Siefker named 2023 Tribune girls runner of the year

Some athletes are natural swimmers, and other athletes are natural golfers or are outstanding shooters in basketball.

Seymour senior Vivienne Siefker is a natural distance runner.

She said she began running cross country in third grade at Immanuel Lutheran School.

“I ran the open races with my brother. It just started one summer morning where I was jealous that my brother was doing something and I was like, ‘Can I just join? I want to do it so badly.’ The coach said ‘come on in. Let’s do it,’” she said.

She has been running distance ever since and said the experience she has gained during her career has been valuable.

“I’ve learned along the way that every course is different, so you’re going to race every course a little different,” she said. “I’ve gotten a technique that’s helped me, but I need to learn to be more open to any kind of race, just being diverse with it.”

She enjoys running long distances.

“I am not a speed person. I don’t really do well with sprints. After a few miles, I can sprint, but I like to run comfortably. That’s another issue. I get in my head and run a little too comfortably,” she said. “I just enjoy running. I would choose to run 10 miles over two. The more mileage there is, the better I do.”

Seymour cross country coach Spencer Sunbury spoke about Siefker.

“She has a natural talent to her. She comes out and she doesn’t complain about things that we do or things that we ask her to do,” Sunbury said. “She comes out and puts her effort out, and she is willing to try different approaches and things. Like a lot of young runners, she is still figuring out how far she can push herself and trusting that instinct to drive yourself beyond what you think your limit is. She has a good attitude and doesn’t complain about things.”

Sunbury called Siefker a smart runner.

“If you have the right attitude, you’re going to do all right,” he said. “She’s good at not getting carried away with her races. I can say every race, she went out and raced those races. I never saw her become hesitant.”

Siefker started out the season by winning the Seymour Invitational. She was all-Hoosier Hills Conference, placed sixth in the Brown County Sectional and was 24th in the Evansville Regional to advance to the state meet.

Sunbury said although her time at the regional wasn’t her best of the season, it was one of the best races he saw her run this year.

“She moved up every K (kilometer) of the race,” he said. “After the first K, she was about 29th or 30th, and she ended up finishing 24th. She did exactly what we talked about. We didn’t worry about time or anything like that. It was more about positions, and she just kept going for runners and gaps.”

He said late in the season, she got her spark back, and that is why she was able to finish strong in the sectional and regional to qualify for the state meet in Terre Haute.

“She came into herself these last couple of weeks,” he said.

Because of her accomplishments this season, she has been named The Tribune’s Jackson County girls cross country runner of the year.

Her best time this season was 19:47, and her PR was 19:21, which ranks her in the top 10 all time at SHS.

Siefker hopes to run in either cross country, track or both in college.

“She really seemed to enjoy the season,” Sunbury said. “It’s been great working with her. That’s one thing that makes her a great runner. She’s fun to coach.”

Siefker said the biggest cross country event of her career was running in the state race this season.

“I feel like the season was a pretty successful year,” she said. “I think just being strong and not having any big injuries that could have stopped me has really helped.”

Other members of the all-county team:

Tori Lokey (Sr.) Brownstown Central: Best time 21:57, Mid-Southern Conference honorable mention, regional qualifier, Brownstown’s most improved runner

Kelsey Schneider (Sr.) Brownstown Central: Best time 22:07, Mid-Southern Conference honorable mention, regional qualifier

Gracie Adams (Jr.) Seymour: Best time 21:16, Hoosier Hills Conference honorable mention, regional qualifier

Trinity Cody (So.), Brownstown Central: Best time 20:59, all-Mid-Southern Conference, Brownstown’s most valuable runner, regional qualifier

AnnMarie Shuler (So.), Seymour: Best time 21:15, regional qualifier

Cambell Shasteen (So.), Brownstown Central: Best time 21:48, Mid-Southern Conference honorable mention, regional qualifier

Lauren Dowell (So.), Seymour: Best time 22:15, regional qualifier

Kelly Beavers (So.), Seymour: Best time 22:16, regional qualifier