A Page -- Aug. 12, 2011

North Ridgeville cross country returning four of top five S/As from ’10; senior-laden group gives Rangers experience/leadership

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


With four of the five top runners from last year’s North Ridgeville High girls’ cross country team returning, the Rangers have experience in their corner in the hopes that it would be the link to making a serious bid for the West Shore Conference championship.

 Season Preview

Among those veterans returning, three are seniors, a leadership-destined and seasoned group that includes Tessa Comnick, Kelsey Sikon, Caitlyn Tipple. Other varsity Student/Athletes back in the fold are junior Taylor Lowery and sophomore Leah Lindak.

“This year, we’re looking for one our sophomore runners to step up and be a strong top-5 runner,” said Rangers Coach Sam Rufener. “The West Shore Conference is extremely tough. The team average would have to be well below 20:00 to be a contender.”

Joining Lindak in that sophomore crew battling to be a No. 5 are Kayla Lowery and Grace Wade. Last year, four of the eight teams in this year’s West Shore Conference qualified for the state meet.

“It’s arguably the toughest conference in the state,” said Rufener. “Our focus will be on personal records, which will in turn enable us to add points to the other teams.”

Elyria Catholic and Lakewood are joining the West Shore Conference this and next season, respectively.

“Both these squads are incredibly competitive,” the coach said.

This year Ridgeville will be participating in the highly competitive Tiffin Carnival race.

“It’s our first year in this competition,” Coach Rufener said. “I believe it’s the largest meet in the state and should prove to be an awesome experience for the runners.”

Whatever impasses the girls have not learned on the courses yet, they should be able to do it with their mental abilities this year as the Rangers have team average grade point average above 3.0.

“Our girls are outstanding students,” Coach Rufener said.  “Academic struggles are never an issue with our Student/Athletes.”

Storm Women Honored as All-Academic Team

PAINESVILLE – For the second straight year, the Lake Erie College women's track and field team was recognized as a Division II All-Academic Team by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) when the organization released its listing on Tuesday, Aug. 9. 

Lake Erie was one of 74 teams recognized. The Storm posted a 3.21 grade point average as a team during the spring season and finished the year with a 3.19 cumulative team GPA.
Brunswick native Colleen Bednar

Individually, sophomores Colleen Bednar (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) and Kaitlyn Holland (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) were named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team earlier this week.

"This award speaks to the kind of student-athletes we have in our program, kids who work hard at practice and competition and put time into their studies" said head coach Bryan Harmon.  "These young ladies have proven they have what it takes to compete at a high level both athletically and in the classroom."

In addition to the track and field team, the Storm women's cross country squad also has achieved USTFCCCA All-Academic recognition each of the past two seasons.

Mount Union picked first, Ohio Northern second in OAC football poll

Austintown, OH - Mount Union, under the direction of Head Coach Larry Kehres, was picked in both the preseason media and coaches’ polls to win the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) football title in 2011. The preseason polls were released today at the OAC Football Media Preview, held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Mount Union received 23 of 23 first place votes (230 points) in the media poll and nine of 10 first place votes (81points) in the coaches’ poll. Head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting.

An experienced roster returns for the Mount Union football team as 49 letterwinners and 18 starters look to continue a run of 19 consecutive OAC Championships (1992-10), while contending for a record 11th NCAA Division

III National Championship.

Coach Kehres returns for his 26th year on the sidelines as one of only 11 coaches in college football historyto win over 300 career games. His career record currently stands at 303-22-3.

Most of the experience returns on a defense that bring back nine starters from a unit that was No. 1 inscoring defense (8.93 points-per-game) and No. 2 in total defense (212.33) in the nation last season. 

The Raiders have six home games in 2011and enter the season with a 53-game regular season win streak

that starts on September 10 at 1:30 pm against The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in Mount Union Stadium.

Coaches Poll                                          Media Poll

Rank School (1st Place Votes) Pts. Rank School (1st Place Votes) Pts.

1 Mount Union 81 (9)                             1 Mount Union 230 (23)

2 Ohio Northern 71 (1)                           2 Ohio Northern 203

3 Baldwin-Wallace 57                             3 Baldwin-Wallace 165

4 Otterbein 53                                         4 Otterbein 159

5 Heidelberg 47                                       5 John Carroll 134

6 Capital 43                                             6 Capital 117

7 John Carroll 42                                     7 Heidelberg 109

8 Muskingum 25                                      8 Muskingum 65

9 Marietta 21                                           9 Marietta 59

10 Wilmington 10                                    10 Wilmington 24

















With David Rudary and his 39 average returning, Solon golf has enough leadership to be a divisional contender in the NOC

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


SOLON – When a team has a highly experienced golfer with an under-40 average (nine holes), the other starters could use his scores as a benchmark to also shoot low for a projected end result of many team dual wins, which could very well be the case for Solon’s boys this season.

