A Page -- Aug. 12, 2010

Solon High's girls' golf team has the 

experience to turn the corner this 


Aug. 12, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


SOLON – With the highest number of experienced Student/Athletes it has had in many years, Solon’s girls’ golf team is ready to turn the corner this season and become a more competitive team in the Northeast Ohio Conference and the district.

After going 2-16 (1-9 in NOC Valley) and taking a few lumps in 2009, Damien Kopkas, now in his fourth season of coaching the Comets, has good reason to be optimistic with his six varsity players, including four multiple-year letter winners, returning.

“This is the year we can turn it around; we have the talent and the experience necessary to make some noise in our conference and in the state tournament,” Kopkas said. “An excellent off-season should propel us to a successful season.  We hope to be in the upper tier of the NOC Valley Division, and it is a team goal to advance to the district tournament.”


The returning players certainly learned some things over the past two or three seasons that they have been able to correct and channel into this season’s approach. Kopkas has a group of girls that have the twofold Student/Athlete package together, excelling equally as well in both the Student and Athlete realms.

“Our girls take a rigorous schedule of courses and are extremely successful,” the coach said. “That intelligence is evident as they think their way around the course. The girls are extremely coachable, which isn’t surprising as they are teachable in the classroom as well.

 “I am certain that when the teachers at Solon High School see the name of one of our golfers on their class list, they know they are getting a student who will work hard and ultimately, be successful.”

The six returning gals for the Comets are Robin Mason (Senior, 2 letters earned, 9-hole average of 54.0), Aliza Weiss (Senior, 1 letter earned, 9-hole average of 56.4), Hannah Lenhart (Senior, 2 letters earned, 9-hole average of 57.3), Aly Ales (Junior, 2 letters earned, 9-hole average of 47.1), and Tiffany Li (Junior, 1 letter earned, 9-hole average of 55.4).

“We have much more experience in this year’s team than in past years,” Kopkas said. “Even though we are young, the girls have played in summer tournaments and come into this season ready to be successful. What is working in our favor are: experience, tournament tested, determination, and coachable girls.”

Ales had a decent post season, falling in the districts in a playoff for a chance to go to regionals. She can be a leader of newcomers to the varsity program that include Grace Gutierrez (Junior, JV player in ’09) and freshmen Katie Basch and Alexis Gray.

“We need to develop consistency: because we are young; we cannot let one bad shot lead to a bad round or a bad week,” Kopkas said. .”We also have been working on course management; we need to continue to play ‘smart golf’ and not go for the reward even if there is too much risk.”

Kopkas has set the bar for the girls. As a team, the Comets, he believes, could win the conference championship and advance to districts as team. As far as each one as individuals, the coach just expects them to get better every day.

While the Comets slipped some and lost some close matches last year, they were moving on the right path in Kopkas’s first two seasons, winning a combined 12 matches.

Purple Raiders looking for 19th 

straight OAC title, and 11th national 

title since the '90s

August 11, 2010 

By Lenny Reich

ALLIANCE -- The University of Mount Union football team returns only nine 

starters and 31 lettermen, but Larry Kehres probably is approaching his 25th 

season as head coach much like the last 24, which is good for a fan of the 

Purple Raiders.


Replacing players at key positions and reloading a roster will be the charge 

of Kehres and his staff who look to continue a run of 18 consecutive Ohio 

Athletic Conference Championships (1992-2009) while contending for a 

record 11th NCAA Division III National Championship. 



Jody Burrows
Jody Burrows Named Assistant Women's Basketball Coach at Oberlin
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8/12/2010 10:30:03 AM
By Mike Mancini

Oberlin – Oberlin College Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kerry Jenkins has announced the hiring of Jody Burrows as his lead assistant for the upcoming season. 

Burrows comes to Oberlin from Northeastern University where she spent last season as an assistant coach at her alma mater. With the Huskies, she was responsible for the development of backcourt players while assisting with recruiting, film exchange and game-day operations. 


With five players returning from last 

year's state third-place team, 

Gilmour's tennis team is a candidate 

for going all the way this year

Aug. 12, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


GATES MILLS – Gilmour Academy’s tennis team begins the season this week and with a nucleus of girls who have been together for quite a few years should be able to cough up at least three points in most small matches and go deep in the Coaches’ Cup again.

