Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Who I'm watching in SCAL Girl's Track & Field...

The Versailles Lady Tiger Classique opens the high school girls season this Saturday

Rain, snow or sunshine - the high school girls track season begins this weekend and I couldn't be more excited. In the Shelby County Athletic League we'll see Botkins, Houston and Russia all open on Saturday at the annual Lady Tiger Classique in Versailles. The other four league schools get underway in the days that follow and plenty of talent returns this year with one common goal in mind - to be competing the first weekend of June at Jesse Owen Memorial Stadium in Columbus. Below is a rundown of which SCAL athletes I will be keeping my eyes on as the season unfolds.

Russia
Grace York is one of the top returners in all of Shelby County
A trio of Lady Raiders with state meet experience returns. Senior Grace York is an outstanding 800 runner, competing at the state meet last year in both the open 800 and 4x800 relay. She can also break 60 seconds in the 400 and may be the biggest key to Russia's success this year. Much like Grace, senior Shae Goubeaux was an important leg on that 4x800 relay team and has challenged in the open 800 as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see Shae shift her focus to a shorter distance this season, perhaps in the open 400. Finally, junior Emily Bohman will be one to watch in the pole vault this spring after a busy off-season competing both in Ohio and out of state. Emily broke a Russia school record last year during the regular season when she vaulted 10'-6" and later went 11'-0" to finish 13th at state.

The Lady Raiders have quite a tradition in track. They've won the SCAL championship the last six consecutive years and are my early favorite to capture the title again. Coaches Brad Heaton and Dan Schafer have a history of using their limited number of athletes and finding the right combination to pull off wins. This year will be a real test for the coaches though, as the league may be as competitive as it's been in a long time.

Ft. Loramie
The graduation of Olivia Quinter, Andrea Meyer and distance runner Rachel Schmitmeyer leaves a huge hole in the Lady Redskins track and field program. Both Olivia and Andrea competed at the state meet last year. Olivia was 2nd in the 300 hurdles, 6th in the 100 hurdles, and Andrea was 9th in the pole vault. However, that hole from last year could be filled quickly with some fantastic newcomers this spring.

Freshman Paige Rethman had a very successful cross country season in the fall and will take over nicely in distance events like the 800, 1600 and 3200. I'm also looking forward to a big season from freshman sprinter Kennedi Gephart who can run anything from the 100 through 400. Perhaps the brightest freshman though will be hurdler Alyssa Wrasman. Alyssa is already an exceptional talent in the 100 hurdles and should have no problem transitioning to the longer 300 hurdles as well. She stayed competitive in the off-season too, qualifying for the Indoor State Championships in the 60 hurdles.

My early feeling on Ft. Loramie is excitement for where their program is heading, but they're not a lock for a league title right now. I think the Lady Redskins will be an interesting team to watch this season and seem to be in the beginning stages of building something special.

Paige Rethman is one of several talented freshman this year at Ft. Loramie

Anna
Krista Gehret will score a lot for Anna
The Lady Rockets is an appropriate name for this group, because these girls can fly. Leading the way is senior sprinter Krista Gehret who will contribute in a lot of events. Her best race may be the 200, but she will also score points in the 100 and both sprint relays.

Speaking of sprint relays, Anna's 4x100 went to state last year and back from that group along with Krista Gehret are juniors Beka Emerson and Rylie Edwards, as well as sophomore Hannah Shoemaker. In the 4x200, sophomores Claire Bensman and Lauren Stephens had a memorable 2016 and were joined by Krista Gehret and Beka Emerson. And if all that isn't enough, senior Kennedey Glover and junior Rachel Shoemaker return this year and will most likely be included in that whole mix.

I expect sophomore Shana Roe to push teammate Rylie Edwards in the 100 hurdles. I also look for a good season from senior Claire Spicer in the shot put. One last event I'm keeping my eye on is Hannah Shoemaker in the pole vault. Although she kept busy with cheer and gymnastics this winter, I will be curious if Hannah can improve upon her success from last year.

