To most of us, it’s “Eastwood,” but around the state it’s “Pemberville
Eastwood.” “Pemberville Eastwood” got mentioned quite a bit in state-wide media during 2009.
It’s not Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller, Canton McKInley, or Lakewood St. Edward, but it’s getting there.
Let’s see, you had, in order —
• The Eastwood girls’ state bowling championship.
• A boys Division II state track championship, which came with
• Jake Schemenauer’s state pole vault championship, and
• Junior Justin Welch’s discus state championship. Last, but not least, was
• Senior Alyssa Shimel’s D-II state golf championship.
Combine them into one news item, and you’ve got the most significant sporting event in the Eastern Maumee Bay region during 2009. The bowling title came in March, the state track championships in June, and Shimel’s title in October.
The Eastwood bowling team, Jessica Heestand, Mikayla Young, Mallory Fritz, Carrie Lorenzen, Brandi Roller, Kelsey Waynick, Emily Walston, Peyton Himburg and coaches Jay Young and Josh Jaworski, defeated Troy in the state final. After losing the first two matches of the best-of-five, Eastwood defeated Troy 193-148, 241-201, and 166-147 as Sports Time Ohio television play-by-play announcers seemed more speechless than the Eagle bowlers. On the STO video, one can see parent and Pemberville resident Michael Fritz spilling popcorn and cheering wildly in the background for his daughter, and who can blame him?
Eastwood’s track team scores 47 points to defeat runner-up Cortland Lakeview (38) at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to win the state title, even with sprinter Cody Seifert injured on the sidelines. Schemenauer did his part, clearing 15-3 to win the pole vault, and Welch defended his discus crown with a D-II record whip of 196-1, one of the top five Ohio discus prep distances ever recorded.
Shimel, making her third trip to the state tournament, defeated runner-up Morgan Ransom of Gahanna Columbus Academy by two strokes on OSU’s 5,560-yard, par 70 Gray Course. Shimel had a two-day total of 145.
However, there is more —
(2) In Division III girls discus, Woodmore senior Erin Pendleton wins the sixth straight “Pendleton” state championship. Erin whirled the disc 160 feet to better her nearest competitor by nearly 24 feet and put her family’s surname atop the D-III event pyramid again. Erin, who has two state championships, is joining her sister Emily, who has four, at the University of Michigan.
(3) Genoa football goes 10-0, again, in the regular season under Coach Michael Vicars. After three seasons under Coach Vicars, the Comets have not lost a Suburban Lakes League contest. In 2009, the Comets (11-1) were ranked No. 3 in state Division IV polls and dominated the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press First Team with 18 players.
(4) The league domino effect. Even though the Northern Lakes League nixed Clay for Napoleon, they did so because Rossford left. Why did Rossford leave? To fill the void left in the Suburban Lakes League when Lakota left to join the Midland Athletic League. After Lakota left, at least two schools were not willing to allow Rossford to fill that void, so five schools left the SLL and in two years will begin play in the Northern Buckeye Conference.
Elmwood joined the party after having been turned down by the MAL, and will participate in the NBC alongside Eastwood, Genoa, Lake, Woodmore, Otsego, Rossford, and Fostoria beginning in 2010-11. That same year, Gibsonburg will begin competing as a member of the Toledo Area Athletic Conference.
Clay and Waite will see a new league opponent that year in Fremont Ross, which joins the City League. Even Genoa Community Christian Academy, a tiny parochial school located in the former Genoa public school building on State Route 163, is in its fourth year of basketball and joined a league this year — the six-team Independent Christian Schools of Ohio/Michigan. Will it ever end?
(5) Former Clay defensive back Jordan Kovacs walks on and makes the University of Michigan football team, and then this year as a freshman becomes a full-blown starting safety and is nominated for the national College Rudy Awards. The 5-10, 194 pound Kovacs, the son of former UM player Lou Kovacs, played a key role in Michigan’s win over Notre Dame, and was second on the team in tackles (75) and ranked 26th in the Big Ten Conference with a 6.2 tackles per game average.
(6) The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference names Scott Bergman, a former Woodmore basketball player, as its Athlete of the Decade. While a senior at Bluffton University, Bergman put up 22.5 points per game and was named a Third Team All-American by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He scorched the net for 30 points or more seven times his senior year and scored 50 on HCAC rival Anderson as a junior.
