Driven to excel: Seymour athlete stays focused with 2 sports

A two-sport athlete, Seymour’s Haley Westfall keeps herself busy by design.

Athletes play sports for various reasons, but for Westfall the reason she played fall and spring sports was to stay in shape.

“I always knew I wanted to play two sports just to keep me in shape and keep me going and everything,” Westfall said. “It doesn’t give me time to goof off or anything, so I have to make sure I keep my grades up and everything.”

Westfall is in her fourth season playing softball. She ran cross-country the past two fall seasons after playing volleyball her freshmen and sophomore years.

She has started in center field since her freshman season.

“There’s a lot of communication in the outfield, probably more than the infield,” Westfall said. “We cover a lot more ground in the outfield, and that’s one of the things I like about the outfield. You just have to know where everyone is and you have to know where the ball’s going. You just have to see it right off the bat and just go after it right away.”

The senior stays aware of where the opponent is in the batting order, and be aware of the location of where the Seymour pitcher is trying to toss the ball.

“If it’s inside or outside, I’m always looking in to see what the catcher is calling and move in the direction the ball will go,” Westfall said. “I love defense. It’s my favorite.”

Westfall said she has to make adjustments to the sun depending in the time of day the games are played.

“I’ve noticed after school, the sun is always in my eyes, and the right fielder even more so,” Westfall said. “It’s so bright. Games in the morning I usually don’t have to deal with the sun. I still always have my sunglasses on.”

A dual-threat, Westfall enjoys stepping up to the plate.

“I like pitches a little bit lower, not too high, because if they’re too high I usually get under the ball and I pop it up,” Westfall said. “You also have to see where the runners are. If they’re on first or second you have to hit the ball on the ground to move them, but if they’re on third, hit it high into the outfield and get an RBI, not necessarily get on base but you can get them in.

“I think our team has been really good this year about making adjustments. We’ve been working really hard about hitting the outside pitch because that’s what pitchers usually pitch you at the beginning of the game.”

For Westfall, her biggest highlight win in softball was catching the final out against Brownstown Central last year to preserve Rachel Kaufman’s perfect game.

The softball team is a close-knit group.

“I have a connection with everyone on the team,” Westfall said. “Out of the six seniors on the team, I’ve been playing with five of them since I was 8-years-old, so we’ve been playing with each-other forever. We have an indescribable bond with each other.”

From age 8 to 14 Westfall was coached by her Dad, Rick Westfall, on travel teams.

Since then she has played with the Red Alert from Columbus, and the Jets from Hope.

Cross-country was a different challenge for Westfall, but she fully enjoyed the experience.

“I learned how to push myself a lot harder, and just the environment,” Westfall said. “I loved being around those people. I loved the coach, he was awesome, and he showed me how far I could push myself because I didn’t know how far I could push myself.”

Westfall said she ran in the No. 9 position for the Owls last fall, and said she enjoyed running in several big meets, including the Seymour Invitational and in the Hoosier Hills Conference meet.

“I was on the state team but I didn’t get to run,” Westfall said. ‘I ran in the Flash Rock meet in Carmel. That’s a big meet. I really did like those big meets because sometimes in the small meets there’s just not many people. When there’s a lot of people you want to get around them so you just keep pushing yourself faster and pass them.”

Her best time was 22:45 in a meet at Greensburg this past season.

For Westfall, practice is a key to success in all sports.

“You’ve got to practice like you play,” Westfall said. :Anything you do in practice it’s going to show over in a game, so if you’re being lazy in practice, then you’re going to be lazy in a game.

“You have to believe in yourself and in your teammates more than anything. My dad has always told me, ‘forget about the pitch before.’ You always have to look at the pitch ahead. It doesn’t matter if you struck out the time before, or if you dropped the ball the time before, just keep looking ahead.”

Westfall said she is going to miss Seymour.

“They offer a lot more academics, college wise, than they do at other schools, so that’s nice,” Westfall said. “I’m going to have quite a few college credits when I go into college. I’m going to miss the people I’ve met. I’ve had a lot of coaches have influenced me in positive ways.”

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Name: Haley Westfall

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Rick and Tracy Westfall

Sibling: Carlee

Sports: softball 4 years, cross-country 2 years, volleyball 2 years.

Athletic awards: CC-110 percent award, 2015, 2016.

Organizations: National Honor Society, D.A.R.E. Role Model, student government, Riley Dance Marathon committee, Renaissance, Prom committee, Latin Club.

Plans after high school: attend Purdue University, major in pre-vet.

Favorite food: watermelon

Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy

Favorite movie: If I Stay

Favorite teams: Purdue, Indianapolis Colts