A Page -- July 25, 2011

St. Joseph Academy cross country hopes to return to the regional; senior-laden team gives Jaguars depth and experience

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


CLEVELAND (WEST PARK) – If experience could be the dominating factor in cross country success, then St. Joseph Academy would be a leading contender to dethrone three-time defending state champion Magnificat, the Jaguars’ across-the-bridge rivals.

While Joe’s Head Coach Fred Kieser has 16 seniors in his group and should have several leaders to pick from, longevity only goes so far, especially when it comes to hills, trees, weather elements, etc. in said sport. 

Season Preview

Still, this group should know what it takes to be successful by now and by extension with the older ones passing it on to the younger ones. 

“We have a solid core of seniors that have been together for a long time – even before high school,” Kieser said. “We will be counting on their leadership and experience to help develop this team even if they aren’t all varsity runners. We have a roster of around 50 Student/Athletes, so perhaps we can count on our depth to develop some runners.”

Among those leading the team are three-time letterwomen Maggie Boyer and Jessica Sirchen, and two-year letterwomen Mary Kate Chambers and Grace Harter. All three are seniors.

Also figuring in the leadership and experience phases are seniors Kayley Dunn, Rachel Schwind, Sam Riley, and Caitlin Nagy.

The Jaguars are coming off a successful season in which they qualified to the Tiffin, big-school regional and also finished high in a number of other races and parlayed with the depth hope to bring it up a few notches for some team championships. 

Joes’s best finishes came with a 3rd at Berkshire Early Bird Invitational a 5th at Ashland Invitational and then a 5th at Edgewater District that qualified the girls to the Tiffin Regional. 
The latter race was a telling mark of how fast the Jaguars are and how tight their five-pack has been. Edgewater is perhaps one of the toughest districts in the state and by extension the Tiffin regional is usually one of the best.

“Ohio, and Northeast Ohio in particular is exceptionally tough for girls cross country,” the coach said. “Every year some of the best teams and runners in the whole country come from this area, so just being competitive can be tough at times. We graduated are top runner from last year and lost 3 other varsity contributors, so we have a lot of holes to fill with our JV runners from last year.” 

The competition is getting stiffer and throwing up greater barricades that could hinder the Jaguars’ chances of achieving their goals.

“Our team goals are to qualify to regionals again, which will be more difficult with three very competitive Division II teams moving up to Div. I this year,” Kieser said. “It will take all season to get the girls into competition fitness physically, but it will be equally challenging mentally for some of these girls who have never been in this position before now. However I believe we have all components to do these things; it’s simply going to come down to their own desire to come together as a team.”
The Jaguars will get ready for the regional by getting used to the course as they have added the always-tough Tiffin Carnival to their schedule in hopes of becoming much more competitive through the stiffer challenges.

Also they will be going to the Legends Race in Trumbull County two weeks before the post-season.
“We are trying to beef up our schedule to see better competition forcing us to improve faster,” Kieser said. “It might be humbling at times, but in the Cleveland area you don’t have much choice.”
It will take some of the younger runners and new older ones to emerge quickly and peek timely to get things moving upward for Joe’s.

“We seem to be stuck in a re-building phase and need a few breakout performers to get us over the top,” Kieser said. “There is a lot of unproven talent on this team and if a few of them can see their true potential they can turn some heads by the end of the season. Right now I am looking for consistency from week to week in our health and performances.”

Whatever they don’t have in natural talent, the Joe’s S/As will make up with fast learning as a good number of them shine academically as well as athletically. 
This St. Joe’s team has both a great academic record and is very involved with service throughout the community. Senior captain Kara Hurley is in position to be valedictorian. Senior Claire Konys is the most involved student in the school with regards to service programs.

“I’ve always believed that cross country runners are some of the best students because of the discipline that running and academic performance both require,” the coach noted. “Both transfer well to each other and require a certain amount of maturity to excel.”

The top juniors include Emily Bauer, Jill Bresnahan, Jess Bresnahan, Bridget Egan, and Helen Steve. Key sophomores back are Rachel McGuire, Alesha Voyk and Maddie Zimmerman

Stephanie McHenry will be the assistant coach to Kieser.
















Former official in Westlake-based NCAC, Bill Ek, named supervisor of basketball officials by Intercollegiate Officiating Association


CLEVELAND -- Bill Ek has been named supervisor of men's basketball officials for the Intercollegiate Officiating Association, it was announced by IOA President Tom Mulligan.

Ek, a former NCAA Div. III men's basketball official in the Ohio Athletic Conference, North Coast Athletic Conference and Presidents' Athletic Conference, assumes the IOA's role in conjunction with also overseeing men's basketball officials in the American Mideast Conference, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, OAC, PAC and Ohio Junior College Conference.

 He is currently an NCAA Div. I men's basketball official for the Big Ten, Mid-American Conference and the Summit League.


Among his many highlights, Ek has officiated the Mid-American Conference Tournament, numerous OAC championship games, the 2003 McDonalds All-American championship game and the 1999 NCAA Div. III Final Four.


In addition, Ek has officiated five Ohio High School state championship games as a 25-year veteran of the OHSAA. He has also officiated at over 20 camps and has been an instructor at 25 officiating camps during his career.


Ek served as the President of the Greater Akron Basketball Officials Association in 2000 and was an executive board member of the Greater Akron Basketball Officials Association from 1994-2000.


“We are extremely excited to add Bill Ek to the IOA staff,” stated Mulligan.  “He has the knowledge, experience, and networks that will help take our men's basketball officiating program to the next level.”


The Intercollegiate Officiating Association was founded in 1991 and began service to its membership in the 1992-93 academic year. The 2011-12 academic year marks its 20th year of continual service.

It was founded by the athletic administrators of the North Coast Athletic Conference as a means to take control of its officiating needs in football and men’s and women’s basketball. 

Beyond that, the athletic administrators felt that they could provide an officiating service to their members at a reasonable and fair cost. 

At the same time, by establishing a cooperative amongst the Conference members and other subscribers, the members believed they could build a first-class operation that enhanced the opportunities for current and upcoming collegiate game officials.



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