Botkins
When you graduate a legend like Chloe Flora who made it to state in three events last year, it's going to hurt. However, the cupboard is far from bare at Botkins.

Maybe the brightest star returning is thrower Grace Homan who made a splash last year as just a freshman. Grace went to Columbus in both the shot put and discus, and will be the early favorite to win the county in those events this year. Another returnee is sophomore Andriana Jutte who got a taste of Jesse Owens Stadium on the Lady Trojans 4x400 relay team. I really like Adriana in the 300 hurdles and will be anxious to see what she can do in that event this season. Finally, junior Hannah Bailey was part of that 4x400 relay last year with Adrianna and Chloe. Hannah is a middle distance runner and I think her best solo race could be the 800.

Adriana Jutte is only a sophomore, but returns with state meet experience

Houston, Jackson Center & Fairlawn
Keep an eye on Morgan Ely this year
Houston will have a couple athletes to watch in field events. Senior Caity Falls won the SCAL in the high jump last year and sophomore Shelby Ayers will be stronger in the discus throw after finishing 10th at regionals. I also see junior Morgan Ely emerging as a threat in the 3200 for the Lady Wildcats.

At Jackson Center the top athlete will be sprinter Kennadie Reese who just came off a successful basketball season. Kennadie went to state with the Lady Tigers 4x200 relay team last spring, but could be the league's best in the 100 dash this year.

Last, but not least, over at Fairlawn I'll be interested to see if sophomore Madison Huelskamp can win a county title in the long jump. The two seniors that finished in front of her last year are gone and Madison made it all the way to the regional meet as a freshman for the Lady Jets.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Old Photos from Yesteryear

A retiree friend sent me this link to a French website of all places that includes interesting USA photos from 1940-1969, many of which brought back memories of my childhood. The photos that peaked the most interest are shown below along with my recollections about the photo.


My Mom had this very same refrigerator made by Frigidaire in Dayton. She used to work there as did I a number of years later. She bought it on employee discount before the war. It never did conk out, so was eventually moved to the summer kitchen on the family farm when a newer frost free model was purchased. Dad drilled a hole in the door, removed the shelves and installed a pony keg of beer so he could have a cold draft beer after a hard day of work. His timing was terrible, as I had just left for college! There’s no doubt he waited patiently until i was gone to put the old fridge back to good use.


The above old photo of an amusement park ride sure brought back memories of the Shelby County fair. Here’s a previous blogpost about the fair.


Niagara Falls was a stopover on the way back from a trip several of my friends and I took in the summer of 1966 to the east coast returning via Canada after graduating from high school. Those infamous ventures were documented in this blogpost.


My Christmas list always included an electric train, but Santa unfortunately never delivered on this request. However, several of my cousins had model trains, so whenever visiting them, I would enjoy playing with their set and typically making suggestions about re-arranging the layout. They were always willing since the old route was somewhat boring to them, but never to me. Fun times!


Conversely, going to the dentist was anything but fun times. With no fluoride in the water on the farm, cavities were routine and a shot of novocaine almost as painful as the drilling itself, the dentist was my number one enemy. Still is to this day!


Mom would serve a family meal like shown above literally three times a day; for breakfast, dinner (noon meal) and supper (evening meal). Always had to say prayers before and after each meal. Supper was the best meal, with the leftovers generally served for lunch the next day, unless Mom made cornbread, in which case we’d have fried corn bread and lassie (molasses) for breakfast the next morning, a sweet treat. After supper, Dad and I would go out to milk the cows while Mom and my sisters would clean the dishes. Afterwards we’d reconvene in the living room to play cards or board games and watch TV as a family. Except during Lent, when we’d recite the rosary. Times have sure changed!

Check out the rest of the photographs at this link to recollect some of your own memories.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Short Basketball Shorts Are Coming Back!

Can it be true? According to a recent basketball article, shorter shorts are coming back. Recall that the trend to longer shorts started with Michigan’s Fab Five back in 1991. Living in Michigan and as a graduate of the University, it was fun to see them play. However, the long, baggy shorts never quite grew on me, so I’m glad to see the trend finally reversing.

