According to my mother, the first time I was on the ice I was four years old and I apparently skated like I had been doing it forever. After finishing the Learn to Skate Program in Euclid, I enthusiastically became a member of the Euclid Blade and Edge Club and competed locally and regionally from 8th grade through high school. Much of my teen years was at the ice rink either skating in the early mornings before school or coming to an afternoon or weekend public session. I even had my very first job as a skate guard and cashier at the C.E. Orr Arena.
Euclid's Quintin Dove was named a first-team NJCAA All-American, adding to the postseason honors for the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) men’s basketball team.
In an amazing performance on a football Friday night in late September, Euclid High running back Ron Lee electrified the crowd at Spark DiBiasio stadium when he rushed for 309 yards as the Panthers chalked up a 54-28 victory over Elyria. The triumph boosted Euclid's record to 4-1 with five games left in the regular season.
In addition to his incredible yardage total, Lee scored three touchdowns in the first half alone - including an 87-yard scamper.
Indeed, Coach Jeff Rotsky was more than pleased, although perhaps not overly surprised. All along, he realized that Ron Lee was a highly talented player with great potential, in addition to being a fine young man. "What is truly great about him," the coach stressed, "is that he's one of the most humble and decent kids you're ever going to meet."
As to Lee's football skill set, Rotsky describes him as "the complete back."
The Lake Erie Admirals, one of two Euclid teams playing in the 18U High School Summer Series Baseball League, captured the league championship Friday, July 14. With a 12-2 regular season record the Euclid squad defeated the Cleveland Heights Tigers to earn a spot in the best of three game championship finals against the Solon Nets.
Euclid's Quintin Dove earned all-conference honors from the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference following a championship season for the men's basketball team at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) shot putter Rashida Harris turned in an All-American performance for the second consecutive year at the NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Rashida Harris of Euclid shattered two Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) indoor track and field records while competing in February at the Jim Wuske Invitational.
The Euclid Panther’s Summer Swim team wrapped up another successful season at the beginning of August. Proving it was another great year to swim in Euclid.
However, due to some much needed maintenance at Euclid’s Memorial Pool that delayed its opening, we were a bit “slow off the blocks” this season. But thanks to the creativity of the Euclid Recreation Department, the flexibility and inclusivity of the University Swim Club http://www.universityswimclub.com/, and the eagerness of our swimmers to get to work, we didn’t lose anytime in the water and began the 2016 swim season indoor at Euclid High School making our way outside once Memorial was ready for swimmers.
An “Olympic Summer” is always an inspirational one but this one was even more so for our swimmers with two of our former swim team members qualifying for the Olympic trials held June 26-July 3 in Omaha, Nebraska!! Euclid Panther graduates Sam Lisy and Derek Hren swam the 400 IM and 100 Breast respectively. Sam went 4:51.85 and took 33 out of 119 finishers while Derek Hren swam the 100 Breast and went 1:02.66 and took 45 out of 135 finishers! Not one, but TWO Euclidian’s at the Olympic Trials-Wow! This was certainly a huge accomplishment for both swimmers and a big source of “Panther Pride” or the team.
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) shot putter Rashida Harris earned All-American honors in record-breaking fashion while competing at the NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Texas.
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) shot putter Rashida Harris, a graduate of Euclid High School, registered an All-American performance at the 2016 NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Harris became Tri-C’s first All-American in the shot put with a throw of 48 feet, 1.25 inches. The championships capped a season where she shattered the school record in the event by almost 9 feet.
The freshman also finished 19th at nationals in the weight throw with a heave of 40 feet, 2.25 inches. She also set the Tri-C record in that event during the season.
“Rashida was at her absolute best on the sport’s biggest stage,” said Don Cox, the College’s longtime track coach. “She delivered when it mattered most.”
As a team, Tri-C finished 19th at the national championships.
