Northwest Ohio Huddle: Liberty-Benton hoops, Vanlue football steal headlines


Northwest Ohio Huddle

The calendar year ends this week and so it is a good time to look at
a list of the best athletic accomplishments of 2009. Northwest Ohio had
its share of both great individual and team feats that deem mentioning.

The calendar year ends this week and so it is a good time to look at
a list of the best athletic accomplishments of 2009. Northwest Ohio had
its share of both great individual and team feats that deem mentioning.

the number one accomplishment was a difficult task. Two individuals,
Erik Kynard of Toledo Rogers, and Meredith Wagner of Sylvania
Northview, immediately came to mind but the fact that Kynard’s high
jump title was his second consecutive and preceded his National Outdoor
Championship just two weeks later merited his being named the number
one story of 2009. Kynard’s senior year included his not only winning a
second state title but also saw him set a new state record of 7-3 ½ in
a meet in early May.

Northview’s Meredith Wagner’s title was
remarkable but it was extremely so when one considers that no one in
northwest Ohio has won a big school state title in cross country since
1980 when Notre Dame’s Sherrie Mathews did so. In becoming the state’s
best long distance runner, Wagner easily outdistanced the field by
crossing the finish line in 18:03.90, four seconds faster than her
nearest competitor.

Three and four on the list are both team
accomplishments and both involve basketball teams. The Start Lady
Spartans arrived on the state stage by advancing all the way to the
finals before falling to ultimate state champion Cincinnati Mount Notre
Dame, 52-38. Start’s appearance in the state final four was the first
by any Toledo City League team in 28 years. Losing only one senior, the
Lady Spartans are poised for a possible return to Columbus in March,

The fourth entry on the list is the improbable return of
the Toledo St. John’s Titans to the state final four. The Titans began
the season, 5-5, and were written off by many for both City League
honors and state contention early in the season. Somehow the Titans
regrouped and worked their way to still another final four appearance.

final big story of 2009 was Patrick Henry’s  baseball team winning
back-to-back state titles. Interestingly, the Patriots accomplished
this feat under two different head coaches. Patrick Henry is the 30th team in Ohio history to win back-to-back state titles.


Stieber, Monroeville: The standout senior  continues his winning ways.
Stieber already has three state wrestling titles to his name and it
appears that he is well on his way to a fourth. Recently Stieber won
the 125 championship at the Ironman wrestling tournament which is
arguably the top high school wrestling meet in the country.


Basketball: Entering the New Year, both the boys and girls teams are
undefeated and both have been impressive in doing so. The closest
anyone has come to the girls’ team has been ten points as the LB ladies
are outscoring their opponents by an average of 26 points while the
boys closest game has been four points as they have enjoyed a winning
advantage of 22 points.


Vanlue Football Future: Vanlue
High School is the smallest school in the state to field a football
team and the issue of whether or not they will be able to continue
doing so has been a hot topic in the past several weeks. Vanlue
currently has only 33 boys enrolled in grades 9-11 so the pool of
available talent is extremely small.  Head football coach Robin Cooper
is working hard to recruit players but the future is still uncertain.

Holiday Tournament Winners


Elida Vicki Mauk Classic: Liberty-Benton

Chatt Insurance Classic: Parkway


Bluffton McDonald’s Tournament: Arlington

Mercer Health Holiday Tournament: Coldwater

Chatt Insurance Classic: Parkway

Sandusky Holiday Tournament: Lorain Admiral King

Knights Stay Hot on the Ice: The
St. Francis Knights’ hockey team continues to be impressive. As 2009
winds down and 2010 brings new surprises, the Knights have yet to taste
defeat this hockey season and are looking like serious contenders for a
state hockey title. Currently the Knights stand at 14-0-1 and own wins
over state powers University School (3-0), Sylvania Northview (5-0),
Lakewood St. Ed’s (3-1 and 5-0) and Gilmour Academy (2-1).


Toledo Christian (3-2) v. Ottawa Hills (6-0), boys basketball, Saturday, Jan. 2, 7:30 pm: This
has been the big match-up in the TAAC for the past several years and it
is shaping up to be the same this year. Toledo Christian’s record pales
in comparison to Ottawa Hills but look for this to be a hotly contested
game nonetheless and will place the winner in the driver’s seat for
league honors.

Lakewood St. Edward’s (4-2) v. Toledo St. John’s (6-1), boys basketball, Saturday, Jan. 2, 7:30 pm:
Cross state battle featuring two traditional powers. Both teams
stumbled recently but game should provide some insight into how each of
these teams might do in the state playoffs.

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