With a turn of the calendar, the 2017 Jackson County sports schedule now lies ahead of us.
Before teams take to the court in 2017, we look back at some of the top stories in sports for 2016. From the end of a sectional drought to an area native getting drafted to a Major League Baseball organization, it was a year to remember for the area.
Seymour FACILITIES, SUCCESS
By the end of the summer, two major projects at Seymour High School reached completion.
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The school finished the construction of a brand new turf soccer complex on campus, which also included a new parking lot, moving the home field from Freeman Field to the high school campus.
The $2 million bond built one of the most impressive soccer facilities in southern Indiana. So much, that the school got the chance to host sectional.
Seymour’s boys soccer team took full advantage of the new digs, posting the best regular season finish in school history while capturing sole possession of the Hoosier Hills Conference.
Just around the corner, the football team’s field underwent a $1 million facelift by putting down a turf field.
The Owls finished with a winning record for the first time since 2005 while taking to the new field at Bulleit Stadium.
A resurfaced track and new shotput area will also serve as a highlight for the track and field team this spring.
Brown’s dream comes true
Seymour native Zack Brown had his childhood dreams come to fruition at SHS’ pitching facility in June.
The University of Kentucky pitcher was selected with the 141st pick in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Brown became the sixth baseball player from Seymour to reach the pros — the third to be drafted — and remains the highest MLB draft pick from the school.
The right-handed pitcher has thrown for affiliates of the organizations since, primarily with the Helena Brewers and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
In a couple weeks, Brown will fly to Arizona to meet with his farm director and workout with trainers at the Brewers’ athletic complex outside Phoenix for five days. Then spring training will begin and he will find out where he will be assigned at the conclusion.
Kaufman takes top honors
Seymour’s Hannah Kaufman reached the pinnacle of high school bowling last winter.
Kaufman took the singles state title at Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette on Feb. 20 at the Indiana High School Bowling State Championship.
She is the only bowler from Seymour High School to ever win the title.
Kaufman started the competition earning fourth in preliminary qualifying competition — the last place eligible to advance to the finals — before stunning the competition.
In the final match against Jasper’s Mel Kiefer, Kaufman triumphed 178-157.
The now senior looks to repeat in the coming months.
End of a drought
For the program, it felt like more than a win — it was history.
Brownstown Central’s baseball team brought home some long awaited hardware in the spring.
In what was likely the biggest upset of the 2016 season, the Braves defeated Class 3A No. 2 Silver Creek 6-3 at the North Harrison Sectional: the school’s first baseball sectional title since 1982.
The Braves finished the season with a 22-6 record, including 19-5 in the regular season and 6-3 in the MSC.
Just recently, it was announced that BC coach John Lawson — who played on the 1982 championship team — was selected by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association as the District North Coach of the Year.
One incredible run
Brownstown Central’s football team put together one of the most successful seasons in the program’s history this past fall.
Aside from all the accolades and records, the Braves captured Mid-Southern Conference, sectional and regional titles.
BC finished with a stellar record of 12-2, with just one regular season loss.
The Braves finished 4-1 in postseason play, which included a 50-14 win over Southridge for the sectional and 39-7 win against Evansville Memorial in regional.
It was the school’s third ever regional title and first since 2008.
Senior running back Gavin Bane broke eight individual records and was named first team AP and IFCA All-State for his efforts on the gridiron.
The Braves fell just short (41-40) in the semistate to Lawrenceburg.
Moren named coach of the year
Indiana University women’s basketball coach Teri Moren, a Seymour native and alumni, was named Big Ten coach of the year.
Moren, in her second season, was the second IU head coach to be named Big Ten Coach of the Year.
The Hoosiers went 12-6 in Big Ten play for fourth place. IU had a 20-10 overall record, which was a regular-season record for wins.
The fourth-place conference finish was the school’s best since tying for third in 1998.
A dream became an expectation for the Seymour girls cross-country team in 2016. The Owls qualified for the state meet for the third consecutive year by placing fifth place at the Brown County Semistate.
Seymour’s Noah Bullard competed in two events at the state swimming meet by winning the 200 individual medley and mustering a fast enough time in the 100 breaststroke at the Floyd Central sectional.
In track and field, Brownstown Central’s girls team sent Brooklyn Snodgrass (100) and Trentity Vaught (discus) to state. Joseph Barnes (discus and shot put), Jake McCullough (800) and Jacob Bollinger (pole vault) represented the BC boys at the big stage.
Hailley Peters competed in the high jump for Trinity Lutheran and Seth Ragon returned to state for Seymour in the same event.
Team sectional and conference champions
Brownstown Central won a pair of sectionals, with both the baseball and football teams advancing to regional competition.
Mid-Southern Conference championships went to BC’s football, boys basketball and boys’ golf teams.
In the spring, three teams from Seymour won sectionals.
The boys and girls track teams took home trophies. For the girls’ team, it was the fifth straight title.
On their home courts, the Owls’ girls tennis team also won their fifth straight sectional championship.
SHS’ girls basketball team won their first outright Hoosier Hills Conference title. The boys’ soccer team also claimed the first solo title in the fall.
Trinity Lutheran’s softball team won their first-ever sectional. The baseball team followed suit and also brought back a sectional crown.
Crothersville’s girls cross-country team repeated as Southern Athletic Conference champs this past fall.
Changes at Trinity
Trinity Lutheran’s athletics program and facilities underwent some changes in 2016.
The Cougars added a swimming and diving team in the winter, and are currently competing with the hopes of sending some individuals to state.
On the campus, TLHS put up their lighting fixtures on the football field.
Trinity hosted practices and games for the Indianapolis Crimson Knights.
The Crimson Knights — who featured a handful of players from TLHS — made it to the National Home School Association National Championship and finished third in competition.
In 2017, the Knights will base out of Trinity Lutheran and take over the name of the team.
New faces in new roles
A number of staffing changes took place around the county in 2016.
For boys basketball, Tyler Phillips (Seymour), Brian Stuckwisch (Trinity Lutheran) and Mark Morin (Medora) now head programs.
Boys tennis also saw major changes, with Scott Dittmer (Brownstown), Danny Frastaci (Trinity) and Jennifer Miller (Seymour) stepping into head coaching roles.
Nate Benter served as Trinity’s girls golf coach and Greg Kilgore led Crothersville’s boys golf team.
Brian Huey was appointed Crothersville’s softball coach.
Kilgore now serves as CHS’ athletic director and Kirk Manns was hired over the summer as the AD at Seymour.