The First Tee of Cleveland, a youth education program that focuses on building character, instilling life-enhancing values, and promoting healthy choices through the game of golf, is hosting an Open House at Briardale Greens April 9 beginning at 10 AM. Parents with children ages 6-18 are encouraged to come learn more about this community-based life skills program.
According to David Alexander, a member of the PGA and First Tee Lead Program Coach, there will be a number of activities planned for kids to learn more about The First Tee of Cleveland and the programs offered. Alexander has worked with The First Tee in a number of locations but has found Euclid’s Briardale Greens a particularly rewarding and successful location for the program.
“In our first year we had 45 kids, but we keep growing every year. This year we hope to get up to 75,” said Alexander. “It is a vibrant and diverse program that teaches valuable life skills and utilizes the golf course atmosphere.” He added that the program allows girls and boys as young as six to begin to learn the game of golf, but also learn important life lessons which are reinforced in The First Tee’s approach to instruction. The First Tee weaves its “Nine Core Values” – honesty, integrity, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, judgment and sportsmanship – into every aspect of the program.
Players and coaches on the bench were engrossed by the action on the court during VASJ's victory over Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas on February 19, 2016 in the final regular season basketball game - a tune-up for the OHSAA playoffs. It was a tight game most of the way, with the score knotted at 45 - 45 with just a few minutes remaining. However, the Vikings staged a scoring spurt at the end to notch a 61 - 51 triumph.
Coach Babe Kwasniak's squad followed up with a lopsided 86 - 55 victory against Kirtland in the first tournament game on February 26, 2016. Alonzo Gaffney, a 6-foot-7 freshman, paced the scoring with 18 points, while Sherman Dean, III added 15 and Dan McGarry 10. The Vikings advanced to a district semifinal contest at Garfield Heights. Winner of the March 4, 2016 district final will advance to the Canton Regional tournament.
New Day Academy is pleased to announce that Coach Nate Barnes has brought his talents to our organization as the new head coach of the Varsity Boys’ Basketball team. Coach Barnes comes to NDA with extensive basketball experience and knowledge accompanied with an amazing winning and can do attitude! Barnes has served on the coaching staff of some great organizations such as: Lakeland Community College, Baldwin-Wallace College and Villa Angela St Joseph High School.
Las Vegas is everyone’s home field and this weekend, the city was happy to welcome some Euclid locals at the start of football season!
It's hard to imagine school being out, and warm summer days, but it's not that far away. If you are looking for something for your child to do this summer, why not send them to the Beat the Streets (BTS) Fun Day Summer Camp This is the third year for this camp located right here in Euclid. The camp was help at the Euclid Sports Plant the last two summers, but is now moving its location to Euclid Memorial Park, with its home base being the C.E. Orr Ice Arena. Campers will be dropped off and picked up from the ice arena. Moving to this new location will give the campers a chance to do more outdooor activities including swimming.
Summer Rowing is here in Cleveland! Cleveland Youth Rowing Association (CYRA), Cleveland’s oldest existing rowing club for high school students, is currently accepting registrations for all summer programming. Striving to be a premier competitive junior rowing program, the mission of CYRA is to provide a competitive rowing experience to positively impact the mind, body, and spirit of young athletes in the Greater Cleveland community. Our rowers are comprised of girls and boys from numerous schools and communities throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan area. This summer, CYRA will offer a high performance competitive team for high school athletes with experience with a select crew to represent the club at a regatta; a junior development team which will focus on increasing technical proficiency of fundamental rowing technique open to athletes from 6th - 12th grade with some experience; and learn-to-row options for grades 6th - 12th which will focus on the fundamentals of rowing. These programs run throughout the summer at various times and days. For more information: check out our website at cyrarowing.org
Another season of AAU basketball is underway for Beat The Streets (BTS). Teams are practicing and eagerly getting ready to participate in their first tournament of the season. Teams participate in tournaments throughout the area,almost every weekend giving them the opportunity to play teams from other states and even Canada. The season will run through Memorial Day Weekend.
