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Baseball Photo Galleries Sports

Photo Gallery: Community, School Leaders Celebrate the Start of Baseball Facility Construction

On Thursday, November 21, school leaders gathered with past and present Jeff High baseball players to celebrate the beginning of construction for Jeff High’s new baseball facility. The project, which includes a new turf field and a replacement of the outer fencing, is being funded by a $500,000 donation from the John Schnatter Foundation. 

Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter, a 1980 Jeff High graduate and baseball player, was on hand for the event. Schnatter thanked attendees for their support and said it was good to be back at Jeff after 30 years.

Although the facility will be named the John Schnatter Stadium, the field will still be named after former coach Don Poole. Poole also spoke at the event. 

Construction is expected to be complete in time for the first home baseball game in the spring of 2020.

 

Story and photos by Kyle Tincher

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Opinion

My View: Disabled People Need Your Help, But Not The Kind You’re Thinking Of

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There are ordinary, everyday actions that people often don’t think about. Such as the ability to move your arms, legs, see and hear.

Now, pick one of those and think about what life would be like without it. For example, imagine you couldn’t walk very well, or not at all. Say you want to meet up with friends at a restaurant, and when you get there a flight of stairs stands between you and the entrance. Or what if you couldn’t see well and they have no enlarged menus?

This is what life is like every day for a person with a disability, including myself.

I was born at 28 weeks and weighed three pounds and a quarter of an ounce at birth. As a result of being so early, I have brain damage that causes me to have epilepsy, auditory neuropathy (a type of hearing loss) and cerebral palsy in my legs. But the point of this column is not to tell my life story. It is to talk about how disabled people are a minority and why the lack of accessibility is a problem.

The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 by former president George H.W. Bush. The five titles of the ADA cover employment, state and local government, public accommodations, telecommunications and miscellaneous provisions. Under this law, disabled people supposedly should not have to encounter many barriers in life. Right?

In 2017, there were an estimated 320 million Americans with a disability, or approximately 12.7 percent of the population. Despite this huge number of disabled people, there is still discrimination and lack of accessibility nearly 29 years after the ADA was made a law.

Bonny Folz, a physical therapist at the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies in Louisville, Ky., has practiced for more than 30 years. Over this time period, she said, “I feel that many positive things have happened, especially within our physical structures. However, I continue to see greater limitations in how we as individuals look at those who may appear, sound or move differently from ourselves or how we feel the norm is.”

Today’s society lacks the understanding and accommodations needed for people who are different – those who don’t fit what they see as the norm. It’s a reminder that not all people see disabled people as equal, or even as people. Unfortunately, the president is among those.

During a campaign rally in 2016, now president Donald Trump mocked the arm movements of a disabled New York Times reporter. Also, in 2018, some found his comments on the Paralympics offensive. He said, “it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.” How can discrimination get better for people with disabilities when our own president makes fun of disabled people? Society needs to learn to not judge people based on first impressions of how they talk, walk or look.

For example, a deaf woman named Amanda Koller recently told NPR about her struggles to get a job despite the fact that she’s working on her second master’s degree. She described how potential employers got frustrated with her needs and impatient while interviewing her.

How is this okay? An extremely smart, well-educated woman can’t get a job because employers simply get frustrated? This might seem like a rare occurrence, but a statistic provided by NPR showed that less than 40 percent of deaf people work full time.

In a USA Today article published on Jan. 8, a paraplegic named Tyler Schilhabel shared how lack of accessibility nearly ruined his honeymoon trip. On the first flight, he had to be carried off a plane by a flight attendant to ensure that he made his next flight on time. On his return trip, the plane didn’t have the aisle chair he requested, so he had to scoot down to the very back of the plane on the floor to reach his seat.

This is not right and something needs to change. All disabled people want to be is independent, and when we’re forced into situations that put us on the spot it’s humiliating and demeaning.

We have the ADA for a good reason, but society hasn’t caught up. We should be able to get jobs. We should be able to get on an airplane. We should be able to go out with friends and not worry about how we’re going to read the menu, or get into the building.

There needs to be change to prevent situations like those of Koller and Schilhabel. Even if you are not disabled, you can be an advocate for change.

“The environment will never be totally barrier free, but our eyes can be,” Folz said. “We all need to see the worth of those around us, no matter if they talk differently, (or) move differently….We all have strengths. We need to point those out, not distinguish.”

Written by Greta Reel

Photo by Kyle Tincher

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Sports

Basketball, Swimming and Wrestling Season Previews

Girls Basketball

The Lady Devils return to the court this season with many returning players – including senior Tori Handley and juniors Nan Garcia and Kelcie James – as well as returning coach Mike Warren. Based on early successes, the team looks poised for a sectional title this year. The Lady Devils have scored 60 or more points in games that they have won this year and look to continue their high-scoring streak as the season goes on.

The Lady Devils started the season off by defeating the 16th-ranked North Harrison Cougars 66-44. “It was a big win for us after being so close in previous years,” said team captain Tori Handley.

The sectional title is particularly important for the team this year, since it was taken from their grasp by a late, game-winning shot in last season’s sectional match-up against Bedford North Lawrence. “It was a terrible feeling, but we all know our roles and what we need to do to succeed as a team,” said Handley.

Written by Braxton Troutman

Boys Basketball

Every November, if a high school basketball team has lost a lot of senior talent, people call it a “rebuilding year.” Although Jeff High lost several seniors from last year’s strong team, not much rebuilding is needed this year. In fact, the 2018-2019 Jeffersonville Boys Varsity Basketball team, under the direction of coach Joe Luce, is poised for an exciting and successful season.

