By Mark Carpenter –
Champion: a winner of first prize or first place in competition; one who shows marked superiority.
Determination: firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.
Dedication: self-sacrificing devotion and loyalty.
Integrity: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.
Character: moral excellence and firmness. Winner: one that is successful especially through praiseworthy ability and hard work.
All of the above definitions come from good ol’ Mr. Webster, but if he updated his dictionary today, he would need to put a picture of Jenny Seas beside each one. As you know by now (just look to the right on this page) Jenny is Adams County’s first-ever state champion in an individual or team event, as she rolled to a title in the 3200 Meter Run in Saturday’s state meet in Columbus. For those of you not familiar with track and field terminology, 3200 means two miles or eight laps around the track. Personally, I couldn’t run 3200 feet but I am not a member of the Seas family, whose motto is “run, run, run, run!”
What an amazing accomplishment for a junior in high school to now have the distinction of being the county’s first state champion, a young lady whose hard work and dedication to her sport led her to the ultimate championship for any high school athlete. How great she must have felt when she glanced up at the video board in Jesse Owens Stadium and realized that she was well on her way to being a state champion, and then when she crossed that finish line and knew that a lofty goal she had set for herself had just came to fruition.
When I first saw Jenny run back in her junior high days, I could see right away that she was something special, and I am certainly no expert on running. Her ability amazes me, looking so effortless while still working so hard. Often times I would tell her when I got a chance to talk to her after a race, “Please, at least break a sweat.” I see other runners collapsing after they cross the finish line, but not Jenny, she is as fresh as she was when the starting gun fired off. Simply amazing.
I think the biggest thing that I have noticed in the races where I saw Jenny run this year was her smile. Though she was as determined a runner as any, she always seemed to let a little smile in slip in on her way around the track. Maybe that was because she saw my camera and was just hamming it up for me a bit, but I don’t think so. I think she was just plain in her “happy place” making her way around that track. The first thing I noticed when I saw her photo standing at the top of the podium on Saturday was her smile-beaming for ear to ear and as wide as the state of Ohio. And why not?
I was able to catch up with Jenny and her very proud family by phone on Sunday evening and the first thing I noticed was how bubbly and excited she still was a day after the race, telling me that maybe it still hadn’t all quite sunk in yet. That’s okay- don’t let it all sink in for awhile, just sit back and savor a moment you will never forget for the rest of your life. it was exciting to talk to her father and hear the pride in his voice as he recalled his emotions as he watched his daughter become a state champion. I can’t imagine how happy the Seas household has been since Saturday.
He may have been overshadowed a bit by his younger sister, but let’s not forget that there was another Seas on the track at OSU on Saturday and he was closing out his high school career in grand fashion. Older brother and senior Matt finished fifth in the 3200 Meter Run, with one of the best races of his career, saving his best for last. One of the most intelligent high school athletes I have ever talked to, Matt will keep running, all the way to the roster at Case Western this fall.
For Jenny, she can come back one more year and do this all again. She was unable to compete in the state cross-country meet last fall because of injury and I am saying right now that she is the favorite to win that title and then an odds-on favorite to make it back-to-back state championships in the 3200. That will be quite a legacy that she will leave Adams County when she moves on to a college career. And keep your eyes open next year, you may think you are seeing double on the track, as younger sister Katy moves into the high school running ranks.
All in all, it has been a wonderful few days for the Seas family, all of the Peebles fans, and really, Adams County in general. If you happen to see Jenny, make sure that you give her your heartiest congratulations. She is a true champion.