BTS was formed in 2010, with a purpose and goal to fill the void in the area of opportunities and activities for the youth in our community. With the unfortunate news of Euclid PAL dismembering, we wanted to offer the youth a new program in which they could grow and participate in programs to keep them safe and off the streets.
Many centuries ago, the ancient Greeks honored their heroes in artwork, drama and in temples. These heroes, and their likenesses which lived on long after they were gone, served as role models to the citizenry for their deeds and the positive attributes they exhibited. In modern times, we do the same for those who have displayed an exceptional level of courage, commitment, sacrifice and leadership in pursuit of excellence. And when it comes to athletic excellence, no one does it better or more consistently than the Euclid Public Schools Alumni Association. On Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 the EPSAA honored ten men and women at the 28th Annual Euclid High Schools Sports Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony.
Nine student-athletes and one coach were inducted in front of a full house of family, friends, teammates and coaches at Tizzano’s Party Center on E. 260th and Tungsten Rd. Chuck Hill, long-time Euclid resident and Chairman of the Sports Hall of Fame Committee, enthusiastically kicked the night off and was followed by the spit and polish of the Euclid High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Color Guard, who presented the U.S. flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. After dinner, John Telich, Jr., TV Channel 8 Sportscaster and a Euclid High graduate himself, served as Master of Ceremonies for this year’s induction.
The 2014 Euclid High Schools Sports Hall of Fame Inductees:
Ewald Heise Euclid Senior High School ’68 Basketball, Baseball
Edward Delaney Euclid Senior High School ’78 Football, Wrestling
John Vuyancih Euclid High School ’92 Basketball, Baseball
Matt Hoffman Euclid High School ’95 Baseball
Mike Hoffman Euclid High School ’95 Baseball
Monroe L. Hillsman, Jr. Euclid High School ’97 Football, Track, Basketball
Tamika Drake Euclid High School ‘00 Volleyball, Basketball, Softball
Heather Palmer Euclid High School ‘04 Track, Basketball
Brandon Smith Euclid High School ’04 Football, Track
John Gibbons Coach Soccer
Also honored were members of the outstanding 1968 boys’ basketball team which made it to the Final Four in the Ohio State Basketball Tournament that year.
While each inductee’s acceptance speech was unique, often sprinkled with humor and emotion, the common thread was gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to compete at a high level of athleticism, gratitude for the support and inspiration of family and teammates, gratitude for the mentorship, patience, trust and knowledge of their coaches and finally, gratitude for their selection into a special group of student-athletes who achieved great things, not just on the fields of competition, but also in their personal and professional lives long after high school graduation.
Thanks to the Euclid High Schools Sports Hall of Fame Committee, we continue to recognize sport and sportsmanship, through the inspirational stories of student-athletes who displayed high levels of achievement and the many positive attributes that athletics can provide. The tireless efforts of the Committee continue to ensure that the accomplishments of our student-athletes, coaches and school administrators will inspire others as they humbly serve as role models for the people of the city of Euclid. As in the arts, academics and other areas of endeavor, a strong sense of community develops around those whose exploits, like the ancient Greek heroes, will be remembered and ultimately emulated by those who follow.
The actual Sports Hall of Fame “shrine” is located in Euclid High School (711 E. 222nd St.) in the hallway between the main gym and pool, where the plaques of all 300 inductees are hung.
The three Catholic Schools in Euclid (Our Lady of the Lake, St. John of the Cross, and Ss. Robert and William) joined forces in March to form a new track and field team in town! Seventy kids in the 3rd through 8th grade are sprinting, running distance, hurdling, throwing discus and shot put, high jumping, and long jumping for the Warrior Track and Field team sponsored by Ss. Robert and William School. The team spent the first two weeks in March in Track Camp where they learned relay hand-offs, speed and agility drills, warm up routines, and basic running form. As the season progressed, the athletes participated in field event clinics with the help of local coaches from a variety of high schools and colleges. Recently, the shot put and discus throwers experienced the rare opportunity to work with Matt DeChant, a graduate of Ohio State University, who plans to compete in the next Olympic Trials!
