A Page -- May 19, 2011

Lake Ridge sends Student/Athletes to 

pre-med and pre-law programs, plus 

basketball outfits with combined seven 

NCAA national titles; Erin Maldonado 

heads to Capital, Stephanie Vukotic to 

Wash U

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


NORTH RIDGEVILLE – Two basketball Student/Athletes from Lake Ridge Academy will move up to the next level in the fall as the school had its Fourth Annual Spring College S/A Announcement Day Wednesday here on the school’s campus.

 Both girls, Erin Maldonado and Stephanie Vukotic, split their secondary S/A careers between public schools and LRA and will move on to the second of three legs of their educational endeavors while also playing basketball on the side, Maldonado at Capital and Vukotic at Washington U.

Maldonado will study pre-law and Vukotic pre-med. Maldonado spent the early part of her prep years at Berea High and Vukotic at Revere before transferring to the Academy’s Upper School.
Watch videos of Lake Ridge S/A Erin Maldonado deliver a speech to her classmates about her move to the next level by clicking link

Listen to Full Audio of Lake Ridge S/A Erin Maldonado deliver a speech to her classmates


 Both girls admitted that moving into the private school realm provided a greater springboard to get into the upper tier of higher education in the finer liberal arts setting as opposed to the more plebian university systems in which students in general and S/As in specifics are more of a number than a person and oftentimes in true Soviet style.

 The cozy small-school environment of Lake Ridge, one of the smallest schools in the state in terms of numbers, provided more one-on-one coaching situations, greater fellowship in exploring the various personalities comprising the student body, and a culture encouraging life-long learning.

Watch videos of Lake Ridge S/A Steph Vukotic deliver a speech to her classmates about her move to the next level by clicking link


Listen to Full Audio of Lake Ridge S/A Steph Vukotic deliver a speech to her classmates

The transition should be a simple one to the smaller colleges that offer the same features, particularly the smallness.

Lake Ridge track coach Bill Crowell once joked, “If there were a Division 12 in Ohio, we would be in it,” to emphasize that Lake Ridge really is the Rhode Island of preparatory/secondary schools in Ohio, a state which boasts about two dozen colleges of the approximate size of Capital, (in Bexley, just outside of Columbus) as well as Wash U, which is smack in the middle of St. Louis.

In addition to the two schools functioning as starting points to launch their studies to their eventual graduate/juris and medical doctoral programs, both have had a fine history of national prominence in basketball, their subsequent activities. Combined the two have won seven national NCAA championships (Division II), Wash U. collecting five and Capital two.

The college S/A announcement days have gotten very popular at Lake Ridge as about 40 students (about one third of the upper school) jammed the room for the mock signings (D-III does not have actual signings since the emphasis here is on the antecedent of the Student/Athlete concept and no athletic scholarships are allowed.

Shimko is third girl from the left

Also in attendance was Mary Shimko, who was right in this same position last year when she was honored for accepting an offer to study at Brandeis, where she had quite a fall in soccer, her side activity to academics. Brandeis was named after the great SCOTUS Justice, Louis Brandeis, who championed two American fundamentals: 1) the First Amendment/free speech and 2) privatization. In today’s PC world, Brandeis might have had a harder time getting his opinions and dissents through the other eight.

L to R -- Shimko, Vukotic, Maldonado

All three girls will be in town in the fall and winter as all three colleges have Cleveland ties, Wash U. and Brandeis in the University Athletic Conference with Case Reserve and Capital in the Ohio Athletic Conference with Baldwin-Wallace and John Carroll.

Since the OAC plays double round-robin in basketball, Maldonado will be home twice for games, including one just a few blocks away from her parents’ house.

Watch videos of Lake Ridge S/A Steph get interviewed by Norm by clicking:


Listen to full Q&A of Lake Ridge S/A Steph Vukotic as interviewed by Norm by clicking


Of course, Vukotic, as well as being right on the Mississippi at Wash U, will get to visit just about every major city this side of the Mississippi, which is one of the perks for almost all S/As in the UAA, which has schools in Cleveland, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Chicago and St. Louis.

