Category Archives: Sports

COLUMN: REFLECTING ON THE ’17-’18 SCHOOL YEAR’S SPORTS

By JD McKay

I know I have said this a lot throughout this year, but this has been a historic year for FC. Our sports teams have torn up the competition and rivals Jeffersonville, New Albany, and Providence.

Boys’ cross country season was respectable, finishing in fifth sectionals, and sophomore David Heinemann finished eighth. The girls had more success. They won sectionals behind a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place finishes from senior Faith Barba, senior Kyley Sorg, senior Erica Batliner, and freshman Natalie Clare, respectively. The girls beat both New Albany and Jeff in sectionals. In regionals, Sorg finished first, and sophomore Sydney Liddle finished third. They won the regional, with all seven runners finishing in the top twelve.

The football team performed above expectations. The Highlanders were expected to have a pretty average season, but ended up finishing 8-3. The team was injury plagued but fought through and eventually finished second in conference. Losing to Louisville Male and state champion Columbus East twice. However, the Highlanders beat beat Jeff once, thumped New Albany twice, and destroyed Providence once.

Girls’ golf had another good season. Senior Jillian Moorefield’s sectional victory helped boost the Lady Highlanders to a sectional championship, beating New Albany, Jeff, and Providence in sectionals.
The Lady Highlander soccer team also won sectionals. The girls soccer team beat New Albany in the sectional championship because of a shootout goal from sophomore Marlea Ferber after finishing regulation at 0-0. They beat Jeff 5-0 and tied Providence 0-0. Boys’ soccer lost to Columbus East in the first round of sectionals, but beat New Albany 5-1, Providence 2-0, and tied with Jeff.

Volleyball had a solid season, but came up short against Providence in the second round of sectionals. However, they beat New Albany in straight sets twice, and beat Jeff in straight sets twice.

Boys’ tennis had a sectional title winning season. They won three straight matches in straight sets to advance to regionals, where they lost in the second round. However, they had  a winning record this season against Jeff, New Albany, and Providence.

Girls’ basketball was the one sport that didn’t have a great season. Injuries plagued the Lady Highlanders for most of the season. However, they won the Southern Lady Trojans Holiday Jamboree.

Boys’ basketball had a year rivaling the Superhicks or Pat Graham-led teams. They went 7-0 in conference and were conference champions. However, didn’t win sectionals, but had an excitement revolving around them the whole season. They beat New Albany at home by two because of 17 points from senior Luke Gohmann and 14 points from junior Cobie Barnes. They lost to New Albany in sectionals, to finish 1-1 against the Bulldogs, swept Jeff, and beat Providence once.

Boys’ and girls’ swimming both had undefeated seasons. Boys won sectionals by 211 points over Jeff, 332 points over New Albany, and 455 over Providence. The girls won sectionals as well, but their results were much closer. They beat Jeff by 24 points, New Albany by 306.5, and Providence by 424.5 points.

Wrestling piled on to our successful winter sports. They won sectionals and beat New Albany in sectionals by 68.5 points. Freshman Gavinn Alstott lost in the first round of the state meet, and senior Tristan Sellmer finished fourth in state.

Softball is having a season similar to the rest of the teams on here. They beat Jeff and New Albany and won conference. They are currently on path to win sectionals and play in regionals.

Just a few weeks into baseball season, it looked liked the baseball team was going to have bad year. But, they beat New Albany 3-2 behind a complete game gem from junior Adam Spalding two weeks ago and could use his performance to spring into the postseason.

Boys’ golf is having a perfect season. They won conference and could potentially win sectionals over New Albany, Jeff, and Providence.

The girls’ tennis team won sectionals again this season. The Lady Highlanders also won conference over New Albany and Jeff.

The track seasons for both boys’ and girls’ is going almost as planned. The girls’ team lost conference to New Albany, but beat Jeff. Then, one week later, they beat the Bulldogs and Pioneers in sectionals. Yesterday, the Lady Highlanders won regionals over New Albany by seven points.

The boys have performed above predictions. The boys went into the conference meet predicted to lose to Jeff by 20 points, 143 points later, and the Highlanders were conference champions by 20 points. Then, a week later, the Highlanders won sectionals over New Albany and Providence with total control.

Unified track is having a season similar to the other track teams. They finished second in sectionals, and are advancing to regionals. They beat the New Albany team by 30.5 points.

