Our athletes winning state, national championships

J. Patrick Eaken

From 10 local schools and our scattered cities, villages and hamlets in four counties, it is amazing what athletes from the Eastern Maumee Bay Community can accomplish in one year.
There are state championships, national championships, athletes competing at the highest professional level, and amateurs winning national titles, or placing nationally.
Here are the top sports events for the year 2019, as The Press sees it —

  1. Genoa wrestling wins its second straight Division III state tournament and second straight D-III state dual team tournament championship, bringing home its third and fourth state championship trophies in two years.

At the state duals, Genoa broke two state records — scoring the most points and winning by the biggest margin in a preliminary round by defeating Marion Pleasant 72-6 in the state quarterfinals. The Comets won their 57th straight dual match in the state championship, defeating Edison 52-23. In the three matches, Genoa piled on 86 bonus points, helped by 20 pins.
In the state tournament, six Comets, Oscar Sanchez (47-3), Julian Sanchez (56-0), Dylan D’Emilio (27-1), Dustin Morgillo (50-3), Kevin Contos (48-2) and James Limongi (43-0), won individual state championships. Genoa scored a D-III state record 172 points, winning 30 of 35 matches.

  1. Kayla Bekier (Lake) and Taylor Momany (Lake) on Owens Community College volleyball team that wins NJCAA Division III national championship. Owens finishes the season 43-4 and Bekier is named an All-American and it was her kill that scored the final point to win the national title.
  2. Oak Harbor’s Peyton Bloomer wins the D-II state championship in the high jump. Her winning jump of 5 feet, 5 inches tied her school record she set more than a year earlier.
  3. Four local football teams finish the regular season 10-0, but only two get into playoffs. Eastwood, Gibsonburg, Northwood, Oak Harbor win league championships and Eastwood and Oak Harbor advance into playoffs. Oak Harbor football reaches state semifinal game, finished 13-1, losing to eventual state champion Kirtland.
  4. Cardinal Stritch reaches Division III state basketball tournament, finishing the season 24-4 and losing to Cleveland Heights Lutheran East, 58-53, at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center. Four seniors, 5-foot-10 point guard Jordan Burton, 6-3 senior forward Little Anderson, 6-8 forward Ashton Caryer and 6-7 forward Nolan Finch were looking to continue their careers in college.
  5. Natasha Howard (Waite) named WNBA’s top defensive player, plays in AT&T WNBA All-Star Game as starter, receiving the maximum votes from the WNBA’s head coaches. With the Seattle Storm, she won her second straight WNBA title in 2018 and her first title with the Minnexota Lynx in 2017.
  6. Chris Bassitt (Genoa) is a big part of Oakland A’s starting rotation as A’s get into playoffs, losing in wildcard game. Bassitt finished the season 10-5, starting for the A’s in 25 games. In 144 innings, he had 141 strikeouts and a 3.81 ERA.
  7. Woodmore 1975 graduate Jon Giesler (Michigan) is inducted into the Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame in front of 70,000 fans. Giesler started at left tackle 10 years for the Dolphins, protecting the legendary quarterback Dan Marino’s blind side.
  8. Clay wrestling got its fourth collegiate All-American in Matt Stencel, Central Michigan (NCAA D-I). Also becoming collegiate All-Americans were Nick Henneman, Lourdes University (NAIA) and Nick Stencel, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (NCAA D-III). Garret Gray, who won an NCAA D-II national championship at Tiffin University, is now a coach for the nationally ranked Dragons.
  9. Bowling Green State University volleyball player Katelyn Meyer (Eastwood) is first team All-Mid-American Conference and on the All-MAC Tournament Team. BGSU libero Kallie Seimet (Clay) was honored as the first player in MAC history to win back-to-back MAC player of the year awards and also win the MAC Defensive player of the year award.
  10. Holly Vargo-Brown (Waite) coaches the Ohio State synchronized swimming team to a national championship in San Antonio, Texas. The Buckeyes topped second place Stanford, 98-88.
  11. Owens Community College sophomore basketball player Taylor Works (Waite) is an All-American as she leads the Express to an NJCAA runner-up finish. Works averages 17.4 points and is the team leader in assists.
  12. Elmore resident Sara Rozanski topped all female competitors in the National Trophy Individual Match (NTI) with a new record score of 49-6-22X, winning the Women’s Trophy at the national matches at Camp Perry on July 30.
  13. Genoa’s Mike Deiter (Wisconsin), after being named the Big Ten’s Best Lineman, is drafted and starts for Miami Dolphins in his first season in NFL.
  14. University of Toledo sophomore outfielder Bekah Yenrick (Clay) is a key starting element to the Rockets earning a bid to the NCAA Division I softball tournament.
  15. Oregon residents Katelyn Garza and Sydney Vargas are on Notre Dame Academy’s rowing team that brings home third place (bronze) in the Scholastic Rowing Association of American National Championship regatta held on Dillon Lake in Nashport, Ohio over Memorial Day weekend.
  16. Gibsonburg 10-year-old Elly Evarts took second place at the 9-10 year old national pitch, hit and run championships during all-star weekend in Cleveland, losing by a narrow margin to a girl from Massachusetts.
  17. At the state wrestling tournament, a total of 29 local wrestlers from nine schools qualify for state with 15 placing, including Eastwood’s Gavin Owens (47-3), who was state runner-up.

