WEST LEBANON — Seeger cross country has been prominent in the western part of Indiana for more then a decade, winning boys’ sectional titles in 2015 and 2018 and girls’ championships in 2012 and 2014.
But this year, among all the craziness, the Patriots have been especially dominate. And coach Myles Stucky, who has guided the Seeger programs for more then a decade, saw it coming all the way back last winter.
“Honestly it was last winter,” Stucky said of the high expectations for 2020. “I had my No. 1 girl and incoming freshman run over the winter with me and I saw what she was doing and what what kind of time she was dropping.”
Top runner and junior Jennifer Romero paced the Patriots with an individual title at the Benton Central IHSAA Sectional last Saturday with a time of 19:18, while freshman Hadessah Austin was third in 20:17. Isabelle Putterbuagh finished second in 20:03 as the Patriots dominated the field with a team score of 19 — 43 points better than second place Benton Central.
Even with the high expectations, Stucky wasn’t quite prepared for this much success, with hopefully much more to come.
“The motivation was ‘you guys have a chance to be the first team ever from Seeger to make state as a full team,” he said. “That first meet knowing ‘let’s see what happens,’ and all the sudden at Fountain Central we beat West Lafayette, and not even by a little bit, but a lot bit. Now all the sudden we aren’t just looking at making state, but possibly winning the regional this coming weekend.”
The Patriots will line up against West Lafayette and Harrison this week at the regional at the Tippecanoe Amphitheater on Saturday. The Red Devils and and Raiders finished 1-2 at the Lafayette sectional last Saturday.
The top-5 teams from the regional will advance to the New Prairie semi-state, before the top-6 advance to the state finals.
On the boys’ side, the Patriots won the sectional over Frontier 51-56, and Stucky expects them to be on the bubble of advancing to the semi-state. Kolton Pearson paced the Patriots with a win at the sectional in a time of 17:44, while Ethan Hernandez and Thomas Odle were third and fourth respectively in 17:55 and 18 minutes flat.
Over the years as Seeger’s success on the course has continued to build, Stucky has realized it goes well beyond the workouts.
“I’ve talked to a number of coaches that are successful and a number of coaches that struggle for that success, and it comes down to not really the workouts, because most coaches do a lot of the same workouts, but I feel like it’s the belief the kids have in the coach,” he said. “I’m not saying my kids always do, but when you get that group of kids that truly believe in what the coach is doing and believe that what