Welcome to Jan. 1, 2022. A day where resolutions begin and reflections of 2021 come to a close.
When I took this job in April of what is now last year, I had never heard of Seymour, Brownstown Central, Trinity Lutheran, Crothersville or Medora. Now, I know a whole lot about those five schools and the athletics played at them.
It’s been a pleasure covering all the teams in Jackson County so far, and I wanted to take some time to look back on some of the best sports games and moments I covered in 2021.
Trinity volleyball vs. Lafayette Central Catholic, state finals, Nov. 6
First and foremost, I have to start with the first state championship game I got to cover in Jackson County. Trinity volleyball had a fantastic season and got to advance to the state finals at Worthern Arena on Ball State’s campus.
Where I was seated along the scorers table, the Cougar faithful was behind me, and they were loud and proud. The environment was incredible for the first matchup of the day.
I remember Trinity got off to a sluggish start, but the Cougars battled back and made things exciting at the end of the first set despite losing it. But then Trinity won sets two and three, and it really felt like this was their year. But in volleyball, momentum can change on a dime, and that’s what happened on this day.
Trinity lost in five sets, but it was a great match to set the tone for the day (mostly every state finals match that day went to five sets, too).
Hopefully that’s the first of many state championship trips I get to make covering these Jackson County teams.
Seymour football vs. New Albany, sectional championship, Nov. 5
It was definitely an up and down year for Seymour’s football team. Since myself and my incredible stringer John Regruth decided to make this fall sort of like a “beat” covering football, he covered Brownstown (who had an amazing season), and I got to spend every Friday covering the Owls.
As rocky as the season was for Seymour, you could tell there was something special starting to form down the stretch in late October, and that culminated on this rainy Friday night at New Albany High School.
Records and results may not show it, but Seymour was the better team on Nov. 5. Right from the start, it felt like the Owls wanted the game more. Both teams hadn’t won sectional titles in quite some time, and Seymour was taking it to the HHC champion Bulldogs.
It came down to the final play with 10 seconds on the clock. I walked outside the press box to record this play with my phone, hoping to catch the on-field celebration for Seymour winning a sectional championship. But New Albany’s QB scrambled and threw a little jump pass into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with four seconds left on the clock.
It was a heart-breaking loss for Seymour, but it was a memorable game to witness. What’s intriguing about this game is it could be a turning point for the Owls’ program — a building block that changes the belief this team has. We’ll find out next fall.
Brownstown basketball vs. North Harrison, Dec. 17
This wasn’t too long ago, but man, was it a classic game. Two of the tops teams in the Mid-Southern Conference battling inside The Pit with a raucous environment.
I’ve never thought one team was going to win so many times and then be wrong about it — that’s how many runs and momentum shifts occurred in this double OT thriller.
The ironic thing is this game was on pace to end at a nice, peaceful time for The Tribune’s deadline, but the two overtimes made it incredibly stressful.
Because of the deadline, I didn’t have time to talk with coach Dave Benter after the game, so I texted him the next day saying it was a helluva game and impressive how the team pulled it out. He responded by saying it must’ve been exciting for fans to watch, implying maybe it wasn’t so fun for a coach, rather stressful like me on deadline.
Understandable, and he’s right, it’s a game that those in attendance won’t forget for awhile.
Seymour softball vs. Bedford North Lawrence, May 11
This game was fairly early in my run as sports editor. I was about a month in, and Seymour had the chance to clinch a share of the Hoosier Hills Conference against BNL.
There was a little spice to this, too, because BNL had won a game just before this, and some said they were outright HHC champs. The folks of Jackson County let them know they were wrong, and Seymour came out with fire, taking a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
BNL tied things up in the third inning, but then Seymour scored five unanswered runs to eventually win the game 8-2 and take a share of HHC title home with them.
It was a dominant display from the Owls, and it was exciting to watch them play with energy and roll on all cylinders throughout the entire game.
Track and field sectionals, 1600-meter run, May 18
There’s a little bias in this one since I was a former cross-country and track runner back in high school in Crown Point, Indiana.
Watching Seymour’s Brooke Trinkle and Crothersville’s Kaylyn Holman go at it in the 1600-meter run on this Tuesday night was a joy to witness.
Holman surged out into the lead on the first lap, but Trinkle reclaimed it on the second lap. On the third lap, Trinkle created some distance between the two, and some Crothersville members around me made comments about how Holman usually doesn’t have a kick. Well, that wasn’t the case this race.
Holman made her move on the last lap, closing in on Trinkle down the final 100 meters. It looked like Holman was going to catch her, but when Trinkle could hear the footsteps coming, she kicked it in just enough to pull out the win.
Trinkle won with a time of 5:18.66. Holman was second in 5:19.22. Fun race.
I’m looking forward to watching those two, as well as many other athletes this upcoming spring.
Of course, there are many more I could name, such as Seymour football’s historic win over Columbus East, Olivia Fish breaking the school record for kills against Bloomington South, Brownstown girls basketball nearly pulling off the upset against Silver Creek, both Brownstown vs. Trinity Lutheran girls basketball games this season, Seymour girls tennis getting to the regional finals, the list goes on.
Also keep in mind that these are just games that I personally covered. There have been plenty other awesome moments that my colleagues Arv Koontz, Lew Freedman, Zach Spicer and the aforementioned John Regruth have all covered as well that I got to read about, such as Kailene Cockerham scoring her 50th career girl, exciting moments from Brownstown football’s undefeated regular season, all the cool events Special Olympics gets to compete in, this list goes on as well.
I want to give a shoutout to all the coaches, athletes and AD’s in Jackson County, I appreciate all the access and the willingness to share your stories with us. I also want to thank the readers for following along with our coverage.
Happy New Year everyone. Cheers to a fun 2021 sports year in Jackson County, and let’s do it again in 2022.