Other placers were Jacob Moon (48-5), Clay, third; Cameron Dickman (29-3), Oak Harbor, third; Bradley Mendoza (45-2), Gibsonburg, third; Noah Koch (48-4), Genoa, third; Brandon Hahn (43-7), Eastwood, fourth; Antonio Lecki (40-4), Lake, sixth; Alex Szigeti (38-18), Clay, eighth; and Jake Sage (36-12), Oak Harbor, eighth.
Meanwhile, four local teams won league championships — Clay won its ninth league title in 10 years, Waite won a Toledo City League championship, Genoa won the Northern Buckeye Conference title, and in its first year, Gibsonburg took the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division championship.

  1. Lake club hockey team wins a game played for Walbridge resident and firefighter Josh Hillabrand, a former Lake hockey player who was assaulted and badly injured outside First Energy Stadium after a Cleveland Browns football game. Hillabrand also played football, finishing his gridiron career for Genoa as part of a 13-1 team that won a D-IV regional championship.
  2. Genoa’s golf team reaches D-II state meet, finishing seventh, and St. Ursula freshman Peyton Donnelly (from Curtice), Gibsonburg senior Sydney Leyerle, and Lakota senior Kyleigh Dull reach state tournament, and Dull wins individual championship, Leyerle finishes eight out of 71 golfers competing.
  3. At the state track meet, besides champion Peyton Bloomer, four other Oak Harbor relay teams, two boys and two girls, and a Lake relay team also qualifies for the D-II state meet. Eastwood girls track wins its 19th straight league championship. They are among over three dozen local athletes qualifying for state.