A video has even been created to push the style: Make basketball shorts short again. Wonder which local high school team will be the first to show up in shorter shorts? Just hope they don’t go back too far like pictured below from my high school days!




Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Recently, an article appeared in USA Today stating that the last remaining Marine died who had invaded Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945. That was a surprise to me since I seemed to recall a living relative, Vernon Hoying, had served on the Iwo Jima invasion force. But his son, Jack, said he was on the invasion force of Okinawa that followed on April 1. Jack went on to describe how his Dad ended up in the Marines and the story behind the 1943 photo on the right of his parents. Here’s the full account of this heroic Marine as written by son Jack.

Vernon Hoying, U.S.M.C.
My Father, Vernon Hoying, of Fort Loramie, (St. Patricks) Ohio. Vernon was the oldest of 3 sons, and was deferred from the draft because of the need for keeping the farming industry going. By 1944, the need for more military personnel outweighed the need to keep them on the farm, so Dad signed up to be in the Navy. At their "swearing in" ceremony, a Marine came into the room and stated that he needed two volunteers to be Marines. Nobody said a word, so the Marine pointed to my Dad and another young man (Ed Seivert of Coldwater) and said "You just volunteered to be Marines”.

Boot Camp was at the Marine Corp Recruit Depot and Camp Pendleton in San Diego. Growing up on a farm, Dad never learned to swim. He wasn't able to pass the swimming portion of the training and had to repeat one week of the training. This might of saved his life in the long run, as the early graduates left for the invasion of Iwo Jima.

At one point during boot camp, the marines were given a three day pass, and everyone wanted to go to Hollywood, which was 100 miles North. Large groups of Marines stood along the highway in hopes of hitch-hiking to Hollywood. A flat bed semi-trailer stopped and the Marines packed the truck bed. There were no sides on the truck at all, so they all stood and locked arms while driving down the highway at 60 mph.

After boot came, Dad was given a two week pass before he was to return to San Diego to ship out. He caught a train home, which took 3 long days. While at home, he wore his dress blue uniform while out on dates with Mom. One of the dates was to Russell's Point Amusement Park, where they had their photo taken in a photo booth. Dad carried those photos during the war and they are still in his billfold today. The long train ride back had a few delays and Dad arrived back at base later than he was supposed to. He was told to work in the kitchen for a few days as punishment, but he was actually one of the first in his platoon to return. 

He shipped out of San Diego and they stopped at Hawaii to re-supply, but they were not allowed off of the ship for the 2 day stay. From there, they sailed on to secured Guadalcanal, where they trained hard for weeks in mountainous jungle conditions. Heavy packs on long marches in the mountains was the norm. On several occasions, they would board a ship which would go out a mile or two offshore. They would then repel down the sides of the ships into landing craft for invasion training. While on Guadalcanal, Dad would walk the 2 miles to the Catholic Chapel to attend mass on any night he was free. On March 15th, 1945, they boarded ships that would carry them into battle (to a location that was still a secret)

On April 1st, 1945, they rose at 4:00 am and were served the best breakfast he could remember. Steak, eggs, potatoes, pancakes, fresh orange juice, etc. Then they boarded the landing craft that would take them onto the Okinawa beaches, 7500 miles from Shelby county. He said that the scariest part of the landing was seeing some of the battle experienced Marines in the landing craft that were more afraid than anyone else. The thunder of the dozens of battleships shelling the island was unforgettable.The following events are in somewhat random order.... just some of the recollections of my Dad's part of the battle.

For most of the campaign, Dad carried a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle). His Ammo carrier was Alan Peach (pictured below) from Mississippi. They remained friends until Alan died in 2008


Rain and mud was a constant companion. Dad said that he went over 4 weeks without dry clothes or socks. Commanding officers always stressed that they keep their feet dry to prevent disease, but there just wasn't a way to dry cloths in the hot, rainy weather. Even with all the rain, drinking water wasn't all that plentiful. They would send gasoline cans back behind the lines to get more drinking water. It tasted like gas, but it was better than going without.

