The Seymour boys cross-country team celebrated its 2021 season at Seymour High School last Thursday, and head coach Randy Fife had a lot to be proud of.
The Owls finished 2nd out of 8 teams at the Seymour Invitational, 2nd out of 6 at BNL, 8th out of 18 at Franklin, 4th out of 12 at Jennings County, 5th out of 25 at Shelbyville, 3rd out of 9 at Batesville and 1st out of 10 at Silver Creek.
Then in the postseason, Seymour finished fourth in a competitive Hoosier Hills Conference, second in sectionals and fifth in regionals to advance to the program’s 18th consecutive semistate meet.
“Given our experience level as we began the season, I’m very happy with how the season went,” Fife said. “I thought for the most part with very few exceptions, we competed. We gave our best. One thing I like about this group is that they recognized when they didn’t compete…and they weren’t afraid to admit it. That’s a good lesson. Sometimes we didn’t give our best – but let’s not stay in that place. Let’s admit it, face it, and learn from it…and do better next time.”
Seymour handed out team awards on Thursday, as well as conference and all-state awards.
Earning HHC honorable mention was senior Michael Proffer, and HHC All-Conference was Jude Bane.
“Jude asked me the week leading up to the conference meet if I thought he could make all-conference,” Fife said. “I said, ‘Jude, it doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what you think. I didn’t think you would make it last year and you did.’ I’ve learned not to doubt Jude Bane.”
Proffer earned first team academic all-state for the Owls, and academic honorable mention went to Bane, Rolando Baltazar and Carter Morris.
Fife handed out a newcomer award, which he gave to Ty Tormoehlen. The newcomer award is given annually to the runner who makes the biggest impact on the team in his first year.
Earning the senior leadership award was Proffer. Proffer was the Owls’ No. 2 runner all season long, but he also helped lead a young team.
“Michael took the mantle of leadership this year,” Fife said. “He was instrumental in getting practice started on time this year and he was great about communicating with the other runners regarding team activities, and he was always working to get the team to do the extra things that helped make our season a success.”
Finally, the most valuable runner award went to Bane.
Bane was Seymour’s No. 1 runner all season long, and he PR’ed at the semistate with a 16:19, which is the ninth-fastest time all-time in program history. It’s the fastest time ran at Seymour since 2013 — Jack Tormoehlen and Daniel Hauersperger.
As Fife said, he learned to never doubt Bane.
What Fife likes the most about coaching cross-country is seeing his runners improve as the season progresses. With a young team this season, there was a lot of room for improvement, and the team accomplished that.
“I’m proud of each and every one of these boys for their attitude and the effort they put forward this year,” Fife said. “They sacrificed, they competed, they believed in each other and hopefully, they had some fun.”