Oak Harbor’s 4x100 relay team of junior Sophia Eli, sophomore Paige Clune, freshman Hannah Schulte and sophomore Elayna Krupp took 12th (50.12) in Friday’s prelims. The 4x400 relay of sophomore Emily Haar, junior Hope Sievert and sophomores Abby Below and Elayna Krupp finished 10th (4:04.30) in the prelims.
Krupp finished 15th (12.96) in the prelims of the 100 dash, while Below was 12th (59.82) in the 400 prelims. Sophomore Emma Zibbel placed ninth (5-2) in the high jump, Sievert was 17th (2:28.13) in the 800 finals, and junior Emily Wolf placed ninth (125-7) in the discus and 17th (34-11) in the shot put.
Lake’s 4x200 relay team also competed in the D-II girls meet, taking 10th in the prelims. Junior Colette Askins, freshmen Ava Ayers and Olivia Hayward and senior Mya Staczek finished in 1:45.49.
Oak Harbor senior Brandon Elmes and the 4x100 relay of Elmes, senior Ajay Riechman and juniors Tyler May and Aidan Barton set school records during the D-II boys events.
Elmes qualified to Saturday’s finals in the 300 hurdles after taking sixth (39.08) in the prelims. He finished fifth on Saturday with a school-record time of 38.76. He also competed in the 110 hurdles and took 11th (43.33) in the prelims.
The 4x100 relay advanced to Saturday’s finals after placing eighth (43.33) in Friday’s prelims. The Rockets’ foursome then took fourth in the finals with a school-record time of 42.76. Oak Harbor’s 4x200 relay of senior Nick Pfeiffer, Riechman, Barton and May took 10th in the prelims in 1:29.90. The 4x400 relay of Pfeiffer, May, Riechman and senior Marcus Hartlage took 15th (3:29.51) in the prelims.
In D-III, Northwood senior Trinity Fowler places third in the 800, Woodmore junior Cole Sotak placed fifth in the pole vault, Woodmore sophomore Ava Beam placed 11th in the 1,600, junior Claire Rothert was 16th in the 300 hurdles prelims, and sophomore Olivia Thatcher placed 14th in the 3,200 finals. Genoa’s 4x100 relay of senior Reaghan Pietrowski, sophomores Taylor Simmons and Sara Partin and junior Rylee Fredericksen and the 4x200 relay of Fredericksen, Simmons, freshman Lacy Frias and Pietrowski qualified. Pietrowski was 13th in the 200 dash prelims.
In the D-III boys meet, Gibsonburg’s 4x100 relay of junior Theo Hernandez, seniors Brad Mendoza and Brady Jaso and junior Jon Auld placed ninth (44.32) in the prelims. The relay then took ninth (44.22) in Saturday’s finals. Northwood senior Joey Heise took 18th in the prelims of the 300 hurdles.

  1. Woodmore girls cross country team qualifies for state in Division III, Eastwood senior Luke Coffman qualifies in D-II.
  2. Eastwood girls soccer finishes 20-1 with a strong sophomore-laden lineup, Megan Rutherford named D-III coach of the year, Julie Cross is Northwest District Asst. Coach of Year, and sophomore Kenna Souder first team All-Ohio. Oak Harbor girls soccer reaches regional tournament.
  3. Jim Welling (Eastwood) is inducted into the National Junior College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 20 years as head coach at Owens Community College, his teams went 550-127 (.820) and won NJCAA national championships in 1992 and 1993.
  4. Daniel (Noe) Otte (Woodmore) and James O’Brien (Eastwood) are inducted into Ohio Northern University’s Hall of Fame.
  5. Six local players suit up for BGSU-UT rivalry — BGSU freshman defensive lineman Andrew Bench (Genoa), Toledo redshirt freshman Andrew Cluckey (Clay), who kicks off for the Rockets, Toledo freshman wide receiver Adam Ummel (Clay), Toledo redshirt freshman kicker D.J. Wellons (Woodmore), Toledo offensive lineman Dalton Andrews (Eastwood), and BGSU freshman linebacker Justin Schiets (Central Catholic, from Woodville).
  6. Central Catholic baseball player Jase Bowen, from Northwood, is drafted and signs with Pittsburgh Pirates.
  7. Kate Achter (Clay/Bowling Green) as head coach takes over and turns around the Loyola-Chicago women’s basketball team, which was 2-28 her first season, and the Ramblers win their first eight games, opening the 2019-20 season 9-2
  8. Lake baseball team, ranked 11th in final D-III state poll, finishes season 27-1 and 14-0 in NBC. It is Flyers’ fourth NBC title since 2012. It is the first unbeaten regular season in coach Greg Wilker’s 35 years.
  9. Remarkable four-year runs ends for Eastwood’s senior softball players, finishing 26-1. The Eagles have won 56 straight NBC games and four straight championships.
  10. Pemberville American Legion Post 183 baseball team qualifies for the state tournament.
  11. Ohio softball coaches honor Clay’s Brenda Radabaugh with induction into the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association hall of fame.
  12. Genoa and Oak Harbor celebrate the 100th anniversary of their first football game. The Press puts out a special section honoring 100 years of Genoa football.
  13. University of Toledo freshman golfer Palmer Yenrick (Clay) named the Toledo Junior Golf Association top junior player at the Inverness Club.
  14. The Woodmore cheerleading team accepts a bid to the national championships at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. It is the third time Woodmore qualified for nationals, but first since 1996. The televised national competition hosts over 800 teams, 15,000 athletes and 50,000 attendees.



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