Each company had a "runner" who drove a Jeep back to the friendly lines for ammo, food and supplies. The driver would run almost continuously during daylight hours and the Jeep would be completely worn out in about a 4 weeks or less. It would be pushed into a ravine and a new one would be procured. 

After securing the northern part of the peninsula, the 22nd Marines were assigned to take Sugar Loaf hill. During that bloody fight, my Father lost many of the fellow Marines in his platoon. Dad said that "Marines were expendable, just part of the war machine". He wasn't bitter about it... that's just the way it was. 


Nighttime never brought much sleep, as the Japanese would often silently attack fox holes. On more than one night somebody would hear sounds in the jungle and they called on Dad with his BAR to hose it down. He did so and all would be quiet. They didn't climb out of their foxholes until daylight, and typically would find attackers with bayonet tipped rifles.

Dad talks about the Navy Medical Corpsman with great respect. He mentioned an incident where they were trapped along a stone wall, rock chips flying everywhere from incoming fire. A Marine near him went down and a Corpsman was called. The first corpsman started working on the Marine, but was killed instantly. A second corpsman arrived and suffered the same fate.

Dad's platoon suffered a very high casualty rate, but was probably typical of most units. Of the 64 original men he landed with on Okinawa, only 4 finished the 82 day battle. 

Dad was wounded in the arm on June 18th by an airburst shell. He said that they were sitting in the grass and he had just taken his rifle apart to clean it. Said it was one of the first times they had time to do something like that since the April 1st landing on Okinawa. They were even making small talk about how they thought the island was pretty much secured. About then, they heard some shells flying overhead and didn’t think it was something that was going to affect them. Soon after that thought, Dad felt something tug on his sleeve. He looked down and saw his “dungaree” was ripped apart near the elbow and there was lots of blood. He dropped his dissembled gun and got a ride to the field hospital in a jeep. After being assessed at the hospital, they wrapped some gauze on his arm and said that they’d get to him later. Sometime during the night, they woke him up to bring him to see a doctor for cleaning and stitches. He said his bed was soaked in blood all around his arm. That night it rained and he said that he never slept so good in his life. Being dry and safe is something we take for granted, but it wasn't so for the Marines. He said it was the first time in 60 days that he slept off the ground and wasn't worried about the enemy attacking during the night. It rained so hard that night that the tent flooded and his boots and all his clothes that were stashed under his cot washed away, but Dad never heard a thing all night. After 4 days at the hospital, Dad returned to his Platoon.

Dad said that you couldn’t ever trust the Japs that “tried” to surrender, as they often had grenades or something to attack you with.

During a quiet time on the island, a marine in his platoon shot a wild boar. Being the only farm boy, Dad was able to show everyone how to butcher the tough old hog. He said that they really enjoyed the fresh meat, and even the Jewish boys from Brooklyn had a sample. 

After Okinawa was secured, the 6th Marine Division was sent to Guam, where they started training for the invasion of mainland Japan. When they found out about the dropping of the Atomic bombs, they were thrilled by the thought of the war ending. When the official surrender was announced, most of the Marines swarmed to the camp to get drunk and celebrate. Dad said that he went to a chapel and prayed, as he knew what an invasion of the mainland would of been like.

After Guam, Dad was then assigned to guard duty in Tsingtao, China for a couple months. There were so many Marines over there in the Pacific, but only so many boats to bring them home. He finally made enough points to earn his ride home and when the boat left China, the Marine band on-board started playing "California, here we come". That song will still bring a tear to his eye. Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge come into sight is also a memory that will stick with him for life.

Vernon was given a Japanese sword after the official Japanese surrender ceremony in Tsingtao, China and he had it strapped to the outside of his duffel bag on his trip home. When changing trains in Chicago's Union Station, a couple local thugs tried to steal the sword from him. I guess they didn't figure on the fight a battle hardened Marine would put up.

