The biggest local sports moments of 2019

From Herald staff reports

Local athletes and teams closed out the 2010s decade in fashion with a big 2019. Here are some of the area’s biggest sports moments of 2019:

Heritage Hills softball wins first regional title

The Patriots held off Jasper to win a softball regional crown for the first time in school history. Heritage Hills made sure to avenge its loss to the Wildcats from the previous year to advance to uncharted territory for its first-ever semistate appearance.

Jasper moves to new conference

The Big Eight Conference will cease after the 2019-20 school year. The Wildcats are moving into the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference at the start of the 2020-21 school year. Vincennes Lincoln will also be joining the SIAC. The two schools will be joining eight schools in the Evansville area in the conference next season.

Local basketball milestones

The last couple of months of 2019 provided milestone achievements for local basketball players and coaches. Murray Becher became the leading scorer in boys basketball history at Heritage Hills. Southridge junior Colson Montgomery scored his 1,000th point. Southridge girls coach Greg Werner returned to the bench after a three-year hiatus and won his 300th career game. Heritage Hills coach Kim Brown also picked up the 100th win of her career.

Jasper wrestling sees first state qualifier since 2013

The Wildcats sent a pair of wrestlers to state in 2013 in Nathan Schitter and Grant Brescher, but underwent a dry spell after that. That all changed when Zachary Flynn broke through and advanced to state in the 182-pound class. Flynn was one of two local wrestlers to become a state qualifier in 2019, along with Aidian Rea from Heritage Hills.

Remembering those we lost

Some headlines were more somber in 2019. Forest Park junior wrestler Anderson Peters, 16, passed away on Nov. 4, and local schools in the community gathered later that week to pay their respects at the football sectional championship between Southridge and Heritage Hills. Devyn Newberry, 27, a member of the 2015 Ohio Valley League champion Dubois County Bombers, was taken off of life support Dec. 15 following a car wreck.

Jasper, Southridge play final football game

The aforementioned conference move for Jasper forced schedule changes in football for coming seasons. The Wildcats and Raiders played one final game for the Goal Posts Trophy in 2019. Jasper went into the game with a 40-7 all-time series lead, but it was Southridge that got the final say with a 21-17 victory.

Several local athletes become Division I-bound

How talented are the athletes in this area? The number of local athletes who made the decision to sign a letter of intent with an NCAA Division I program speaks for itself. There was Southridge’s Tucker Schank, who signed to play baseball at Indiana University, or Heritage Hills’ Emma Eubank, who signed her letter of intent to pitch at Ball State University. The University of Evansville is getting a Northeast Dubois runner in Shelby Livingston. Jackson Miller will run for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and fellow Wildcat Claire Knies will join Bellarmine University when it moves to Division I play next year.

Heritage Hills football finishes Class 3A state runner-up

The Patriots, having had an undefeated regular season in 2018, saw their perfect record go up in smoke with a loss to Gibson Southern in the sectional semifinal, but would not be denied this year. Heritage Hills erased a 13-point deficit and blocked a kick en route to winning its first sectional title since 2014, and advanced to state for the first time since 2004. Heritage Hills took home a runner-up finish after a 34-3 loss to Bishop Chatard.

Southridge baseball gets second straight state runner-up

The Raiders took a Class 2A state runner-up finish on the diamond for the second year in a row in 2019. Southridge was up, 3-2, against Alexandria Monroe, but its defense could not quite seal the deal, ending its season in a heartbreaker with a 4-3 loss. The Raiders fell to Boone Grove, 5-4, in 2018.

Six decades in the making

The world is very different in 2019 than it was in 1952. But amidst all those changes in the intervening years, Jasper boys could not qualify for state in cross country as a team. That finally changed that this year when the Wildcats pulled through at semistate. The past met the present on Oct. 29, when members of the 1952 team met with runners from the 2019 squad at Jasper High School. The Wildcats finished 17th as a team, and Jackson Miller was 25th overall at state.

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