This has been a great year to be a Highlander. We have dominated our big three rivals in almost every sport, and have won several conference and sectional titles. Hopefully this success will carry over into next year.

FC’s best athletes reflect over their success

By JD McKay

*Editor’s note: These are JD McKay’s top 10 FC athletes from each decade. Who are yours, and why? Comment in the comment section below to recognize other FC athletes.

Special thanks to athletic director Jeff Cerqueira for helping JD McKay get in contact with several athletes.

FC’s 50-year anniversary is coming to the end, and it has been a historic year in sports. FC has won nine conference titles this year and won seven sectionals, but success has been seen in other athletes before the 2017-18 school year. FC has had a Gatorade Athlete of the Year and a Mr. Indiana Basketball, plus a plethora of other All-State athletes.

Jerry Hale, 1971, Basketball

Jerry Hale was FC’s first all-state athlete, and a member of the FC Superhick team. On March 15, 1971 edition of the Daily Herald, Jerry Birge called Hale “a true superstar.”

“Leading that team to Semi-State was my greatest athletic moment. We had gotten a little better every year since our school was created,” said Hale. “We started sectionals by playing New Albany, who was ranked higher than us. Our school was in the middle of fields, so the kids down the hill decided they would make fun of our school by throwing fake pigs onto the ground around the school and wearing bib overalls. After we upset them, our students bought into the hick theme, and came up with the ‘Superhicks’. Then, we went and played number two Seymour. We were down 15 with five minutes left, and came back and won. We scored 41 points in the fourth quarter, and that was without the three point line.”

After graduating, Hale attended the University of Kentucky and played basketball. By his senior season, he was playing in the national championship against the UCLA Bruins.  

When Hale graduated from college, he worked for a coal company for 27 years. Then, he started consulting for National Steel. Now, he is the director of human resources for the Keeneland Association. He is retiring in August.

“I don’t have many plans for my retirement,” said Hale. “I’m probably going to head to Hilton Head Island for a few months. Do some relaxing and declutter my mind.”  

Advice to any student: “FC is a great school, and what you put into is what you get out of it.”

Marilyn James, 1972, Track

Marilyn James was FC’s first female all-state athlete. She was a member of the track team.

“I went to state in ‘72 and finished third in what is now the 200-meter dash. Then it was the 200-yard dash,” said James.

After she graduated, James did not go to college.

“I went to work after I graduated,” said James. “I worked at a department store while I was still in school, then I worked in the home office of Payless Oil Company. This is my 31st year at Mercer Transportation, and I’m retiring in three years.”

James was a member of the first class to start seventh grade at FC and has seen the school change since she graduated.

“I would not even know my way around there now,” said James. “When I go past the school, I cannot believe how the school has changed. But it is just amazing how the school has grown.”

Advice to any student: “Be the best you can be. Don’t ever give up.”

Pat Graham, 1989, Basketball

Pat Graham was an all-state athlete as a senior, winning Mr. Basketball, and became a McDonald’s All-American.

“My biggest achievements were being Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American. Mr. Basketball was a bigger award to me. That was my first time when I was on the floor and I realized I wasn’t the best player there. I still have a picture with all the players from both teams. When kids I coach come over and see it they are like, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” when they see Jimmy Jackson, Bobby Hurley, and Shaquille O’Neal in the picture with me.”

Staying near home was the clear choice for Graham, eventually choosing to play at Indiana University for coach Bobby Knight.

“I had it narrowed down to Purdue, Louisville, Indiana, and Kentucky, but after my junior season I decided it was either Indiana or Kentucky. I was really 50-50 between the schools. My family liked Indiana, but we weren’t fanboys. However, my dad liked how Coach [Bobby] Knight graduated his players. Then, probably two weeks before I was going to commit is when the UK scandal broke and the NCAA got involved. That made my choice very easy.”

About a month after graduating from FC, Graham went to Indiana University to start training with basketball coach Knight

After graduating from IU, Graham started working for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and did that for two years. Now, Graham works for Progressive Health Rehabilitation and has been doing that for 21 years.

Advice to any student: “In the next portion of your life, think about doing something you will be happy with in 10 or 15 years.”

Stacey Condra, 1988, Tennis

Stacey Condra was won of only five all-state female athletes from the 1980s, and that came from hard work everyday.

