State.
Bailey Lykins, Seymour, freshman (forward)
Grace Hartman, Seymour, senior (midfield, defense)
Honors: Academic All-State.
Aidan Hiester, Seymour, freshman (midfield)
Andrea Ferrer, Seymour, senior (midfield)
Honors: Academic All-State
Taylor Heckman, Seymour, junior (midfield)
Honors: Top Team Player award (awarded by the state)
Sidney Hoene, Trinity Lutheran, sophomore (forward)
Lexi Keller, Trinity Lutheran, senior (midfield, goalkeeper)
Goal saves: 79
Kirstin Hoene, Trinity Lutheran, senior (defense)
Bailey Lewis, Seymour, junior
Elizabeth Lenart, Seymour, Sophomore
Emma Patmore, Trinity Lutheran, senior
Maddie Bell, Trinity Lutheran, sophomore
Emilee Lang, Trinity Lutheran, sophomore