A Page -- Aug. 1, 2010

Valley Forge in second year under 

Coach Vanek; expecting to turn the 

corner in rebuild phase; Pay-to-Play 

hurting numbers in grid situation

August 1, 2010


By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor



PARMA HEIGHTS – With having that one year of rebuilding after a head coaching change last year, Valley Forge High’s football team is ready to move forward and make a challenge in its division of the Northeastern Ohio Conference.


The Patriots are now in their second year under Head Coach Jamie Vanek and certainly can at least improve upon their 2-8 season in 2009 by winning a handful of games if not challenge for a divisional crown and/or playoff spot.


Forge does have experience on its side with five Student/Athletes who are multiple-year lettermen returning. Three year varsity letter-men back in camp are Ethan Lubera: (QB), Tom Simon: (OL/LB), and Duran Efford: (RB). Two-year returning lettermen are Adam Workus: (WR) and Tyler Dolance (OLB). All five are seniors.


“We are athletic and fast, but do not have any superstars,” said Vanek. “We just have a lot of hard-working kids.”


Lubera will be challenged at quarterback by a promising incoming freshman, Brian Berry. Another rookie who could make an impact on the varsity as a freshman is Will Whittacker, a wide receiver and free safety.


“We are very young all the way around, but because they are working extremely hard, the chance of bringing a league title back to the school is not unrealistic,” said Vanek. “We are in the process of rebuilding, but we should not be considered out of any league contentions. We are going in with the attitude that we expect to win every game.”


The change in scheduling has the Patriots adding Midpark as a non-conference foe. Both Forge and Midpark are former members of the Lake Erie League and Pioneer Conference. The Meteors are in the Southwestern Conference and had also recently undergone a coaching change.

Photo by Ken Smith (Official Parma High School Sports Photographer)


Despite the large school district and the enormous size of Parma/Parma Heights/Seven Hills, Forge will be down on numbers since its is one of an increasing number of Student/Athletic departments that have gone to a play-to-pay situation. Throw in the two other public schools and two other private schools in the same district and it reduces the pool even more.


“The team’s confidence is a little low due to pay to play situation; however, each day they are improving in attitude,” said the coach. “With the low numbers, it gets harder to build that confidence.”

Coach Vanek


Still, Forge has had a decent program in recent years with five alumni currently playing college football as Student/Athletes, at Division I, II and III institutions.


Whatever the Patriots might be lacking in numbers, experience, skill or previous winning record, they can make up by learning how to get better and win more. Eighty percent of the members on the team are on the Honor Roll at Forge, once again demonstrating that the Student/Athletic combination is one in which of the two components feed off each other to create multi-phase individuals and team synergy.



Rangers have 90 percent of 

team back, are done with arduous 

rebuilding series and have the 

academic success that can be 

transferred to the pitch

August 1, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor



LAKEWOOD – After getting haunted by injuries two seasons ago and getting decimated by graduation last season, Lakewood High’s girls’ soccer team is looking to return to its winning ways again.


The Rangers were rebuilding last year and finished with an out-of-character 4-11-1 record, which ended in the first-round of the playoffs with an 11-1 loss to Solon. The Rangers have been 16-31-3 in three seasons under coach Josh Thornsberry, who was 94-32-14 as a head coach at Lake Norman High School (North Carolina) before coming to Lakewood.


Perhaps this is the year the two winning track records can come together and the Rangers can challenge for another divisional crown in the Northeast Ohio, its second-to-last year in the league.


Two years ago, the Rangers did win the Lake Division title in the NOC with a 3-0-1 record, despite playing .500 ball overall.


The Rangers can certainly learn to win, since at least has the total Student/Athlete package on its side, having earned Academic All Ohio and Academic All American as a team in each of the past three seasons.


“We need to improve our overall management in moving around the ball,” said Thornsberry. “We have to get tougher. We are still young on defense. The girls are starting to believe.”


The primary goal realistically is for the Rangers to play .500 or better.


“If we can reach that, the rest will follow,” Thornsberry said. “This is the first time in three years that we are not rebuilding so we do have high expectations.”


The Rangers lost only three seniors from the 2009 team, so team chemistry certainly has been established.


Key returning players are Monika Virag (Senior, GK, All GC HM; All NOC), Sam Fedor (Soph., Def., All NOC), Abby Boland (Jr. Center-Mid, All NOC), and Missy Richardson (Sr., Center-Mid, 2-time All NOC HM).


Other returning starters are Gina Mack (Jr., Fwd), Taylor Preble (Soph, Fwd), and Monica Adams (Soph., Def.).


Newcomers expected to make an impact are Christina Sharkin (Frosh,  Def.) and Katie Montgomery (Soph, Def.). Montgomery missed last season due to an injury.



By Harry Plumer

Aug. 1, 2010

AVON, Ohio - The Lake Erie Crushers fell in a 2-1 pitchers duel to the Kalamazoo Kings tonight in All Pro Freight Stadium.

The Kings scored in the opening frame for the second consecutive night, taking advantage of a Crushers miscue to score an unearned run. J.J Sferra walked to open the game and Eric Suttle's groundball was misplayed by Drew Saylor to allow him to reach. Matt Maloney singled to load the bases before Sferra scampered home on a Matt Greener fielder's choice. Rolon was able to strike out Lee Runin and Brendan Murphy, however, to minimize the damage and keep the Kalamazoo lead to 1-0.

The game would remain quiet until the sixth when the Kings doubled their advantage after a great hustle play by player-manager Matt Maloney. Maloney sprinted out of the box after a dropped third strike and beat the throw by inches, getting aboard for Lee Rubin, who brought him in with a one-out base hit for the second unearned Kalamazoo run of the evening.

The Crushers broke through in the ensuing half-inning and cut the lead in half. Raphael Turner walked and advanced to third whenAndrew Davis snapped out of a slump with a base hit. Drew Saylor's sacrifice fly scored Turner and the Crushers pulled to within 2-1.

Lake Erie had the tying run 90 feet away in the eighth in the person of Dom Duggan but Drew Saylor's hard ground ball was snagged by a diving Matt Greener, who tossed to second to force out Andrew Davis and end the inning. Scott Reid picked up his fifth save in a perfect ninth for the Kings.

Alberto Rolon was the tough-luck loser, pitching five innings allowing just one run in his third consecutive loss. Guido Fonseca picked up his second win of the year in 5.2 innings for Kalamazoo.

The series concludes tomorrow when RHP Travis Risser (5-2, 3.59) takes the hill for the Crushers against LHP Alex Szymanski (0-0, 0.00) for Kalmazoo. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.