The Lancers have two seniors who are in their fourth year of varsity tennis, three juniors in their third year of varsity tennis and a senior in her second year of varsity tennis. Presuming that ninth-year Gilmour Coach Cyndi Smith goes with experience, only one starting spot will be filled by a newcomer or previous Varsity B or JV player.

Returning from last year’s varsity outfit are Kristina Snyder (SR, 4th year varsity), Ali Althans (SR, 4th year varsity), Danielle Lawrence (JR, 3rd year varsity), Erin Abdalian (JR, 3rd year varsity), Lubby Althans, (JR, 3rd year varsity), and Morgan Mills (SR, 2nd year varsity).

The only one missing is Lauren Davis, who would have been a junior this season. Davis, who was runner up for Cleveland Amateur Athlete of the Year in 2009, has transferred to the Chris Evert Tennis School in Boca Raton. Davis had some strong placings on the USTA Circuit over the summer and decided to move on to continue on the tennis fast track. Davis was the state champ as a freshman in 2008.


Still, GA still has some high-level players. The older Althans finished among the top eight singles players in the 2009 Division II State Tournament while the team qualified to States in the Coaches’ Cup, going 1-1 and claiming third place in the entire state. The finish earned Althans all-state honors.

“We’d like to make it to the state tournament as a team and get one to three players qualify to State as individuals,” said Smith. ““Our depth is the best it’s ever been and our team chemistry is outstanding.”

No. 3 tennis team in the state in 2009

Although the Independent School League (ISL) dissolved at the conclusion of the 2009 season, Gilmour had earned championships in the final two seasons and would have looked for a three-peat had the league remained intact.  The Lancers are, however, still looking forward to another successful NEOTA season.

“We expect to have an excellent season again this year, but our schedule is very tough,” Smith said. “Teams that were good last year that we expect to be even stronger this year include Avon Lake, Brecksville, Hathaway Brown and Beachwood.”

Also the Lancers have added St. Vincent-St. Mary to the schedule this year.

“I’m very confident in the team heading into this season; we’re a tenacious group,” said Smith. ““We are working to improve our confidence as doubles players.”

In the pre-season and this week, Smith has spent time on finding the right doubles combinations.

Smith will be aided by Varsity B head coach Henry Wiley and JV head coach Heidi Buggele, both of who were in those same roles in ’09.

“We will definitely have several players come up from the B team. They did very well last year and we’re looking forward to their continuing development,” said Smith.

With consistent coaching, consistent state success has followed. The Lancers have had a state qualifier in the each of the last three seasons, with Jen Snyder in ’07, Davis in ’08 and Althans last year.

This group as usual excels academically as well.

“All of our returning players have grade point averages above a 3.5. They are excellent students who know how to balance a rigorous course schedule with a tough tennis schedule. Ali Althans was a National Merit Scholar last year, while also earning all-state honors, a true example of what Gilmour is all about,” said Smith.

Former Viking Wrestling Coach 

Dick Bonacci to be inducted into 

National Wrestling Hall of Fame

August 12, 2010                                        

By Brian McCann

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Dick Bonacci, who won 296 dual matches, coached eight All-Americans and sent wrestlers to 34 consecutive NCAA Championships during his Cleveland State coaching tenure, has been named to the inaugural class of inductees into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Ohio Chapter, which will take place at a ceremony at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Dublin, Ohio on Sunday, Sept. 12.

Bonacci, who is already a member of three Hall of Fames, will be joined by Chris Ford (Ohio State), Jim Humphrey (Ohio State), Harry Houska (Ohio), Richard "Doc" Leffler (St. Francis deSales HS) and George Kovalick (Bridgeport HS) in the initial class.
lead photo

"I am really excited and honored," Bonacci said.  "I've been fortunate to be inducted into five other Halls of Fame but none have been nationally.  It all goes back to the kids who wrestled for me.  Without them, I wouldn't be in there.  This is the big one."

Subpages (1): B Page -- Aug. 12, 2010