Typically, Jacob Voss is the most popular guy on the cross-country course.
It’s hard not to like the Seymour High School junior.
With his infectious, no-filter personality, positive attitude, high placings with low times and snow-white hair — you can’t miss him during a race.
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Voss is registered as legally blind — but that hasn’t, and will never, stop him.
In 2016, Voss led the Owls for the better part of the season as they advanced all the way up to the semistate meet in Brown County.
“He’s a very determined young man,” Owls coach Randy Fife said of Voss. “He’s not afraid to work hard, and I think he has a lot more talent than some people credit him for.
“Everyone knows Jacob — and they love Jacob. I’m with Jacob a lot, between cross and track, and you just don’t see him in a bad mood. He’s always positive, upbeat and full of energy. He throws out compliments because it pops in his head. Sometimes teenagers don’t always do that. He doesn’t have that filter, and that’s a positive thing. He’s a great teammate.”
With all of his accomplishments this season, The Tribune has named Voss the 2016 Jackson County Cross-Country Runner of the Year.
During the regular season, Voss finished in the top-10 five times.
At the Batesville Invitational, he won his first-ever race at the high school level.
Due to his vision, Voss typically runs behind teammates and competitors during races.
“I follow people, and before I run the course I memorize everything,” Voss said. “I trial people most of the time. If it’s a course I’m familiar with, it’s no problem.”
Winning at Batesville was special for Voss and members of the cross-country program.
“You can tell Jacob worked his way through the first half of the race but stopped when he got to the front,” Fife said. “He backed-in behind another runner. I know it’s because he didn’t know where to go. He couldn’t tell where the flag, cone or mowed path was.
“Every time there was a turn, he fell back. Some of the coaches got near the last turn and made sure he knew before the finish. Boy, did Jacob take off. It was a goosebumps moment.”
Voss followed up Batesville with a fifth-place finish at the Hoosier Hills Conference meet in Bedford.
After he earned the All-HHC nod, it was apparent to the coaches that Voss had turned into the team’s No. 1 runner.
“I think getting All-HHC gave him a lot of confidence, and it carried over to the rest of the season,” Fife said. “He was running sub-17 after (conference). I still think, though, he didn’t see himself as a legitimate No. 1 runner. If we ever get him to view himself as that, the sky is the limit for him because he wills himself to do it.”
In the sectional, Voss ran a career-best 16:28.50 — the 12th fastest time in school history. Each of the three years he’s ran at Seymour, Voss has set a new PR at sectional.
Voss began thriving in the role as the team’s fastest runner.
“Coach told us that we’re like a train,” Voss said. “The engine is leading the other guys, and we want to stay connected. It got me thinking, and I realized I wanted to do that. If I’m the guy in front then all the other guys are connected.”
He then followed up with a 10th-place finish in 16:46.18 at the regional before placing 57th in the semistate in 16:59.9.
Voss said that there’s a list of things that motivate him.
“God motivates me, I talk to him sometimes during the races,” Voss said. “My teammates, family and coach do, too. There are a lot of things that motivate me. I have a hero, (former Seymour runner) Daniel Hauersperger, and want to be as good as him or better.”
Fife said that a number of former runners have helped Voss become the runner he is today.
“Mentally, when he sets his mind to something, he’s able to do more than maybe he thought he would,” Fife said. “Part of what really motivates Jacob is that he has seen some really good runners before him. You could ask him what some of our best runners times were each year at SHS. Those runners have set a very positive example for Jacob.”
Next year, Voss said that foremost he wants the team to advance to state.
If Seymour doesn’t make it, he expects to advance by running sub-16-minutes races.
2016 Jackson County Boys Cross-Country Runner of the Year
Jacob Voss, Seymour, Junior
Sectional: 6th place, 16:28.50. (12th best in school history)
Regional: 10th, 16:46.18.
Semistate: 57th place, 16:59.9.
Other accomplishments: All-Hoosier Hills Conference (fifth overall), Individual winner at Batesville Invitational, top 10 in seven races (sectional, regional, Seymour, Bedford North Lawrence, Franklin, Batesville), SHS most valuable runner.
Joining Voss on the 2016 All-Jackson County boys cross-country team for the 2016 season:
AJ Goecker, Trinity Lutheran, Sophomore
Sectional: 15th, 17:09.65.
Regional: 20th, 16:53.34.
Semistate: 66th, 17:03.54.
Other accomplishments: Individual qualifier for regional and semistate, reset school record at Jennings County (16:30), won two races (Jac-Cen-Del, New Washington), nine top-10 finishes (eight top-five), fifth in “A” division at Eagle Classic.
Cameron Lee, Brownstown Central, Senior
Sectional: 29th, 17:44.51 (career and season best).
Regional: 72nd, 18:52.5.
Other accomplishments: BCHS most valuable runner, regional qualifier.
Harlan Deaton, Brownstown Central, Senior
Sectional: 35th, 18:00.80 (season best).
Other accomplishments: BCHS mental attitude award.
Alex Lovins, Seymour, Senior
Sectional: 17th, 17:11.45.
Regional: 21st, 16:53.82 (season best).
Semistate: 97th, 17:20.5.
Other accomplishments: SHS coach’s leadership award, top-10 at Seymour and Bedford North Lawrence invitationals.
Hunter Bauserman, Seymour, Senior
Sectional: 19th, 17:16.87
Regional: 26th, 17:04.51 (season best).
Semistate: 82nd, 17:11.2.
Other accomplishments: All-HHC, top-10 finish four times (Seymour, BNL, Batesville, HHC).
Cooper Morrow, Seymour, Junior
Sectional: 21st, 17:22.19 (season best).
Regional: 34th, 17:25.39.
Semistate: 137th, 17:51.4.
Other accomplishments: Top-10 twice (Seymour, Batesville).
Barry Huff, Seymour, Sophomore
Sectional: 34th, 17:59.01.
Regional: 53rd, 17:59.66.
Semistate: 143rd, 17:55.4 (season best).
Luke Plummer, Seymour, Freshman
Sectional: 28th, 17:43.96 (season best).
Regional: 58th, 18:17.18.
Semistate: 161st, 18:26.1.
Other accomplishments: SHS newcomer award.
Lane Wienhorst, Crothersville, Sophomore
Sectional: 40th, 18:15.60 (season best).
Other accomplishments: All-Southern Athletic Conference (seventh overall), CHS most valuable runner.