So far, the team has really made their mark at the CYO track meets. There are a number of athletes who are top performers among hundreds of competitors for the Diocese of Cleveland. These athletes include:
Hurdlers: Ronald Wilson, Zion Williams, Christian Wilson, Danielle Tarsitano, and Andrew Kijauskas
Sprinters: Simone Knox, Charlie Eppich, Sean Hudson, Andre Terry, Clara Maruna, Amanda Ostroske, Andre Rodgers, Christian Wilson, Carmen Cremonese, Danielle Tarsitano, Sarah Ward, Grace Grove, Erin Prendergast, Christian Wilson, and Voni Jones
Distance Runners: Sarah Grubach, Sammy Turk, Mary Lombardo, Michael Ward, Neil Jones, Ella Lisac, Erin Prendergast, Jason Repasy, Morgan Balazs, and Grace Grove
Long Jumpers: Andre Terry, Andre Rodgers, Cooper Coyne, Sydney Freeman, Clara Maruna, Ella Lisac, Erin Prendergast, Jason Repasy, Carmyn Cremonese
Shot Putters: Mychal Simmons, Charlie Eppich, Dylan Wimbs, Mary Lombardo, Simone Knox, Madison Jablonski, Makaila Alexander
Discus Throwers: Sean Jones, Owen Lisac, Andrew Kijauskas, and Karli DeChant
High Jumpers: Grace Grove and Morgan Balazs
Congratulations to the entire Warrior Track team for a great season so far. The team has a few more regular meets before heading to Championships on May 17 and 18. Go Warriors!
About 350 Euclid kids will soon be packing away swimsuits and pulling out cleats and shin guards. Parents are prepping for soccer season, too—and they’re doing more than just stocking up on bottled water and cheering from the sidelines. With Euclid Youth Soccer Organization (EYSO), soccer is a team effort even within a family.
A couple Saturdays agao, June 8, 2013, in Westlake Ohio, James A. Sparks Jr., headed to the Special Olympics held at Westlake High School. James is a 2011 graduate from The Euclid High School and former track team member. James has been involved with the Special Olympics since grade school and has now entered as a young adult. The weather was fantastic and he had his own cheering section, his grandfather James Kendel, a Euclid resident of 43 years, his mother Heather Kendel also a lifetime resident, his godson Kenneth and David from Piece by Peace Agency. The weather was perfect not too hot and by no means cold.
He arrived ready to go and anxious to get started. After a wonderful opening ceremony and traditional procession behind the flame, the National Anthem was sung by all and the games began. First was the softball throw in which James was a Gold Medal winner in his heat and the second farthest thrower of the day. He then warmed up and waited his turn to take to the track where he feels most at home running. He lined up at the start and when it was time to go he jetted like an airplane, running so fast it was almost impossible to take a photo. James won first place and was able to add another Gold to his collection from throughout the years.
These are the moments when life makes one stop and think wow, this really is a special event, a time for all of us to remember that we can accomplish many things if we have the spirit. The joy in the faces of those who were participating, just being there was happiness to them, were priceless. Medal or no medal, the act of trying is sufficient to each one of the competitors. It breaks one's heart to hear the laughter and brings tears of joy in their accomplishments.
The Burning River Roller Girls will host their Championships bout Saturday, July 20 at the Ohio Nets Sports Complex in Parma, with tickets available at www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/244691. We took a moment to catch up with seventh year veteran skater and Euclid local Eva Lucien, to find out what drives her to keep coming back for more.
Name and number: Eva Lucien #15
Team: Rolling Pin-Ups. Previously (and hopefully again in the future) BRRG All-Stars.
How long have you been playing roller derby?: 7 years and counting
Did you play anywhere else before joining BRRG?: I've played other team sports, but not roller derby. When I signed onto Burning River Roller Girls when the league was formed in 2006, the two closest roller derby leagues were Columbus and Pittsburgh. We became the 50th league to join the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) in December of 2006. Since that time, derby has spread internationally; there are currently 295 leagues affiliated with the WFTDA.
