Seymour runners shine


The miles of the summer pay dividends in the fall.

That is the motto of high school cross-country running, especially when the weather seems to forget to change seasons.

Finally, last Saturday, the Seymour runners did not face the likelihood of melting like popsicles left unattended in the sun and could focus on striding.

Humidity went on vacation and the temperature was slow to rise as the pack headed out for 5 kilometers in the Franklin Invitational. More beneficial conditions produced friendly results.

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Senior Ethan Dippold covered the route in 17 minutes, 12 seconds as Seymour’s No. 1 finisher and he aided the boys team to a fourth-place finish among 17 teams.

There were others Dippold recognized around him, too. Senior Brandon Kleber was 17th in 17:25 and sophomore Jude Bane was 19th in 17:28.

There were 156 finishers in the boys race.

"It wasn’t bad," Dippold said of what the team showed. "I think we’re getting better."

For someone with a personal best clocking for the distance of 16:29 last year, Dippold’s time was not especially satisfying.

"It wasn’t what I was looking for," he said.

Meaning he wanted to see the clock at the finish line feature the numbers "16" on the left. The season is young and Dippold said he definitely figures to be running faster, not only than this, but faster than last year, before the 2020 season concludes.

Coach Randy Fife seemed to look at things from the same perspective. There were things to like in this race and things to build on.

"We competed well and showed progress," Fife said. "But we still have to get better. Happy right now with fourth out of 17."

Corydon Central’s Camden Marshall won the boys race in 16:04.

Despite being more than three miles in length, often the leaders are decided in the early going in cross-country races because the front-runners take it out hard and break free in a pack.

Bane brings a different philosophy to his races. He prefers to hold back and reserve strength and sprinting power to the closing stages.

"I start off a little differently," he said. "I prefer to start slower and pick people off the whole way."

Bane’s best time, recorded last season, was about 17:20, but including Saturday, he has been in the 17:20s regularly this year. While some runners are skittish about mob-scene races like Franklin’s, Bane prefers them.

"I kind of like being in the big crowd," he said. "You can go faster. I’ve been a lot faster in each race."

He envisions dipping under the 17-minute barrier.

"That’s my goal for the season," Bane said.

Dippold and Bane both trained steadily in spring and early summer, even when school was not in session for in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They could always just go out the front door and meet up with other runners for a workout. 

"Even when school wasn’t going, we would get together and run five or six days a week," Bane said of a group of a few-to-a-handful of runners.

In addition to the Dippold, Kleber, Bane trio, Seymour’s other finishers at Franklin were Michael Proffer, 31st in 18:00; Connor Harriss, 33rd in 18:08; Clay Greenawalt, 39th in 18:20; Levi Croquart, 61st in 18:55; Elijah Osborne, 68th, in 19:04; Sam Rockey, 70th in 19:06; and Brycen Baugh, 83rd in 19:28.

Several runners persevered when spring sports were called off due to the coronavirus and through the hottest days of summer.

"We still put in those miles," Dippold said.

The Seymour girls placed seventh in a race with 136 finishers.

Sophomore Kinsley Folsom was the Owls’ first runner, taking 12th in 20:59. Junior Hayley Harpe was 28th in 21:43. Samantha Jacobi was next, 52nd in 23:04. The other Seymour finishers were Lillian Sunbury, 59th in 23:22; Vivienne Siefker, 72nd in 24:02; Eliana Baker, 97th in 25:54; Grace Lewis, 99th in 26:04; Emily East, 117th in 28:18; Caitlin Thomasma, 118th in 28:53 and Savannah Stoffregen, 123rd in 29:41.

Girls coach Spencer Sunbury said the weather being a trifle cooler than usual helped the runners.

"I thought the girls responded well," he said. "All the girls ran well. It was what we needed. Yesterday was a good shot in the arm."

Harpe, in her first season of distance running, has continued to improve.

"I like the way she ran the race," Sunbury said. "It was good to see her competitiveness."

Neither the boys nor girls have another meet until Sept. 12 and with the race break the workouts will likely be more challenging.

"There will be a little bit more intensity," Sunbury said.

Boys Team Scores: 1) Center Grove 35; 2) Terre Haute North Vigo 77; 3) Bloomington South 102; 4) Seymour 113; 5) Perry Meridian 145; 6) Franklin Community, 190; 7) Corydon Central, 226; 8) Greenwood 256; 9) Mooresville 259; 10) Martinsville 264; 11 Brown County 270; 12) Lawrence Central 277; 13) Indian Creek, 374; 14) Greensburg; 15) Decatur Central 389; 16) Greenwood Christian 465; 17) Shelbyville 470.

Girls Team Scores: 1) Franklin Community 53; 2) Center Grove 68; Bloomington South, 84; 4) Corydon Central 143; 5) Indian Creek 160; 6) Greensburg 179; 7) Seymour 196; 8) Perry Meridian 200; 9) Mooresville 268; 10) Terre Haute North Vigo 275; 11) Jennings County, 303; 12) Martinsville 307; 13) Greenwood 315; 14) Decatur Central 371; 15) Lawrence Central 432.

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