For The Tribune
With the number of championship teams she contributed to, it is easy to see why Sarah Benefiel has taken a liking to sports.
By the end of her senior year at Seymour High School, Benefiel will have ran cross-country, played basketball and competed in track and field for all four years.
She was a part of the state cross-county team for two years, a member of the Hoosier Hills Conference championship team last winter, and has been on three straight sectional-winning track teams.
“When I was young I played about every sport you could,” Benefiel said. “I think that’s where my love for sports started.”
Benefiel played volleyball in middle school and said she is glad she changed to cross-country her freshman year.
“I was our sixth or seventh runner this year,” Benefiel recalled. “I enjoyed the team. That was probably the best part,” she said of her teammates. Going to state was a great experience. The relationship we had with each other was like a family.”
Benefiel said that her best time was 21:06 and she tried to come out of the gates fast, averaging near 6:30 on the first mile.
“My first miles were usually like 6:30. My best time was 21:06.
At the end of the 2015-16 basketball season, Benefiel started a few games for the Owls after playing more of a sixth-man role. This winter, Benefiel acts as a starting guard.
Benefiel’s family got her started on the hardwood.
“When I was young my dad encouraged me to play basketball,” she said. “He was my coach throughout elementary school. That is where my love for basketball started.”
She scored nine points against Jennings County, eight at Madison, and has totaled seven points in several games.
On the schedule, Benefiel looks forward to traveling.
“I love our gym, but I’d say I’m more of a ‘road game’ player,” Benefiel said. “I like the road games better. I always play good at Jennings County, and I think I played really good at Jeffersonville, but I’d say my all-time favorite away gym would be Brownstown Central. I like playing in that environment”
Benefiel said in order to have success in the East Central Tournament this week and for the remainder of the season the team will need to get everyone involved.
“Everybody needs to be on the same page, playing as a team,” Benefiel said. “We’re a lot better when we play as a team. We all get along really well. That helps.”
She qualified for the track and field regional in the pole vault her sophomore year, but she was bothered by a quad injury last spring. Her career-best clear stands at 8-feet.
Benefiel said she practiced the hurdles last spring and may run the hurdles this season.
“I did hurdles in middle school so I kind of know what I’m doing,” she said. “I would like to run the 100 hurdles, and possibly the 300 hurdles, and pole vault. I like the 4×400 relay. It’s a tough one, though.”
Her final year with the team, Benefiel looks forward to running on the newly-resurfaced track.
Benefiel said you have to put forth a good effort in practice on any sport you participate in.
“Practice is probably the most important thing, more important than the games because what you do in practice is the result of the game,” she said.”
She said she has made lots of good memories inside and out of athletics at Seymour.
“I’ve enjoyed the teachers — we have really good teachers here,” Benefiel said. “I’ll remember the coaches more than anything. I’ve had some pretty great coaches throughout my years at Seymour. That’s probably going to be the biggest mark on me.”
Name: Sarah Benefiel
School: Seymour High School
Parents: Jeff and Michelle Benefiel
Siblings: Joey and Leah
Sports: cross-county 4 years, basketball 4 years, track and field 4 years.
Athletic honors: cross-country 2015, 2016 state qualifier; basketball: 2015-16 Hoosier Hills Conference champions; Track: 2014, 15, 16 sectional champions, 2014 regional qualifier in 4×800 relay, 2015 regional qualifier in pole vault.
Organizations: choir, Latin Club
Plans after high school: attend college
Favorite food: pizza
Favorite TV show: One Tree Hill
Favorite music: Tim McGraw
Favorite movie: The Best of Me
Favorite team: Pittsburgh Steelers