What’s your favorite thing about Euclid?: Diversity of the residents and proximity to the Lake.
What benefits do you think roller derby brings to the community?: Roller derby fills a much-needed, uncommon niche as a full-contact sport for women. It's an important athletic and emotional outlet for our members, and for volunteers and spectators it's a fun, genuine, and unconventional form of entertainment that contrasts sharply with professional sports. The strategy and skating part of it make it a fascinating and exciting sport to watch—there's nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of a great roller derby game.
The next month will be jam-packed with roller derby action in Cleveland. The Burning River Roller Girls, Cleveland's premier flat-track roller derby league, will be hosting four out-of-town teams and its third set of interleague home team bouts of the season, featuring Euclid resident Cyndee Jackson, aka Action Jackson.
The Burning River Roller Girls will host their next bout Saturday, April 20 at the Ohio Nets Sports Complex in Parma. We took a moment to catch up with skater and Euclid alumna Bustin’ Stuff, to talk about what she loves about roller derby and what makes her tick.
For more information about the April 20 bout and to buy tickets, visit www.burningriverrollergirls.com.
Derby Name: Bustin’ Stuff
Favorite Quote: "Above all things if kindness is your king, then Heaven will be yours before you meet your end." ~ DJM
Bio: I am a single mom of a pretty awesome 15-year-old guy named Jeffery. I've raised him all by myself but was lucky to have the help of my amazing parents, Gino and Theresa. I've spent the majority of my life working to take care of him, so I never did anything for myself … until I decided to join the Burning River Roller Girls. It has changed my life for the better. I have become completely addicted to strapping those skates on and playing such a fun game.
Honors: Second place at Full-Contact Musical Chairs (on skates!) during charity roller derby bout this fall.
Likes: Sushi, horror movies, my dog, concerts, road trips, hanging out with friends and chilling out with my amazing kid, Jeffery :)
Dislikes: Rude people, animal abuse
Favorite thing about roller derby: The girls! I never knew that I could meet so many awesome, powerful women within one big group! The game is way more than girls in cute little outfits beating each other up … even though that is the fun part. We have such camaraderie within the league, and no hard feelings are ever held. You can hit a woman with all your might one minute, then have her high five you the next saying how awesome that was. I spent years being depressed and miserable with the redundancy of my life. Now, I'm the happiest I've ever been and I owe it all to roller derby.
The Burning River Roller Girls, Cleveland's premier flat track roller derby league, will be hosting its first home team bouts of the season Saturday, March 16, marking the league’s seventh year.
The four Cleveland home teams will face off in a double-header at the Ohio Nets Sports Complex in Parma, featuring some of the top athletes of Euclid.
Euclid residents can don their black and red to support city resident Cyndee Jackson (Action Jackson) and Euclid High School alumna Dani Reagan (Bustin’ Stuff), both skaters for Cleveland’s reigning champs, the Hellbombers.
The Hellbombers will open the night battling against the Cleveland Steamers. The second bout will feature the Rolling Pin-Ups and the Hard Knockers.
Tickets are available for $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/244691 for advance tickets and season passes. Discounted tickets available for children 12 and younger. Games in the past have sold out, so the league strongly recommends ordering in advance.
For more information, visit www.burningriverrollergirls.com.
