Minster going for 26th, 27th state title; An All-MAC state baseball final?


Minster has won 25 state championships.

The plot thickens on Minster’s four-act play. Football coach Nate Moore planted the seed. Basketball coach Mike Lee
fertilized it. And baseball coach Mike Wiss, along with track coach
Larry Copp, are reaping the benefits. The Wildcats look to make more history this weekend and could potentially face MAC rival Delphos St. John’s in the D-IV state baseball final.

Football coach Nate Moore planted the seed. Basketball coach Mike Lee
fertilized it. And baseball coach Mike Wiss, along with track coach
Larry Copp, are reaping the benefits.

The opening act of the school year, the Minster football team
symbolized frustration, struggling to an 0-4 start. They were outscored
124-38 during that stretch. But then, a funny thing happened. The
Wildcats won seven of nine games, including a 30-26 shocker against
Marion Local to advance all the way to the regional finals. Players like
Adam Kaiser, Devon Poeppelman, Matt Gusching, Doug Huber, and Chase
Paxson started believing.

The magic continued as the basketball team posted an 18-6 record,
advancing to the regional semi-finals. Not bad considering the season
before, the Wildcats finished well below .500 and lost in the first
round. Players like Ross Heitkamp, Mitch Poeppelman, Huber and Paxson
continued believing.

And now, with several of the same athletes that played football and
basketball, the baseball and track teams will be  gunning for Minster’s
26th and 27th state championships in school history this weekend in
Columbus. That’s right, the MAC school from Auglaize County has won 25
state titles.

The baseball team, winners of three MAC titles and one state
appearance in 2003, boasts a 21-8 record and faces Newark Catholic in
the D-IV state semifinals Thursday at Huntington Park at 7:00 PM. The
Wildcats defeated Lehman in the regional finals 8-7 in a wild thriller.
Trailing 7-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Minster scored four
runs. Paxson drove home the winning run with a bloop single over second
base. Players like Adam Niemeyer, Ben Heitbrink, Ryan Hoying, Mitch,
Poeppelman, Craig Purpus, and Paxson believe.

The final act features the track and field team. Minster blew away
the competition in the D-III regional meet, qualifying 11 athletes to
the state at Jesse Owens Stadium Friday and Saturday. That is the most
of any of the 117 schools participating in the D III meet. Archbold
landed 10 athletes and Anna five. They are Oliver Barga, Andy Albers,
Derek Collins, Troy Kauffman, Korey Schultz, Jared Sekas, Francis
Slonkosky, Alan Tebbe, Ryan Will, Jake Winner, and Oliver Weaver.
Missing is Sam Phlipot, the second fastest 100 and 200 runner in the
region, out due to a leg injury sustained at the MAC championships. The
“lucky eleven” believe.

Playing a major role in Minster’s success this school year has been
senior leader Chase Paxson, A.K.A. quarterback, point guard, outfielder.
This three-sport standout made the All-MAC teams in football,
basketball, and baseball. He threw for over 2,000 yards establishing
himself as the all-time single season passing leader in school history.

On the basketball court, Paxson averaged 10 points and led the MAC
with 6.8 assists per game.

Talk about a senior swan song. On the diamond, Paxson is batting .387
with 13 stolen bases. He leads the team in runs scored with over 35.

Rocket Fuel

Anna sprinter Dexter Bensman has been burning up the track this
Spring. He continued his dominance in the D-III regional meet by
sweeping the 100M and 200M events. In addition, he anchored the winning
400M relay team and the second place 800M relay team. The senior track
standout and RB on the football team is one of the fastest sprinters in
the state. He has run PRs of 10.49 in the 100 and 21.90 in the 200.
Don’t be surprised if he brings home four medals.

The relay team of Brady Cates, Danny Stewart, Cole Fergason, and
Bensman clocked their fastest 400M time of the season in the regionals
with a 43.36. The quartet has recorded a 1:31.22 800M time.

Fresh Face

Only 20 freshmen out of 309 participants will be competing in the
2011 D-III Track & Field Championships. One of them is Lehman 400M
specialist Justin Stewart. Competing with the likes of seniors Sam
Phlipot, Dexter Bensman, and Damian Winner all season, Stewart is
running PRs at the right time. In the regional meet at Troy High School,
Stewart ran a 49.88 to qualify for the finals. In the finals, the
15-year-old clocked a 50.34, good enough for second place and a berth at

The kid toes the line Friday at 11:15 AM for all the marbles. He will
race in Heat One, Lane Two. There will be two heats and the top two in
each heat, plus five others will advance to the finals. As it stands,
Stewart’s 49.88 is the fourth fastest in the 16-man field.

More Chips & Salsa

– Damian Winner of Versailles advanced to the state D-II Track &
Field Championships, winning the 400M in the regionals at Welcome
Stadium. He clocked a 49.00 time, the fastest of any of the 16 state

– At a recent banquet, Zach Yinger (Ball State Golf) and RJ Heins
(Heidelberg Football) were named Co-Athletes of the Year by Sidney High
coaches. Yinger excelled in golf and basketball and even pitched about
six innings. Heins lettered in football, basketball, and was MVP of the
track team.

– Tired of hearing about the MAC? Get over it. Delphos St. John’s is
looking for its second state title this school year. The Blue Jays
(18-4) soundly defeated Ottowa Hills 7-0 in the D-IV regional finals in
baseball. They advance to the state semifinals Thursday at 4:00 PM and
face New Middletown Springfield. That’s beyond me. Is the school from
Middletown or Springfield? If Minster and Delphos St. John’s win their
semifinal games, the two will battle it out Saturday in the
Championship game at 1 p.m. Back on April 12, DSJ defeated Minster
3-2. And we thought the MAC was dominant in football.

– Fort Loramie’s magical softball season ended last Wednesday, losing
4-0 to Covington in the regional semi-finals at Tipp City. The Redskins
ended the season with a 27-5 record, the best in school history.

– In other regional track results, Dillon Webster of New Bremen won the
800M in 1:53.38 to adavance to state. Russia’s distance runner Luke
Pohlman won the 1600M in 4:20.24. As expected, Gretchen Walter of Lehman
captured the 100M, 200M, and 400M. Katie Borchers of Russia and Fort
Loramie’s Janel Olberding both advanced to the state in the 800M.
Borchers and Olberding will be running track for OSU next year.

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