“I practiced for about two hours each day, seven days a week,” said Condra.

After Condra graduated from FC, she attended the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

“I got a full tuition scholarship,” said Condra. “I played tennis and got my undergraduate. Then I got my masters degree in exercise physiology and went to medical school.

Since Condra graduated from medical school she has had the same job.

“I am an internal medicine physician,” said Condra. “After I did my residency I have worked in Louisville at Baptist Hospital.”

FC set Condra up for success immediately after graduating.

“FC did a good job of combining athletics and academics. After I graduated, I felt very prepared to go to college and get a job,” said Condra.

Advice to any student: “Find something that you are passionate about and do that.”

Ben Jackson, 1994, Shotput and Discus

Ben Jackson was all-state twice in discus, and once in shot put and holds FC’s record in both events.

“I won state in discus, and won nationals with AAU and U.S.A. track and field in discus the summer my senior year,” said Jackson.

After Jackson graduated, he went to Indiana University and threw shot put, discus, and the 35-pound hammer.

After Jackson graduated from Indiana, he began teaching P.E. at Utica Elementary school.

“My whole family are teachers, so I like the educational part, and I was most interested in athletics so I thought it was a perfect combination,” said Jackson.

FC has had several talented throwers since, but Jackson was the first really talented thrower.

“Once one person is successful, it attracts more people,” said Jackson. “Steven Hnat, he wasn’t the second talented FC thrower. He went on to U of L and threw very well at U of L. Then, [Codie] Hamsley came along and was very good.”

Jackson’s success in high school came at a price. He worked very hard, typically with his dad.

“I remember when Pat Graham spoke to my elementary school. He said he was in the gym in the summer when his friends would be swimming with their friends or on vacation, pay the price. It was kind of the same thing for me and my brother [C.J. Jackson]. My friends would go on spring break. I can remember going out to the field and throwing with my dad,” said Jackson.

Advice to any student: “What you put into it is what you get out of it.”

Jill Schuler, 1993, Track

Jill Schuler was an all-state champion, seven times in three sports. Cross country, track, and basketball, but she was most talented at cross country.

“I won six national championships in track and cross country, individually. I was on a team that won two national championships, and I was a high school All-American,” said Schuler.

After graduating, Schuler attended Ole Miss to run cross country and track.

When Schuler graduated, she worked for YUM brands for a little over a year. Now, she is the Director of Financial planning at Spencerian College.

Schuler is the only athlete in FC’s history to be All-State in three sports.

“Obviously I’m proud of everything that I have accomplished,” said Schuler. “But I also know that I have put in a lot of effort into it. My dad was my coach, and he was right there with me every step of the way and put a lot of time in with me.”

Advice to any student: “It is important to take it all seriously, but not too seriously. You have got to have fun too.”

Jeffrey Thompson, 2009, Baseball

Jeffrey Thompson is the only athletes the school has ever produced earn a living playing his sport. Thompson plays pro-baseball for the Erie SeaWolves, the double A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, but was only all-state in football.

Thompson has enjoyed lots of success in both football and baseball throughout his career.

“My greatest achievement in high school was winning the sectionals in football. In baseball, it was the win against Vanderbilt my junior year in the the last game of the Super Regionals, so we could go to the College World Series,” said Thompson.

Thompson career at Louisville ended after losing the first two games of the College World Series, but he was third in career wins at U of L, fifth in career ERA, and fifth in career strikeouts.

“I was drafted in the third round in 2013 by the Detroit Tigers. I was talking to a couple teams in high school, but my parents were pretty set on me going to college and getting an education,” said Thompson. “Those couple of years at U of L really prepared me for the baseball lifestyle.”

“The minor leagues have been the opposite of what I expected. It has been a grind. But I wouldn’t change it for the World. I get to go play baseball everyday and hang out with my teammates a lot. I’m pretty much having for a job,” said Thompson.

Advice to any student: “Enjoy your time in high school, enjoy being young, and have fun hanging out with your friends.”
Melanie Stutsman, 2009, Volleyball

Melanie Stutsman was a two time all-state volleyball player and All-America, but that was not her greatest accomplishment.

“I went to state three years in a row, that was probably my greatest accomplishment,” said Stutsman.

When Stutsman graduated, he attended Western Kentucky University and played volleyball for four years.