Watch videos of Lake Ridge S/A Erin Maldonado get interviewed by Norm by clicking:


Listen to full Q&A of Lake Ridge S/A Erin Maldonado as interviewed by Norm by clicking

Watch videos of Lake Ridge AD Debby Ghezzi announce the move to the next level of two senior S/As




Benedictine Lacrosse sets school record 

for wins in a season

By Wally Mieskoski
With the Benedictine lacrosse program in its fifth season, the Bengals have grown dramatically.  The interest in the sport at Benedictine mirrors the growing wide-spread interest in lacrosse in Northeast Ohio.
Lacrosse is inching its way toward recognition by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. It is presently operated by the Ohio Lacrosse Association, which runs the state tournament. Benedictine is ranked second in the Division II Northwest Region. Currently, there are about 110 teams playing lacrosse in Ohio. A minimum of 150 teams are necessary to be considered as a varsity sport by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

There are 14 seniors among the 53 students in the entire lacrosse program. In the sport’s first season in 2007 at Benedictine, there were 32 students on the varsity team with no JV squad. 

In addition to this year’s varsity team, Benedictine plays a limited Blue team reserve varsity schedule and has a strong and improving junior varsity squad.

The Bengals, who have a 10-3 season record, set the school record for most wins in a season topping last year when they had an 8-7 record. They are now preparing for state tournament action and will face the winner of the Akron Hoban vs. CVCA game.  Earlier in the season, the Bengals beat Hoban 9-4.

Coach Mike Fink, a social studies teacher at the school and the only coach in the lacrosse program history, said that there is a core group of six seniors who have played together for four years. “This team has a good blend of experience, youth and talent. It’s really a tight-knit group on and off the field,” said Fink, who played at Wheeling Jesuit University.

He noted that his assistant coaches also played in college, Justin Snyder played lacrosse with Fink at Wheeling Jesuit University, Bill Ready played at Ohio University and Mike O’Donnell at Villanova.

Benedictine’s three losses have come by a total of nine goals. The Bengals lost in overtime to Mentor (11-10), Division II power Rocky River (10-8) and Westlake (9-4).

Fink said another key reason for the Bengals improvement is the offensive production. They are averaging more than 2.5 more goals per game than they did last season.

Part of the scoring power is coming from senior All-Ohio midfield candidate Nick Kirsch, who leads the team with 59 points on 37 goals and 22 assists, as well as an extremely impressive 89 percent face-off win percentage; senior midfielder Nino Marino with 53 points on 27 goals and 26 assists; and senior attackman Joe Rich, who is third on the team with 44 points on 42 goals and two assists. 

Providing balance to the offense is junior attackman Vinny Carson with 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points.

Two other four-year Bengal lacrosse players are team captain Brennan Hall, who plays defense and Joshua Doerner, a strong contributing midfielder with nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points.

Additional scoring has come from senior attackman/midfielder Ben St. John (a second-year player) has nine goals and seven assists and a promising sophomore midfielder Blair Alexandersen, who has 13 goals and four assists.
The Bengals have received stellar goaltending from senior Pat Hubman, another fourth-year senior player with 178 saves.

With the state tournament contests, Benedictine has a good chance to increase the school season record for wins and advance through the tournament.

But Coach Fink warns against any premature talk of victories.

“We’re steadily improving, and the upcoming competition will be challenging for us. We’re not counting anything until we actually achieve it,” said Fink.  
Several Bengals have earned All-Region honors for their play this season. 

All Region Recognition 

1st Team 
Nick Kirsch - Midfield 
Joe Rich - Attack 

2nd Team 
Nino Marino - Midfield 
Brennan Hall - Defense 

Honorable Mention 
Josh Doerner - Midfield 
Vinny Carson - Attack

Bengals 2011 results 
10 wins, 3 losses
Benedictine 16, Lake Catholic 3
Mentor 11, Benedictine 10 (OT)
Benedictine 9, Akron Hoban 4
Benedictine 18, Revere 11
Rocky River 10, Benedictine 8
Benedictine 5, Youngstown Mooney 4
Westlake 9, Benedictine 4
Benedictine 12, Shaker 8
Benedictine 14, Toledo Central Catholic 8
Benedictine 11, Brecksville 6
Benedictine 15, Gilmour Academy 11
Benedictine 16, Green 5
Benedictine 16, Cleveland Heights 7
May 10 Strongsville (DNP – weather)
May 12 at NDCL (DNP – weather)
May 17 at Holy Name (DNP)
State Tournament playoffs

Gilmour gives Autism benefit a fourth try after three 

rain outs

Gilmour Academy will host the Second Annual Swing for a Solution on Monday, May 23 at 4 p.m. when the Lancers take on Geneva High School in varsity and junior varsity softball action.

The Lancers hope fans could join them as they raise awareness and funds for autism. Please see the press release below for further details or feel free to email or call me at the below contacts.