By Dylan Wallace
The process happened fast for two of Seymour’s top athletes.
In the past two weeks, those two Seymour athletes have committed to play Division I.
Despite playing different sports, their paths have been similar. Despite playing during different seasons, their recruitment picked up around the same time. And despite their different skill sets, their competitiveness stems from a childhood relationship.
‘It means a lot’
The University of Evansville reached out to Charlie Longmeier a month ago.
The Aces coaches originally came to Indiana Elite Black games to watch their shortstop, but they ended up paying a lot of attention to the center fielder.
They wound up coming eight straight weekends to watch Longmeier play.
“The coaches were really into me. They said I was their No. 1 prospect,” Longmeier said. “They showed that they really cared. That stood out to me the most.”
Two weeks ago, Longmeier took a visit to campus. On Aug. 13, he committed to the University Evansville and became the first baseball player from Seymour to commit DI since Zack Brown did it in 2012.
“It means a lot,” Longmeier said. “Zack was a great player. It shows that he was really good, and there were a lot of good players who came through here that went and played DII. It means a lot to see the work we’ve been putting in is paying off.”
‘It felt special’
Wake Forest University reached out to Olivia Fish on June 15, the first day the recruiting period opened for volleyball players.
So much happened that day that Fish forgot to contact them back. The director for her club team then reached out to Fish and told her Wake Forest really wanted to be in contact with her.
Her first conversation with the Wake Forest coaching staff was over FaceTime, and she said it went smoothly. The phone calls and texts continued from there, and eventually, they invited Fish to come on an official visit.
Fish went to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, last Sunday and “fell even more in love with it.”
She had another one scheduled for last Wednesday, but Fish didn’t need it. She canceled that second visit and officially committed to Wake Forest on Aug. 17.
Fish is the first volleyball player from Seymour to commit DI since 2014.
“It felt special, especially for Seymour,” Fish said. “I love playing for everyone in my community. It was an honor to represent my town of Seymour because it’s really small and not a lot of people know of it.”
Refuse to lose
Fish and Longmeier have been friends since preschool.
They have pictures together from their kindergarten graduation and their graduation from Immanuel Lutheran School.
Growing up, the two battled it out on Wii baseball in Fish’s basement. Fish’s mom would call them upstairs for a snack, and they would be drenched in sweat arguing about who won the last game.
“It was probably how I got so competitive. I think it made me like a more competitive person because I would never want to let him win on the Wii,” Fish said.
“I was never going to lose,” Longmeier said. “We were really competitive, but she never beat me.”
That competitive edge the two had at a young age drove them to perform at a high level in their respective sports.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
In sixth grade, Longmeier broke his leg playing football. In eighth grade, he broke his ankle, needing surgery and two screws inserted into his ankle. He was out for half of a year.
“The rehab was tough, but it’s all good now,” Longmeier said.
Longmeier got healthy heading into his high school career, but that’s when things started to go awry for Fish.
She realized she had something called osteochondritis dissecans during her freshman season. It’s a joint condition in which bone underneath the cartilage of a joint dies due to lack of blood flow.
Fish had surgery to fix it on Oct. 1, 2019, and it took about a year for her knee to get back to 100%.
Then during her sophomore season, Fish dealt with a nagging ankle injury that required her to miss some matches.
So far this year, the Owls are 3-0 to start the season, and Fish has played in each match.
“I feel good,” Fish said. “Knock on wood, we’re going to make it through this year.”
With their commitments behind them, both Fish and Longmeier are focused on their final years at Seymour.
Fish said she didn’t realize how much of her focus was on the college decision, and once she committed, it felt like an unturned-in school assignment finally being submitted.
“It was a stress reliever for sure,” Longmeier said. “I wanted to get it out of the way so I can focus on high school the next two years and just play.”
Longmeier said he wants to win a sectional title with the Owls baseball team before he graduates and believes there’s more this team can accomplish than what it showed last spring.
Fish has similar aspirations this fall. Seymour has played three matches so far this season and has swept each opponent.
Fish thinks as long as the Owls clean up some little things, she’s very excited about the team’s big picture outlook this season.
The last two weeks were a special time for the families of Fish and Longmeier as the two etched their names in Seymour athletics history.
“It’s really cool. We’ve talked about it a lot. Every since we were little, it was what we wanted to do. I know she (Fish) put a ton of work in as well, so it was awesome seeing that hard work pay off,” Longmeier said.
“It’s awesome just because we went through the process together,” Fish said. “It was easy to have someone to talk to. It doesn’t happen to people a lot around here. He (Longmeier) knew what I was going through. It’s fun to look back to us playing sports together when we were really young, and now, we’re about to go off and play college sports.”
Two friends, two athletes and now two future DI players. And yes, that competitive attitude from playing Wii as kids still exists today.
They don’t just want to be known as good players in Jackson County.
“Just making sure every time I play, I play as hard as I can. I don’t take any plays off or any at-bats off. Put the work in, play as hard as you can, relax when you’re in the box, good things can happen,” Longmeier said.
“I don’t want to stop and settle for less and just be good around here,” Fish said. “I want to be good everywhere I go and be the best in the gym.”