Morning Huddle: Conference reorganization rampant in Northern Ohio


JJ’s Morning Huddle: A daily dose of News, Notes & Nuggets from around the state

• Toledo City League and others redrawing conference lines

• Governor: Massillon’s live mascot will be protected

• Downpour puts high school gym/baseball field underwater

• Tri-Valley Dresden gets new wrestling coach

Got a league? It seems like every school with a sports team in Northern Ohio is reevaluating their conference and why they’re there. Two days ago, Clay High School withdrew from the Toledo City League – the first of many expected departures in the face of budget woes. The shuffle continues now on the eastern part of the state. Barberton, outside of Akron, is eying their a new home after a final season in the Suburban League this fall. “We are keeping our options open,” says Barberton Athletic Director Jay Glaze. “We know there is an opening in the NOC [Northeast Ohio Conference] and we are talking to the [Akron] City Series … there is an opening in the Federal League, too.” Lakewood has also departed the West Shore Conference, and that creates a potential opening for Barberton. More appealing, perhaps, is the open slot in the Akron City Series since it’s geographically close to the Division II school and the league currently has seven teams. Barberton is expected to make a decision this fall. The outcome will likely affect the alignment of other conferences, too. Hopefully then we can forget about the musical chairs and focus on sports.

Obie’s OK: The curious debate over whether or not the Massillon Tigers will be allowed to parade Obie, a live tiger, about the sidelines at their football games has come to an end. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland announced this week that he will ensure a new bill on the sale and care of exotic animals will still allow live mascots to attend sporting events at Ohio high schools and colleges. A component in the nascent law would ban the sale of exotic animals as pets. Obie lives on then, and the mascot will enter its 42nd year on the sidelines this fall.

News from across the river: A youth camp had just wrapped up at Covington (Ky.) Catholic High School on Wednesday when coach Mike Listerman noticed water streaming in under one of the doors. “Within seconds, the entire 3-point area in the north end was under water,” Listerman told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “When I opened the door, it was just bubbling up over the drains.” A rain storm had clogged the drainage system. Listerman and a group of players used whatever they could grab (towels, mops and brooms) to try to push the water back, but things quickly got out of control and water neared the half-court mark. “It was kind of a losing battle until the custodian came back to the gym and brought in a machine that sucked up the water,” Listerman says. ”He probably dumped it three or four times.” In the end, the basketball court was saved, but the baseball field wasn’t so lucky (see pic top left).

All in the family: After Tri-Valley (Dresden) wrestling coach Ryan McLane stepped down, the school tapped the son of one of their legendary coaches to take over at the helm: Jarod Hindel. Hindel’s father John led the Scotties to two Muskingum Valley League titles in the ’80s, and his son looks to continue that success. “It’s a unique experience to be able to (follow my dad),” Jarod says. “When he was coaching, I was little, but he got me into the sport. I’ve been wrestling since I was 5 years old and have been affiliated with the sport ever since.” Jarod, a Tri-Valley grad in the class of 2000, won three individual MVL titles in the late ’90s and was part of the Scotties’ last league championship in 1998. “My dad had some strong years, but (for the most part), it’s been up and down,” he said. “We’re the biggest school in the MVL, and we need to tap into that resource. We should be able to compete for the league on a regular basis with those numbers.”

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