Ohio Northern senior Jimmy O’Brien (Eastwood) was named the Ohio Athletic Conference Men’s Indoor Track and Field Runner of the Week for the week of Jan. 12-18.
O’Brien, a two-time All-American and OAC Champion in cross country and a four-time All-American and two-time NCAA Champion in track and field, led the Polar Bears to a first-place finish out of five teams at Friday Night Series No. 1 at the ONU Sports Center.
O’Brien broke his own school record in the 1,000-meter run, finishing the race in 2:28.43 en route to victory. He beat the second-place finisher from Huntington (Ind.) by eight seconds.
To close out the meet, O’Brien anchored the winning 4x400-meter relay team that finished the race in 3:26.90.
This marks the 11th time in his career that O’Brien has earned Runner of the Week honors from the OAC and is the third time he has earned the award in indoor track and field.
O’Brien has also earned the distinction twice in cross country and six times in outdoor track and field.
At the Friday Night Series event, Ohio Northern had 263.5 points holding off Findlay who finished in second with 239 points. The Polar Bears are now 4-0 for the indoor season.
O’Brien is just beginning his indoor track and field championship. Here are his accomplishment’s from his junior season, 2008—
O’Brien’s other accomplishments for the 2008 season:
• He led Ohio Northern to a first-place finish in the Ohio Athletic Conference indoor track championships, winning the 800 and mile runs and anchoring the winning distance medley relay and 4x400 relay. He was selected as the Distance Athlete of the Meet.
• O’Brien was named the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association Great Lakes Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year while ONU head coach Brian Cole was named Men’s Region Coach of the Year. This was the third time O’Brien has been named Great Lakes Region Track Athlete of the Year as he earned the honor during both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2007.
• O’Brien set new ONU indoor records in the 500-meter run (1:05.68), 800-meter run (1:52.70), 1,000-meter run, which he broke earlier this month (2:30.79), 1-mile run (4:13.46) and ran the anchor leg of the record setting 4x400-meter relay team (3:22.55). At the Ohio Athletic Conference Indoor Championships, O’Brien claimed four OAC titles en route to being named the OAC Distance Runner of the Meet.
D-I Prep Football
The Ohio High School Association Board of Directors voted Thursday to reject a proposal from an OHSAA subcommittee to divide in half the number of Division I football schools into two equal divisions. Had the proposal been approved, a seventh division in football would have been created.
The unanimous 8-0 vote came during the Board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting at the OHSAA office in Columbus. The proposal, which came as the result of a two-year study by the subcommittee, also would have limited the number of tournament qualifiers from each region of the two big-school divisions to four, rather than eight qualifiers which come from all other regions, thus keeping the overall number of tournament qualifiers the same (192).
“The Board reviewed survey results from Ohio’s Division I schools, and the majority of those that responded were not in favor of making a change,” said Mike Richards, OHSAA Board of Directors president and superintendent at Allen East Local Schools in Harrod. “The facts that the officers of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association were unanimous in not favoring a change and that the recommendation from the subcommittee that made the proposal was not unanimous were also factored in.”
The chief issue the subcommittee attempted to address is the large variance in enrollment that occurs in Division I, where the smallest school currently has 528 boys and the largest has 1,246. The proposed divisional change would have meant that the two big school divisions would be comprised of schools with more similar enrollments. Since the proposal would have been a change to the Associations’ Sports Regulations and not OHSAA Bylaws, the Board of Directors could act solely on the recommendation without a vote from the member schools.
“While it is clear that there is a large variance in enrollment numbers within Division I, the officers of the state coaches association were unanimously against this proposal and felt like any change would not have enhanced the current playoff system,” said Jay Niswonger, president of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association and head coach at Germantown Valley View High School. “In fact, we are of the opinion that Ohio’s playoff format is one of the best in the nation and we continually hear that from those outside the state, so our position is not to make a change if there is not a problem, or not to fix something if it’s not broken.”
The OHSAA obtained input from the schools that are currently in Division I to gauge the proposed change. The subcommittee that proposed the change to the OHSAA Board was comprised of superintendents, principals, athletic administrators and coaches from across the state along with OHSAA administrators.
The Genoa Girls Softball Association will be holding summer registration for all Genoa area girls ages 6-18. Registration will be at the Allen Elementary School on Saturday January 31 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information call Roger Hummel at 419-265-2061.