After attending WKU, Stutsman worked at Highland Hills before coming to FC.

“I was an assistant in the Highland Hills PE department. I saw how much that fit my lifestyle because I love sports and athletics, and it just fit my personality,” said Stutsman.

Advice to any student: “Take high school seriously but have fun. Make sure you spend time with your friends.”

Codie Hamsley, 2013, Discus

Codie Hamsley was a two-time all-state athlete in discus, finishing second as a junior, and first as a senior.

“Coming into the state meet, I had a guy right on my tail. I threw 201 [feet] to advance, and he threw 200 [feet], so it was a battle.”

After winning state, Hamsley went to the University of Louisville to throw discus, but had his career cut short because of a shoulder injury.

Now, Hamsley is coaching shotput and discus for FC and working for Jarboe’s heating and air conditioning, but he has bigger plans for the future.

“I’m going to go back [to U of L] and finish my business and management degree. I want to either be the head coach of a college track team or own my own business.

Advice to any student: “Stay in the classroom and get your grades up. I didn’t have the best grades, and I regret that. Especially going into to college, grades are very important. For athletes, just put your head down and work all day.”

Olivia Boesing, Tennis, 2013

Olivia Boesing was all-state all four years she played tennis at FC, but her favorite sports achievement was not about herself.

“In 2013, we finished second in state, that was a very cool moment,” said Boesing.

After graduating from FC, Boesing went to the University of Louisville and played tennis for four years.

Now, Boesing has a job she has been wanting since she was a little kid.

“I’m a first grade teacher at Slate Run Elementary. Next year, I’ll be a fourth grade teacher at St. Barnabas Elementary in Indianapolis. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I love workin with kids and just being able to shape and mold them into the person God created them to be,” said Boesing.

Going to FC has made the past several years of Boesing’s life very easy.

“I think academically, FC puts you in a really good place going into college, and prepares you for jobs. Because of FC I haven’t had a tough time getting jobs because they set you up so well,” said Boesing.

Advice to any student: “Make sure school comes first. Athletics will eventually end, but athletes, make sure you work hard.”

Name Food Restaurant Movie/ TV show Vacation
Marilyn James Grilled Chicken Tucker’s Reality TV Florida
Jerry Hale Swiss Cheese Burger Vincenzo’s Hoosiers Beach with Family
Stacey Condra Ethnic foods Ramsi’s Cafe on the World Modern Family Italy
Pat Graham Chicken Wings Mr. B’s Chicago P.D. Cancún
Jill Schuler Mexican food Malone’s The Office Disney Cruise
Ben Jackson Pizza Qdoba Avengers Disney World
Melanie Stutsman Tacos El Nopal Grey’s Anatomy Mexico
Jeffrey Thompson Bar-B-Que Ribs The Seafood Lady Sportscenter Dominican Republic
Olivia Boesing Pickles Cheesecake Factory This is Us Hawaii
Codie Hamsley Steak Texas Roadhouse A Few Good Men University of Florida Invite

Column: Boys’ track and field set to win sectionals for the 16th straight time tonight

By JD McKay

Last week the Highlanders went into their conference meet, projected to lose by 20 to Jeffersonville, and pulled off the upset, eventually winning by 20 points.

The keys to success in that meet were athletes moving up in seeds and winning the field events and long distance events that they were projected to win.

In the meet tonight, the keys to success do not change. Win the events they are projected to win and move up in seeding in other events.

Throwing events have high expectations. Junior Cam Sturgeon should win discus, and finished first or second in shot put. Sturgeon’s counterpart, senior Clay Miller, should take top two in shot put as well.

The long distance events should have several victories as well. Senior Noah Mets should win the 800-meter run, sophomore David Heinemann will finish top three in the two mile, and his twin, Luke Heinemann will win the one mile.

The sprinters stole a lot of points in conference in their events. Behind junior Jon Gunn in the 100, junior Zach Little in the 200, sophomore Talon Hutto in hurdles, they should win several sprint events.

Bottom Line- The girls’ team won conference Tuesday night, and the boys should be able to match.  After a surprise victory in conference, the momentum boost should play a big part in the victory. The Highlander’s have won 15 sectional championships in row, and I see no reason why that number will end this year.

Unified Track Meet Photos

Photos by Sophia Perigo