Plenty to remember, be thankful for in ’18


Don’t worry, I didn’t make a list.

I will, however, again share some of the stories that left a lasting impact on myself.

The 2018 sports scene involving Jackson County schools and current and former athletes saw its fair share of highlights.

The top story on my list happened early in the new year.

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I wouldn’t call it as much of a story as it was an experience.

While many knew New Albany basketball product Romeo Langford, who later decided on continuing his career at Indiana University, would draw a crowd, few could have anticipated his high school farewell tour at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium in the postseason.

The lines of fans wrapped around the entire school, hours early in the cold, waiting to get in to see the phenom lace up was unbelievable.

Some people set up folding chairs and played cards in line for hours on end just to get a seat.

I will never forget the trio of New Albany games against Floyd Central in the sectional finals, Center Grove in the regional and Warren Central at semistate. That Warren Central buzzer-beater was one of the most shocking finishes I’ve ever seen in person.

More than 8,000 fans in attendance for a high school hoops game is unbelievable. It’s something we may not see again for a long, long time and was a great representation of Seymour.

Shortly after Langford and company made headlines, Seymour native Teri Moren led the Indiana University women’s basketball team to its first National Invitational Tournament title.

The Hoosiers finished 23-14 overall under Moren, who wrapped up her fourth year of leading the IU program.

Moren isn’t just a first-class coach but also a first-class person. She understands the fine balance of growing her players into leaders on and off the court.

Moren got the job at IU shortly after I moved to Indiana in 2014. The first time I went to IU, Moren took me around the facilities and introduced me to her entire coaching staff and team.

I will never forget walking into Assembly Hall and speaking with Moren on the floor with nobody but us, her managers and players in the gym back then for the first time.

Not all college coaches are willing to take that kind of time with young reporters.

To see Moren have success at IU should make everyone in Seymour extremely proud. She’s one of the best at what she does, but we already knew that.

This past fall, legendary Seymour High School football coach Joe Goodman passed away.

Goodman helped grow the game in a plethora of ways over the years across the state. More importantly, however, he helped shape many of the men and women in our community.

While football was important, Goodman knew his stewardship far surpassed what went on inside the sidelines.

Much has been said of Goodman over the past few weeks, but I would like to share one brief story on the type of person he was.

In August, when I found out he received the Bob Springer President’s Award from the Indiana Football Coaches Association, I sent him a message asking to meet up for an interview.

He got right back to me and invited me over to his home to do the interview.

When I pulled into his driveway, I saw him standing in his doorway waving. Upon entrance, he introduced me to his wife and had me come into his office, where we sat down.

The interview maybe lasted 15 minutes, but I didn’t leave for another one and a half hours as we shared stories.

Few have shown me the kind of kindness that coach Goodman did since I moved here, and those types of things are never forgotten.

In August, I received a message from a friend that former Seymour pitcher Zack Brown was in town and eating lunch with his mother at Chillicen, a restaurant along South Chestnut Street in Seymour.

Thankfully, I had nothing planned at that time, so I drove around the block and met with Brown, who would leave for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the following day to pick up a gargantuan-sized award from the Brewers.

It has been noted on more than one occasion — most recently on the pitching clinic he helped with right before Christmas — but Brown is one of the best ambassadors you could ask for. I believe he really cares about Seymour and the baseball program.

I don’t know if Brown will get the call to the big league this upcoming season, but I do know that when he does, he will still be the same guy. He will still come back to Seymour and find a way to give back.

In high school action, there was plenty to remember.

We saw Seymour boys soccer coach Matt Dennis become the winningest coach in program history and his team win the Hoosier Hills Conference with an undefeated record for the first time.

Swimming and diving coach Dave Boggs eclipsed 600 wins, and diver Devin Ramsey set some school records en route to finishing fourth at the state meet.

The Owls gymnastics team made it to the state championship, where they finished ninth overall. It was just the second time the Owls advanced as a team in the program’s history.

On the mats, the Owls wrestling team advanced seven of nine wrestlers out of the Jeffersonville Regional — a new program high — to semistate. They tied for second as a team at regional, which was the best for Seymour since 1980.

The Seymour boys tennis team captured the program’s 10th sectional championship in the fall, marking the second straight and third in four years for the Owls.

Ashton Chase became the first girls cross-country runner from Seymour to run in the state meet all four years and earn All-HHC status all of those seasons. She also claimed a regional championship.

In the spring, Chase teamed up with Claire Loebker, Abby Voss and Makenna Sunbury to set the school record in the 4×800 relay at the state track and field meet.

Also in the spring, Lance Roark swept the regular season before claiming the HHC, sectional and regional meets in the long jump. In his sophomore year, he also qualified for state for the first time.

The Owls football team went undefeated at home for the first time since 2001, and senior Nathan O’Mara set numerous records, including yards and attempts in a game and attempts in a season.

Trinity Lutheran’s girls basketball team, coached by Mike Lang, won a sectional championship, the third time they had cut down the nets and first time since 2014, and advanced to the regional finals.

The Cougars volleyball team also had a wildly successful year, finishing 28-10 under first-year coach Faith Wilder-Newland. The Cougars won the West Washington Sectional, their fifth-straight title and eighth in the program’s history.

Trinity’s softball team also claimed a sectional championship, the second in program history.

Brownstown Central’s football team earned Mid-Southern Conference and sectional crowns. Coach Reed May also hit 250 coaching wins early in the season. Since May took over in 1993, the Braves have won 13 sectional titles in 26 seasons.

The Braves volleyball program went 29-6 overall and was the outright MSC champion with a perfect 9-0 record.

Brownstown sent two pole vaulters to the state finals in track and field, Caleb Bollinger and Colton Ritz. It was the first time for Brownstown to send athletes to state in the same event. Brooklyn Snodgrass also advanced to state in the 100-meter dash, her third-straight trip to the big stage.

Crothersville’s girls cross-country team, under coaches Marc and Carl Bowman, won a fourth-straight Southern Athletic Conference title and advanced to regional for the first time this fall by placing fourth at sectional.

Freshman Kaylyn Holman won the SAC and was the first Crothersville runner to win a sectional title. She went on to advance as an individual to the semistate along with teammate Grace Wilson. Holman got out of the semistate round and was the first runner to represent the Tigers at the state finals.

Medora joined the newly formed Southern Roads Conference and finished runner-up in volleyball.

On a more personal note, this past Labor Day marked four years since I moved to Indiana and started working this job.

There have been ups and learning experiences throughout my tenure at this position, and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.

When I first stepped foot in this building, I didn’t imagine all of the relationships I would build and experiences I would have in such a short time.

I will always remember the Class of 2018, the first group of kids that I have worked with for all four years of their high school careers. When I started, I was just a 22-year-old from New York trying to get my career kick-started.

To all of those who have continued to support the newspaper and the sports section, I thank you. Our staff strives to deliver the best sports coverage in the state and plans to continue growing in 2019.

I’m sure there are some events that I have unintentionally forgotten in this article, but I mean no harm by it.

When you write somewhere around 500 to 600 articles per year, some stories slip through the cracks.

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