(7) Championships start coming in droves at Lake — girls’ basketball and soccer both have astounding seasons and athletic prowess is restored at Lemoyne Road. Levy failures had threatened sports beginning seven years ago and about 150 of its best student-athletes left, even though athletics never really left. We all knew Lake would be back within good time, though.
(8) Pemberville native Jerry Sigler gets his 600th coaching victory at Sylvania Northview, and he’s still rolling as this year’s Lady Kats are still undefeated at the holiday break. In 33 years at Northview, the 1963 Eastwood graduate has never had a losing season and his teams have made three state final four appearances. Northview has the fourth-winningest program all-time in the state.
(9) Waite boys’ basketball wins the City League regular season championship. Who would’ve guessed that Waite would have a better league record (10-1) than St. John’s Jesuit, Libbey, and Scott? It happened under Coach Dave Pitsenbarger, a former Waite player himself. Of course, the glory was short lived because Central Catholic coach Jim Welling and his Irish put an end to the dream by defeating Waite 58-47 in the CL final four playoffs.
(10) The East Side Raiders, after 70 years of football, announced it may fold. The CYO junior high program, perennial Toy Bowl champions, provided a feeder-youth club team for mostly Clay, Waite, and Cardinal Stritch high school teams for nearly three-quarters of a century. It is in danger of folding because of lack of participation resulting from closing Catholic parishes on the east side, say team officials.
Of course, there are tons of other events of 2009 that could be considered for your list, including
• Kate Achter ends her record-setting career at Bowling Green State University and travels to Athens, Greece to take a try at women’s professional basketball.
• Lake baseball coach Greg Wilker earns his 400th career victory.
• Oak Harbor’s fifth place finish and grappler Drew Stone state runner-up finish at the Division II state wrestling meet. In addition, Clay won a City title and sectional championship, the Rockets took their third straight Sandusky Bay Conference crown, and numerous area wrestlers qualify for state, some placing.
• Lake girls’ basketball, although part of the bigger story (No. 7), finishes 20-0 and Coach Denny Meyer is named Ohio’s D-III Coach of the Year.
• Eastwood celebrates a half-century of varsity sports as the Eastwood basketball team finishes its first perfect 14-0 SLL campaign.
• Oregon bowler Troy Wallenbacher becomes a regular bowler on the PBA tour, and Pemberville bowler Jay Young competes on the Senior PBA tour.
• Genoa’s golf team qualifies for state and wins its third straight SLL title, and Northwood’s Louis Fahrbach reaches state.
• Oak Harbor freshman tennis player Ashley LaFountain reaches the state tournament.
• Lake’s Zach Powell places at the state cross country meet, and several area runners qualify.
• Northwood wins its sixth straight TAAC football championship.
• Genoa’s Simone Eli is named MVP of the North-South Ohio Prep All-Star Game and heads for Bowling Green State University.
• Genoa’s Derrick Vicars (University of Findlay) is 14th in the NCAA D-II national discus championship
• Oregon softball umpire Paul Rufus Drake III is picked to work the USA vs. Canada “Border Battle.” Drake also bids and receives the state bid for the State Special Olympics softball tournament in Oregon.
• Millbury’s CheerStarz wins a national championship at Disney.
• Former Cardinal Stritch volleyball player Brittany Bradner named a D-III All-American at Owens Community College.
• A special needs baseball field is dedicated and opens in Northwood.
• Ohio Northern University long distance runner Michael O’Brien (Eastwood) continues to set school records and place high in NCAA D-III national events.
• Stritch softball wins its seventh straight TAAC title.
• The Pool Room, a local eight-player co-ed team, qualifies for the APA national pool tournament in Las Vegas. Members are Ed Adkins, Danielle Joss, Tim Joss, Todd Zittsman, Dan Katschke, Jenny Nowak, Bob Nowak, and Jared Deblaere.
• Successful wrestling coaches Carmen Amenta (Waite) and Ralph Cubberly (Eastwood) leave, Armenta to retire, and Cubberly heads to Defiance after 20 years at his alma mater.
• Golfer Bill Sine gets a rare albatross (double eagle) at Hidden Hills. Yes, folks, a double eagle is more rare than a hole-in-one, and is 3-under par instead of 2-under par. Unless, that is, a hole-in-one is on a par 4, and then it’s a double eagle, also.
• Northwood’s Woodville Mall is abuzz with the one-eighth radio-controlled race car national races, drawing participants from around the world. The 2009 Road On-Road Fuel Nationals had been previously held in Las Vegas, Kissimmee, Fla., and Washington, D.C.