During the war, all mail was censored and incoming and outgoing mail was read to make sure there wasn't any secret information being slipped out. Dad and his parents worked out a system so he could let them know where he was. (I'm sure they weren't the only ones doing this) With every note that Dad would write home, he would include a single alphabetic character placed in the address that they could use to piece together over time that would spell out where he was. In their case, the letter was the middle initial of my Grandpa's name in the address, which would change with every note he sent home.

Vernon returned to Ohio with a Purple Heart, married his sweetheart Betty Poeppelman in 1947, had five children and was a farmer until he retired in 1985. Mom died in 2015. The photo at the bottom of our war hero Dad was taken on his recent 95th birthday.







Monday, March 6, 2017

Russia Girls Basketball Wins District Championship

Russia senior Maria Herron got Covington's best defensive 
effort and a district title to go along with it

A former local girls basketball coach came up to me shortly after Saturday's district championship game between Russia and Covington. He shook his head and exclaimed, "If you would have told me Russia could beat Covington without Maria Herron scoring a single field goal the entire game, I would have called you crazy!" The fact is, if I would have actually said that about the Russia senior, I might have questioned my own sanity! Credit Covington for an absolutely stellar defensive effort on the Shelby County Player of the Year who ended the game 5-for-6 from the free throw line, all in the 4th quarter, for all five of her points. More importantly, credit Herron's coaches and teammates. On top of that list Saturday was Tiffany Hatcher, Russia's only other senior, who came up big when her team needed it most to lead the Lady Raiders to a 42-28 District Championship.

Quarter 1
Hatcher's two 3's, two free throws and 
two steals led Russia in the first half
If Russia fans were nervous about a slow start, Hatcher calmed their fears immediately when she buried a three-pointer from the corner seven seconds into the game. Additional baskets by junior Cameo Wilson and sophomore Laurissa Poling built a 7-2 Lady Raiders lead. Covington clawed back, led by star point guard Sammi Whiteman, a 1st team All-CCC sophomore. Whiteman connected on her own three-pointer and another short jumper on an ensuing possession to eventually tie the score at 9-9. The teams ended the quarter with Lady Buccs leading 11-9.

Quarter 2
Hatcher kick-started her team again 37 seconds into the quarter with two free throws to knot things up at 11. Russia eventually got a brief lead at the 5:38 mark with an old fashioned three-point play by Poling to make the score 14-13, but Covington senior guard Addison Metz got hot canning back-to-back field goals along with a Whiteman jumper to give the Lady Buccs their biggest lead of the game at five points. Russia responded with a Wilson layup and Hatcher nailed another three-pointer to bring Russia fans to their feet and tie the score at 19. Covington senior Lexie Long ended the period with a layup to make it 21-19 and the Buccs maintained the same two-point advantage they had after the first quarter.

Perhaps the most significant statistic of the first half was that 10 Russia turnovers turned into 10 points for Covington while seven Covington turnovers resulted in only five points for Russia. The most glaring stat for Russia fans, however, was just three Lady Raiders had scored with Hatcher's 8, Wilson's 6 and Poling's 5 compared to a balanced attack by the Lady Buccs with six scorers overall, led by Whiteman with 7.

Russia's All-SCAL post players Poling and Wilson had a solid first half. Poling scored five points, had five rebounds and four blocks. Wilson netted six points on 3-for-5 shooting.

Pleiman, a point guard, was second
in rebounds for Russia with five 
Quarter 3
The third period started with a pair of free throws from Russia junior Whitney Pleiman and then, on cue, Hatcher drilled another three-pointer to put the Raiders up 24-21 and give them a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Poling closed out the quarter with Russia's final three points for a 27-23 lead. At this point, Herron still hadn't scored, but she had a huge quarter defensively with four steals and helped force Covington into 10 turnovers, more than they had the entire first half. It was Herron's defense that set the tone for the entire second half.