David Rudary is the Comets’ returning co-captain. He made First Team All-Division River Division of Northeast Ohio Conference, closing the season with a 39 average.

Also, Jim Tornatore is a returning senior letterman.

“We have good senior leadership and overall team balance,” Solon coach Jeff Aker said. “The goals for our team are to win our conference or at least our division of the NOC, and then advance as far as possible, both individually and as a team in the sectional and district tournaments.”

 Season Preview

Also returning are sophomore Justin Razzante and junior Eric Rudary.

A new tournament the Comets have entered for the 2011 season is the Aurora Greenmen Invitational at Barrington Country Club.  Also, Mentor is joining the same division of the NOC, replacing Nordonia.

“We will be rebuilding, in a sense, by way of having lost four important senior scorers from last season,” Aker said. “Despite losing those guys, we still have good team chemistry and hopefully will become more and more competitive as a team during the season.”

The Comets finished 8-12 overall in 2010.

Now in his sixth year as the head coach at Solon, Aker will continue with the same right-hand man, Joe Nunney, who has been his assistant all six years.

Nunney and Aker also have a strong influence on the boys in terms of focusing and setting priorities.

“We stress education at Solon and are proud of our golfers and their academic achievements,” Aker said.  “School comes first.”


2011 Football Preview - Raiders In the Hunt For No. 11 in 2011

An experienced roster returns for the Mount Union football team as 49 letterwinners and 18 starters look to continue a run of 19 consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference Championships (1992-10) while contending for a record 11th NCAA Division III National Championship.

There is plenty of experience for the Purple Raiders off the field as well as head coach Larry Kehres returns for his 26th year on the sidelines as one of only 11 coaches in college football history to win over 300 career games as his career record stands at 303-22-3.

Most of the experience returns on a defense that bring back nine starters from a unit that was No. 1 in scoring defense in the nation allowing just 8.93 points per game last year. 

Buckeye alumnus Chaz Jordan (20)

The No. 2 ranked total defense (212.33) brings back the entire starting secondary in seniors Chaz Jordan (Medina/Buckeye), Alex Ferrara(Independence/Walsh Jesuit) and Cameron West (Frazeysburg/Tri-Valley) along with juniors Nick Driskill(Wabash, Ind./Southwood) and Isaiah Scott (Hamilton/Fairfield).

Jordan and Ferrara were All-OAC First Teamers and All-North Region, while Driskill was an All-OAC Second Team selection.

Senior Arthur Smith (Miami, Fla./Killian) is lone starter back at linebacker while up front senior Chris Favazzo(Blacklick/Columbus St. Charles), junior Charles Dieuseul (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) and sophomoreMatt Fechko (Twinsburg/Twinsburg) are back on the line.

Twinsburg alum Matt Fechko

On offense things start right in the middle with senior center Brett Ekkens (Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood) who was an All-OAC First Team and All-North Region pick. He is joined on the offensive line by junior left tackle Antonio Tate (Cleveland/Villa Angela-St. Joseph) and in the backfield, junior running back Jeremy Murray(Martins Ferry/Martins Ferry), who totaled over 1600 yards and 21 touchdowns a year ago, is back along with senior fullback Wes Ryder (Dayton/Belmont).

Junior signal caller Neal Seaman (Louisville/Louisville) is back after a late season injury and off-season surgery as he tossed for 3,190 yards with 28 touchdowns on his way to All-OAC honorable mention honors. 

While Seaman's top target in Cecil Shorts III has gone to the NFL, a talented group of receivers are back led by All-OAC honorable mention junior Jasper Collins (Geneva, NY/Geneva) along with seniors Brandon Brown(Merrillville, Ind./Cincinnati Harmony Prep) and A.J. Claycomb (Medina/Medina), who missed the entire 2010 season with an injury.

Junior kicker Tyler Almeida (Elyria/Elyria) made 16 field goals a year ago and junior punter Brandon Mathie(Louisville/Louisville) headline a group of returners on the special teams unit.

The Raiders have six home games in 2011 and enter the season with a 53-game regular season win streak that starts on September 10 at 1:30 pm against The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in Mount Union Stadium.