Brother Matt places fifth in the Boys 3200 Run –
By Mark Carpenter –
There has been a long a storied history of successes in the annal of sports, both team and individual, here in Adams County but not until last weekend could the county make a claim to an Ohio High School Athletic Association State Champion. They can now.
In her third consecutive appearance in the Division III OHSAA State Track and Field Meet in Columbus, Peebles junior Jenny Seas made the third time a charm, winning the state championship in the Girls 3200 Meter Run last Saturday morning at Jesse Owens Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.
Seas won the race going away with a time of 11:04.93, which she admits was not her best race but it was good enough to earn her the title of “State Champion.”
“It has all been very exciting,” Jenny told The Defender. “I was looking forward to winning and I did and it’s just crazy to think I am the first state champion from the county.”
In her sophomore season, Seas was runner-up in the state meet in the 3200, then dropped to third place last season, before coming into this year’s race as the clear favorite after the two girls who finished ahead of her in 2017 both graduated.
“Coming in I knew I had a pretty good chance especially since I knew my closest competitor had already been in the 4 x 800 relay and the mile run so I was pretty confident.”
For Saturday’s race, Jenny admits to not being 100% after battling allergies the entire week before.
“All week I had allergies and I was just really, really tired. That probably led to my time being not as good as usual but you can’t be upset with a state title. When you get to the state meet, you just have to compete, and whatever happens, happens. In the second to last lap, my legs felt a little dead but I had a big enough lead to get past that.”
Jesse Owens Stadium is equipped with a big-screen video board and Jenny used those boars as an assurance that she was on her way to victory.
“About the fifth lap, I looked at the big screen and saw that I had a pretty big lead and then I was like, ‘I got this.’”
“Afterwards, I was just like ‘Wow, I won’ and I am not sure that it all has really sunk in yet, but winning a state title has always been one of my goals.”
Seas ended up winning the 3200 by a comfortable margin of nine seconds over the runner-up, sophomore Emma Watcke of Minster High School. She trailed after the first lap but quickly found herself in the familiar spot at the front of the pack for the final seven laps, capping a junior season that saw her win the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, plus the Division III district and regional championships.
“Saturday was not my best time, maybe that was a combination of the heat, some nerves, and the allergies,” said Jenny.
Jenny was not the only member of the Seas family to be on the track at OSU on Saturday. Her brother Matt, a senior in his final high school race, finished in fifth place and earned a spot on the podium, with a time of 9:37.17, with race favorite Chad Johnson from Colonel Crawford taking the state title with a time of 9:05.43.
“I’m not a very emotional person about it being the last race, so the fact that I can compete and be rewarded is what I will miss the most,” Matt told The Defender. “When I get to the college level, it will be a lot more competitive for me.”
“Based upon how I felt Saturday, I think it was the best race I could have ever ran. Split wise, I ran almost perfectly even splits so it couldn’t have been better in that regard. My time Saturday was even six seconds better than what I ran at regionals, but still four seconds slower than my personal best. The heat was tough to deal with on Saturday and the competition at the state meet is so tough.”
“When Chad dropped out of the 1600 Meter Run, everyone knew that he was likely going to win the 3200, no question. So everyone else was fighting for second through eighth to get on the podium, a huge pack of guys.”
The Seas siblings were coached this season by Tyler Wilson, who as one might imagine, was pretty happy about having a state champion and a fifth place finisher on Saturday.
“This year has been a lot of fun,” said Wilson. “I am so proud of Jenny for what she has accomplished, but also for the type of kid she is. It’s pretty cool to have a realistic goal all year long to win state in the 3200 and then to go out and do it. She has worked extremely hard to get to where she is at. It’s such a great thing for her and her family as well as for Peebles High School. It is inspiring and I hope it will help to continue to help build up our track program. State Champion- unbelievable!”
“Matt had a good day Saturday as well. He finished fifth and was very proud of his time. He too ahs worked extremely hard to get to this point and has been great to have on our team and he as well as all our seniors will be missed.”
Jenny and Matt are the daughter and son of ACOVSD Superintendent Richard Seas and his wife Lorna, and they are a very proud pair after the events of Saturday morning.
“This is the eight year in a row that one of our children has run in the state meet and every time it is always an honor to make it, and we have had some runner-ups but never got the icing on the cake,” said Mr. Seas. “Saturday’s race was really fun to watch because Jenny had such a lead that we could really savor that last two laps. We were just soaking it and in and saying, ‘Wow.’ Our kids have all worked hard. For Matt it was his second best time ever and he literally left it all on the track as a senior in his final race, ran really smart and did what he had to do to make the podium and I think fifth is pretty respectable.”
“Competition matters and we’ve been allowed to take Matt and Jenny to some other meets with some tough competition, but Saturday was fun and a really proud moment for us. We so appreciate the support that we have gotten from everyone around the county. Jenny will enjoy this for a few days and then go back to work, and I am glad that the hard work that she and Matt put in has been a positive influence on the others in the program. My wife helps with the coaching duties and she is great influence on all the kids.”
With a state championship under her belt, Jenny now looks head to next season and a new set of goals, but first she will be traveling to North Carolina to compete in the New Balance Nationals in the two-mile run. Last fall, she qualified for the state cross-country meet but was injured and not able to participate, so a trip to that state meet is one of her goals.
“I really would like to try and get that state cross-country title, that’s always been a goal,” she says. “I want my times to get better and it would be nice to win the 3200 at state again.”
(Thanks to Caitlin Forsha from the Highland County Press for her assistance with this report.)