If you have been driving around the city this summer, or have been brave enough to test the heat on an evening run, you have undoubtedly come across the hustle and bustle of the Euclid Recreation Department's summer programs. Whether you have been stuck in traffic on Euclid Avenue as hundreds of Panther Hoops players make their way to The Euclid Sports Plant, seen the colorful swarms of 4x4 Soccer participants on Babbitt Road soccer fields or heard the joyous noise of children splashing around any of our four public schools, the fun and excitement of the Euclid Recreation Department is always just around the corner. Our Adult Softball programs occupy Memorial Park each week-night, while Adult volleyball takes to the sand courts at Briardale Golf Course on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Softball and Volleyball aren't just offered to adults however; this season we had three Fast-Pitch Softball teams participate in the Hillcrest Softball league while three slow pitch teams battled the summer sun at Indian Hills, and for the first time in recent history, youth volleyball was offered on Tuesday's and Saturday's. Our Panther Swim Team and Ready, Set, Swim programs are constantly splashing through the lane lines at Memorial Pool, while Tennis Lessons were being offered to kids and adults, and our Smart Start Sports programs are filled with excited 3-5 year old children learning the fundamentals of various sports. Our walking and running programs provide exercisers an opportunity to make their fitness regimen more social, or make your social gatherings more aerobic.
Looking for a fun, competitive and rewarding activity for your kids this summer? Sign them up for the Euclid Panther Summer Swim Team. If your child can swim 25 yards, then he or she can participate. The team practices outdoors each morning at Memorial Pool. Your child will be assigned a time based on ability. Evening practices will also be held on Tuesday and Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:45 p.m. Most parents see a great improvement in their child’s swimming ability after a season on the swim team.
The fee is $60 for a resident and $85 for a non-resident. There is an additional $50 family fee payable to the parents’ association. Many swimmers earn the $50 family fee participating in the team’s swim-a-thon, which happens during a practice session in July.
Registration is underway at Euclid City Hall, 585 East 222nd St. Download a copy of the registration form from http://euclidpanthersssl.webs.com. To get the resident rate, don't forget to bring proof of residency -- a driver's license and a utility bill.
Please remember that you must have a signed registration from in to City Hall before you enter the water on the day of our first morning practice, Tuesday, June 12 at 8 a.m. American Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructors will be on deck to evaluate swimmers.
The Euclid Boys League (EBL) is looking forward to a summer of baseball with 195 players registered for the league this year. Celebrating its 60th year in the City, the 2012 season is looking like a promising one for the volunteer-run organization.
Not only are registrations for this year’s league running strong, but EBL has invested thousands of dollars in upgrading several fields. This past fall Willow Field and Hero’s Park (E. 228th Street) both received significant upgrades as the playing fields were reconditioned. EBL was able to upgrade these fields at a cost of nearly $12,000 with EBL and the City sharing in the cost to upgrade. The upgraded fields will allow for play in wetter conditions as drainage is improved on those fields.
“We are continuing to look at opportunities to upgrade the fields in Euclidwhenever we can,” said EBL League President Anthony Stachnik. “Euclid Boys League wants to help give our players and the community ballfields that we can be proud of. When we have money to invest, we’ll partner with the City to upgrade things whenever possible.” Stachnik noted that because EBL is a non-profit organization, monies donated are tax-deductible. Aside from donations and sponsorships, EBL hosts an annual fundraiser that is crucial to raising funds to make the improvements. The general public is invited and is important to continued success. This year the League supplemented every child who registered by approximately $30 per player to keep registration costs low.
Seven Villa Angela-St. Joseph Viking football players, all seniors, have been chosen to play for the “Stars and Stripes” team that will represent the U.S. in an All-Star game in Rome, Italy, on April 21. On the opposite side of the line of scrimmage will be an Italian All-Star squad—Italy’s national Under-19 team.
Members of the Viking contingent are: tackle John DiDonato, halfback Ryan Gallagher, lineman DiAnte Jackson, linebacker Chris Pokorny, lineman Paul Rini, defensive back Mato Vunak, and center Dan Ward.
In all, the players will spend nine days in Italy, including educational sightseeing activities in Rome, Florence, and the Tuscany region. Accompanying them will be VASJ Head Coach John Storey, who will serve as assistant head coach of the Stars and Stripes team.
Although considerably short-handed, the Euclid/Hillcrest YMCA “Hurricanes” made their presence felt at the yearend Division 2 swim meet held Feb. 4 in the University of Akron pool. Six individual swimmers and two girls’ relay teams contributed to the Hurricanes’ point total in the nine-team competition.