For returning junior starter Trè Coleman, this season he will have to take the court without the experience of his brother Jaden Coleman and the leadership of Bailey Falkenstein, whom they lost to graduation. Coleman said he is “expecting a great season and a good run when it comes to sectionals.” The Red Devils will have eight returning players on their Varsity bench and Coleman feels like the 2019 Seymour Sectionals is a wide-open playing field. “With all our returning talent, we should consistently get better during the season and be competing for a sectional title in March.”

Written by Hannah Thibideau

Swimming

The Jeff High team is diving into another season for boys and girls swimming by getting back to their routines: morning practices, workouts, and vigorous afternoons in the pool. Their coach, Mike Pepa, couldn’t be happier with the work ethic on his team. “It’s difficult. We put in a lot of hours, probably the most hours of any team in the school,” Pepa said. “But it’s a lot of fun and good camaraderie. You’re part of one of the most successful teams in the school if you join, but it takes a heck of a commitment.”

To get to their level of expertise in their sport, they don’t take the season lightly. When the end of October comes around, the girls team starts warming up. “I’m really excited to have a great season with the girls, everyone is so fantastic and sweet,” senior Haley Vescelus said, “ we have a strong team and I’ll be sad when it’s over.”

Starting the season off right, the girls won against Bedford North Lawrence in their first meet. The boys team season starts two weeks after the girls, by the beginning of November. Both teams are in the water working to better the team and themselves.

Last year’s state qualifier, Kameron Case, has high hopes for his senior year swimming. He plans to continue his career in the pool in college. “I’m looking forward to this season,” Case said, “ I hope this year will better prepare me for college level competition.”

While the team practices for hours and days, all of that work goes toward a smaller, yet larger, goal: shaving off mere seconds (or fractions of seconds) from their time on meet days. A swimmer must rely on their own strength and put those hours of training into trying to beat competitors on the clock. “You’re always trying to beat your best time,” Pepa said. “You’re not just benefiting the team but improving yourself as well.”

Written by Haylee Hedrick

Wrestling

The Jeffersonville High School Wrestling team is coming off yet another successful season. After a phenomenal 2016-2017 season, where the team qualified 14/14 Wrestlers to Regionals, the current 2018 team has qualified 13/14 wrestlers last season. “Team 60” also had 11 sectional champions.

As the wrestlers succeed on the mat, the team also gets it done in the classroom. Last year, there were six Academic All-State wrestlers, and the team also had the top two team GPAs in the state for the past three years.

With Coach Struck coming off of his sixth sectional championship, he looks forward to the new season. “My goals only change slightly from year to year. But our vision stays the same,” he said. “My goal is to make it to state, national and international championships, but the purpose of our program is to inspire our athletes to be the best versions of themselves they can be.”

Despite losing a class of wrestlers to college, there is still a major upside for the new and improved squad. Senior wrestler Isaac Hall says, “I feel we have a really strong lineup and I think it’s going to be a shock to everyone because of how many first year varsity wrestlers we have. They just haven’t had their time to shine and I think they are going to show out in a big way this year.”

Written by Jack Ellis

Boys Basketball Photo by Kyle Tincher
Swimming and Girls Basketball Photos by Amber Rowe
Wrestling Photo Submitted

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Baseball Sports

MULTIMEDIA: JHS’ Baseball Brotherhood

story by Tristan Jackson

video by Bella Bungcayao, Tristan Jackson and Kyle Tincher

Four brothers. One bond.

For many boys growing up in Southern Indiana, one sport has become a way for them to connect and make friends. As spring hits they flock to the field to play their favorite sport: baseball

From the Little League fields of Jeff/GRC to Jeff High’s own Don Poole Field, seniors Gabe Bierman, Bailey Falkenstein, Hunter Schmitz, and Trey Bottorff have played together since they were seven years old.

“All sports give you a special connection with, and baseball has really brought us closer together,” Schmitz said.

The bond between the four players can be seen as they take the field together, and in the dugout as they get the team hyped for the game ahead of them.

“Team chemistry is one of the most important things in all sports, and it’s going to help us win,” Bottorff said. “I know what brings Gabe, Bailey, and Hunter down and I know how to bring them up.”

Hit after hit, play after play, each guy does his part to make the teammates around them better. And this is very noticeable between these four.

“We play baseball and then we go hang out together. I mean we’re always around each other,” Falkenstein said.

For the past 11 years, these guys have been nearly inseparable. Even though this will mark their last year of competitive baseball together, the quartet will be friends for life.   

“We’ve been playing for so long together, it’s a lifelong connection,” Bierman said. “I’ll be with these guys for the rest of my life.”

Gabe, Hunter, and Trey all plan on attending Indiana University next fall, with Gabe being the lone Red Devil taking his play to the next level and playing for the Hoosiers.

Trey and Hunter with both be going to further their education, going to study pre-law and sports management, respectively, while still cheering on their brother, who has MLB aspirations.

“It’s a dream still, and in order to make that happen, hard work must be put in,” Bierman said on his hopes to play professionally in an interview with The Hyphen earlier in the year.

Bailey will go a different route, and attend Olney Central Junior College in Illinois, where he continue both his baseball and basketball careers.

While this year will likely mark their last year of baseball together, the bond they made will last forever.

“We are not just teammates, we are brothers,” Bottorff said.

In this, their last go-round, they will look to compete for a state championship as a part of the No. 7 ranked Red Devils, who have gotten out to a 17-4 record start this season, and have already clinched the Hoosier Hills Conference.

Four brothers. One bond. And it all comes down to this season: the final chapter.