Quarter 4
Russia sophomore Jenna Cordonnier opened the scoring with her only field goal of the game, but Covington starter Victoria Lyle quickly hit a couple free throws to keep the Buccs within striking distance at 29-25. That was close enough for Hatcher, as she stepped up to nail a jumper and two free throws at the 3:11 mark to make the score 33-25. Russia scored on free throws the rest of the game, nine more times, including the five by Herron, to make the final score seem worse than it actually was at 42-28. 

The game was certainly a tale of two halves. In the second half, Russia scored seven points off 11 Covington turnovers while Covington couldn't cash in on any of Russia's six turnovers. Russia also balanced their scoring attack with six girls as Covington managed just two scorers. Russia's defensive effort left the Lady Buccs without a field goal the entire second half on 0-for-21 shooting. All seven of Covington's second half points came from the foul line. The Lady Buccs bowed out of the tournament at 20-6 while Russia improved to 21-5 and advances to play Minster (23-2) in the Regional Tournament this Thursday at 8:00 in Vandalia Butler's Student Activity Center. 

Box Score:
Russia (42) - Hatcher 11-4-15, Poling 6-2-8, Wilson 6-2-8, Herron 0-5-5, Cordonnier 2-2-4, Pleiman 0-2-2
Covington (28) - Whiteman 7-5-12, Metz 4-2-6, Lyle 2-2-4, Christian 2-0-2, L.Long 2-0-2, Warner 2-0-2

The district title was Russia's third since 2012 and their 21 wins is one away from tying a school record of 22 wins set in 1994.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

More Local eBay Memorabilia


The above license plate tag advertising Wentz Chevrolet in Anna brought to mind a very early memory (I was three) when my Dad purchased a brand new ’51 Chevy from the dealership and the car had the same tag offered on eBay. Actually my very first memory was going out with Mom in our old pre-war 1937 Chevy on a cold February morning and the car wouldn’t start. Dad eventually had to hand crank it to get it started, after which we drove to Wentz’s in Anna to pick out a new car from their lot, trading in the old ’37. Probably just needed a battery, but no doubt Mom said enough is enough with the old clunker.

1937 and 1951 Chevrolet


The above eBay offerings related to Ft. Loramie places of business were all favorites of my parents. Vogelsang’s, the Ft. Loramie Hotel and Earl’s Island were great places to eat (and drink) around town, all demolished in recent years. Ray Larger and his brother Ralph picked up the cans of milk like those pictured below each day that were stored in a tank of cool water after milking the cows to keep the milk fresh. And feed for those milk cows (plus hogs and chickens) came from Holthaus Elevator, also since demolished. Our family’s Holthaus Elevator knife had been sharpened so many times, most of the name had disappeared. And Borchers Store as depicted in an old advertising flyer shown above was without a doubt, the most frequently used place of business by Mom & Dad. Here’s a previous blogpost about the Borchers brothers, owners of the store.


One of my favorite eBay offerings about local memorabilia is the postcard below of St. Augustine’s church in Minster. Since we had many relatives on both sides of the family who lived in Minster, we frequently attended a baptism, first communion, wedding or funeral at the beautiful church. Our relatives would brag that they had the only double steeple church in the area, but Dad would reply that St. Michael’s steeple was the tallest.


Speaking of Minster, wonder if the current owners of Bud’s Pizza would honor the old token shown below. It may be worth as much as a pizza! And there’s the interesting photo below of Minster's old Crescent Theater on the cover of a 1980 vinyl record featuring Jim Prenger and his Dive Bar Stars! Their songs are still on YouTube.


And for some other memorabilia from around the area, check out the photos below:

Deck of Cards - 150th Anniversary Token

Shelby County Courthouse - Railroad Bridge in Sidney

Decker's Lard Can and 1863 Token from Piqua

1912 Osgood Baseball team photo

Anna FFA coat and Centennial mug

Maria Stein memorabilia

Thursday, February 23, 2017

2016-17 SCAL All-County Boys & Girls

Nathan Lessing surpassed 2,000 career points at Fairlawn and
was named Shelby County Athletic League Player of the Year


Maria Herron had a spectacular senior season that included
1,000 career points and setting a single game 3-point record with 8