“All of the kids who participated throughout most of the season showed definite improvement in their times and overall stroke development,” notes head coach John Graves, the Euclid Y aquatics director.
Unfortunately, two of the team’s top boy swimmers, Salvion Neal and Alex Neyman, came down with viruses the day of the big meet and were unable to participate. However, one of the youngest members of the team, 8-year-old Audrey Zorman, put on quite a performance.
The Euclid Pony Baseball League has recently begun their 2012 signups for the upcoming season. The league is now open to signups for thirteen and fourteen year old players who wish to participate in a Euclid-centric baseball program. Since 1951, the pony organization has played at the Bud Davison Memorial Field at Euclid's Memorial Park, and looks to continue the traditions of the organization this year.
"Euclid Pony has undergone many changes over the years", says Dan Pado, EPL Commissioner. Indeed, times have changed since the days of wool uniforms and wooden bats. Even the training of umpires has changed to reflect newer standards, based on Ohio high school rules. Today, the league continues to adapt based on those Ohio standards.
The tournament trail came to an abrupt end for the Euclid Panther volleyball team, while the VASJ girls reached the district finals before bowing out of the playoffs. Still, both area squads enjoyed highly successful 2011 seasons.
The second-seeded Vikings, coached by Mark Royer, easily conquered Lutheran East, 25-7, 25-7, 25-10, in their Division VI sectional opener at Medina High, then swatted Lake Ridge Academy, 25-14, 25-13, 25-13, in the district semifinal. However, after getting off to a promising start in the championship game against third-seeded Kidron Central Christian, the VASJ girls lost the final three sets to see their season come to an end.
Nonetheless, the Lady Vikings finished the year with a very respectable 16-9 record.
It was pretty clear, after the Euclid Panther football team lost its first five games, that a playoff appearance was out of the question. But Coach Tom Gibbons’ gridders can take pride in their perseverance—and in the way they finished the 2011 season.
They won four of their last five games to improve their final record to 4-6, including a 4-2 mark in the Lake Erie League, losing only to state-ranked Cleveland Heights and to Lorain, to finish in a tie with Shaw for third place. Heights went on to win the LEL crown after upending defending champion Maple Heights on the final weekend.
Euclid closed its season with a 40-27 victory over Bedford, maintaining its record of never having lost to the Bearcats. Rakeesh Nolden scored two of the Panther TDs on passes from senior quarterback Benny Walker covering 14 and 41 yards.
The Euclid/Hillcrest YMCA “Hurricanes” swim team kicked off its 2011-2012 winter campaign with a promising performance in the first meet of the season at the Lake Anna Y Oct. 22.
The team, under the tutelage of Euclid Y aquatics director John Graves, comprises swimmers from both the Euclid and Hillcrest YMCAs. Some 15 youngsters made the trip to Lake Anna for a three-team swim meet.
Alex Neyman won three individual events to pace the Hurricanes. Neyman, whose swim times are approaching the criteria required to qualify for the “zone level” Midwest regional event at the end of the season, took firsts in the 50-yard butterfly, 100 freestyle, and 100-yard individual medley for boys in the 11-12-year-old division.
Yes, the football playoffs are currently the hot topic in high school sports circles. But the winter basketball season is just around the corner.
After a scrimmage game at Mentor on Nov. 25, the Villa Angela-St. Joseph Vikings will launch their 2011-12 basketball campaign by hosting the Euclid Panthers Dec. 3.
If this year’s contest is anything like the neighborhood rivalry clash a year ago, it will be a memorable evening. Last year, the Panthers survived a see-saw battle on their floor, winning with a last-second buzzer-beating shot, 55-54.
A special tribute is planned to honor Tim Robertson, the long-time VASJ teacher and administrator, prior to the junior varsity game against Euclid. Robertson passed away last April.
