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Indian Creek senior Owen Sego misplaced his father, Neil Sego, in a airplane crash on Thursday.
Kyle Neddenriep, kyle.neddenriep@indystar.com

When Owen Sego says his father by no means overlooked a carrying tournament of his in his existence, it’s not an exaggeration. Soccer, wrestling, monitor, no matter else, Neil Sego was once at all times there. For those who didn’t see Neil, it’s good to pay attention him.

“He was once the person who knew everyone’s identify at the group,” Owen mentioned.

The night time of Oct. four was once other in some way Owen can have by no means imagined — and no 17-year-old will have to. At Indian Creek (Trafalgar, Indiana) Prime College’s senior night time, a recreation that are meant to had been stuffed with smiles and party, Owen ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns in a blowout 57-Eight win over Handbook.

It was once the primary recreation Neil overlooked. The day prior to, he was once certainly one of 5 individuals who died in a single-engine airplane crash north of Lansing, Michigan.

“I seemed up within the crowd like 30 occasions to peer if he was once there,” Owen mentioned. “It felt so other. I may just at all times pay attention him from the stands. He was once actually the entirety to me. My mentor, my trainer, my dad. The entirety I do know is from him.”

Owen was once no longer making plans to play in that recreation. He was once along with his circle of relatives in Lansing. He instructed pals he was once no longer going to play. “My circle of relatives was once speaking and mentioned they wish to see me in the market,” Owen mentioned. “So I assumed, ‘What would my dad need me to do?’ He would wish me to be sturdy and cross out and play.”

Any other tragedy

At the Segos’ five-hour force again house, Indian Creek main Luke Skobel referred to as to alert them that the varsity — and the soccer group — have been hit by means of a 2nd tragedy in 24 hours. Owen’s senior teammate and locker-room neighbor, Avery Whitten, misplaced his mom, Tamara Whitten, on Friday morning because of center failure.

Owen referred to as trainer Brett Cooper to alert him he deliberate to play however could be slicing it with regards to kickoff time. Then he requested to talk with Avery.

“That is not up to 24 hours after Owen came upon his dad died,” Cooper mentioned. “And he’s empathizing with Avery.”

Avery, a 6-foot-1, 265-pound defensive finish, was once the one teammate Owen spoke with when he arrived 10 mins prior to kickoff. “It more or less is helping realizing someone else goes via what you’re going via,” Owen mentioned. “Neither folks anticipated this.”

The injuries are nonetheless contemporary. There is not any textbook resolution on methods to take care of tragedy. On this case, tragedy occasions two. Cooper left it as much as Owen and Avery whether or not they sought after to play that night time. There was once no proper or improper resolution. However there’s convenience in normalcy.

“My mother (Connie) is a trainer’s spouse,” Cooper mentioned. “She mentioned, ‘Now and again phrases don’t subject. They simply desire a hug.’ That resonated lovely totally with the ones two children. Not anything we are saying is essentially going to assist. However the enhance they really feel can.”

Leaning on neighborhood

Avery was once getting puzzling messages all through his trade magnificence on Oct. four. Messages like, “I’m sorry.” Avery, the fourth of 8 siblings, began texting his older brothers and frightened one thing had came about to his mom.

“A few mins prior to the bell, Trainer Cooper got here in with our assistant athletic director and vice main and instructed me what came about,” Avery mentioned.

Avery’s 52-year-old mom had died. Probably the most tough a part of the day, Avery mentioned, was once seeing his more youthful sister Charlotte, who grew to become nine that day.

“We sat there crying within the administrative center,” Avery mentioned. “I used to be considering, ‘She’s by no means going to have every other customary birthday in her existence.’”

Tamara was once an avid horse instructor and lively within the rodeo. Despite the fact that his folks had divorced, Avery mentioned Friday night time soccer at all times introduced the circle of relatives in combination. “I at all times felt like I had my very own cheering bloc,” he mentioned.

Avery mentioned he owes his Indian Creek circle of relatives a large “thanks” for the enhance.

“The group in truth is an extension of my circle of relatives,” he mentioned. “The one reason why I performed that night time and got here to college on Monday is as a result of I knew I may just to find convenience in them and the academics, counselors and directors. I don’t suppose I may just stay doing this if no longer for them.”

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Indian Creek senior Avery Whitten misplaced his mom, Tamara Whitten, on Friday and performed within the Braves’ win over Handbook.
Kyle Neddenriep, kyle.neddenriep@indystar.com

Avery knew Neil Sego. In fact. Everyone knew Neil. “He was once a large a part of this neighborhood,” Avery mentioned.

When Owen first heard that his father have been in an twist of fate, he wrongly assumed it have been a bike twist of fate. He didn’t understand his father was once headed out of the town on a flight that morning. The preliminary phrase was once that Neil was once in vital situation. Owen and his mom, Nicole, and older brother, Ethan, had slightly began out towards Lansing after they gained the decision that Neil had died.

Nearly instantly, Owen felt the affection and enhance from the neighborhood. Pals, teammates, classmates and coaches reached out to percentage tales about Neil and be offering enhance.

“It’s so overwhelming,” Owen mentioned. “I in point of fact does imply so much. It is a small college the place everyone is aware of everyone. The rest I would like, I’ve were given.”

Nonetheless, there was once an empty feeling on recreation night time. It was once no longer the similar with out his dad. “I do know he was once there in spirit,” Owen mentioned. “However it didn’t really feel proper, both. It felt like he will have to had been there.”

Avery felt that, too. Only a week prior to, Tamara had attended a recreation and instructed Avery she had a good time and deliberate to be there for senior night time. “I instructed her I used to be having a look ahead to it,” Avery mentioned. “Once I came upon what came about, I simply instructed my circle of relatives I had to get in the market and play.”

Name Big name reporter Kyle Neddenriep at 317-444-6649.