Here are the early-season games on the Vikings’ schedule:
Fri. Nov. 25 at Mentor (scrimmage) 7:30
Sat. Dec. 3 Euclid 7:30
Sat. Dec. 10 St. Edward 7:30
Fri. Dec. 16 at Warren JFK 7:30
Tue. Dec. 20 Berkshire 7:30
Fri. Dec. 23 at Trinity 7:30
Thur. Dec. 29 Holy Name 7:30
Home games in bold face
After losing their second-last game of the season to Holy Name by a lopsided 46-21 score, it seemed the VASJ Vikings’ chances of making the yearend football playoffs had gone up in smoke. The loss dropped them out of the top eight in the regional computer rankings.
At that point, even Coach John Storey expressed doubt that his squad had much hope of qualifying. “Our expectations for the season were higher,” he said in a rueful tone of voice. “However, we do have a chance to finish with a 6-4 record. It would be our first winning season since 2003.”
But as things turned out, VASJ also had a chance to make the playoffs, provided everything went the Vikings’ way on the final weekend. And, guess what--everything did!
John Iosue, the defending titlist in the annual City of Euclid golf championship, seemed a bit perturbed about his performance on the final day of this year’s tournament.
He’d posted a two-day score of 75-77-152 – a result that most area golfers could only fantasize about. It was good enough to secure runner-up honors in the Class A division, but to Iosue that simply made him “the first loser,” he quipped. By his standards, it was a sub-par performance.
After suffering losses in their first five games—to some of the toughest football teams in the state of Ohio—the Euclid High Panthers finally notched their first victory of the 2011 season when they out-slogged Shaw, 14-0, on a night when the elements made timid souls shudder.
The cold, rainy, windy conditions—surely not what the planners of the Senior Parents Night festivities had hoped for—deterred all but the hardiest and most loyal fans from venturing into the stands at Sparky DiBiasio Stadium to witness what will likely be remembered as the “Mud Bowl.”
The rain and 30-mph winds put a damper on both teams’ passing attacks. And the soggy, muddy field prevented ball carriers from getting much traction. (Perhaps it’s time to revisit the issue of installing an artificial turf surface?)
But, somehow, Coach Tom Gibbons’ scrappy gridders found a way to overcome both the elements and the 11 players on the other side of the line of scrimmage. No longer can anyone call them a winless team. In fact, one high school sports analyst speculated that the Panthers might win all of their remaining games and finish 5-1 in the Lake Erie League.
With Euclid High golf aces Danny Essel and Tony Jelenic setting the pace, the Panthers staked a strong claim to the Lake Erie League golf crown by winning the league tournament at Big Met Golf Course in late September.
Essel fired a 76 over the 18-hole layout to earn overall medalist honors, while Jelenic finished second with a 77.
A pair of Shaker Heights golfers claimed the next two spots as the Red Raiders finished second in the team standings, a full 16 strokes behind the Panthers’ 318 aggregate (four-man) score.
“Six months before the U.S. hockey team completed its ‘Miracle on Ice’ Winter Olympics Gold [performance], a team of 12-year-old baseball players in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, were competing to complete a three-tournament sweep—a “Triple Crown” of baseball victories that had never been accomplished…”
So begins the prologue to a new sports novel based on the true-life experience of a band of young Euclid baseball players. Author Bruce Walther, a 1985 Euclid High graduate, simply titles the novel “Euclid’s Boys League All-Stars.”
And, although it is based on real people—Walther’s teammates on the All-Star squad in the summer of 1979—he uses fictitious, but often similar-sounding, names for the book’s characters. (Since it’s a novel, he wanted literary license to fabricate dialogue and inject additional creativity.)
As a young ballplayer, Walther was a pretty good second baseman whose teammates gave him the nickname Kuiper, after Cleveland Indians’ infielder Duane Kuiper. Hence, in the novel, the character representing the author is named Kuiper. Moreover, Walther opted for a literary pen name to appear on the book cover: Bruce Double’u. (Think about it for a minute.)