Defiance: An Ohio Baseball Dynasty

(4-5-17) – When most people around the US think about High School baseball, places like California, Texas and Florida come up in most of the conversations. The conditions to produce quality players with the great weather  makes it possible for those to states to do a lot more with a spring program.

But one school in Northwest Ohio can easily be considered as one of the top programs in all of the US, Defiance has the record, the players, the system and now the facilities.

Defiance Head Coach Tom Held has been the man in charge of the Bulldogs

Tom Held
Tom Held
Tom Held Career Coaching Record

Defiance Head Coach Tom Held recently told the Crescent-News:

“There’s no magic formula. We had other teams just as talented as those that won it (state), you’ve just got to get some breaks and believe. It was a matter of getting over some obstacles. Then once you do something you start to believe.”

“Winning a state championship is not a goal. If I had retired before we ever won I would have been fulfilled. What I really love are the winter workouts and developing players. That’s probably my favorite part of coaching.”

How does a school in Northwest Ohio produce MLB pitchers, they even have a long list of past players who have thrown 90 mph or faster called the “90” Club. MLB pitchers like Chad Billingsley and Jon Niese have done that, plus they produced last year’s Ohio Player of the Year Shay Smiddy, who is now at the University of Louisville.

Defiance K's
Defiance Career Strike Out Leaders

In a recent article calling it the ‘Defiance Way’ Coach Held talks about his thoughts on pitching:

“I think there’s a 90 mph arm in every school in the country. I’m not sure there’s not one in every class.”

What makes Defiance special is the program continued its excellence even after Greg Inselmann (1982-1998) retired and Tom Held moved over from Bryan to lead the program.  Inselmann coached the Bulldogs to their first state title in 1992.

Defiance, a member of the Western Buckeye League, has won 24 conference titles in 43 years of membership.

In the last 10 years they have lost only four conference games, while winning 86 games.

The Bulldogs have won three state titles during the past five years.

State Championships
2016 Baseball Division II State Champion
2015 Baseball Division II State Champion
2013 Baseball Division II State Champion
2010 Baseball Division II State Semifinalist
2002 Baseball State Semifinalist
1992 Baseball Division I  State Champion

All-Time WBL Baseball Team Results Thru 2016
WBL Titles  Champs Co-Champs   Seasons	  W-L	%
24	      18	6	 43	305-77	.798
(2016, 14, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 07, 05, 04, 02, 00, 
1999, 98, 97, 95, 94, 93, 92, 89, 85, 84, 82, 77)

2016 WBL Baseball Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
1.  Defiance	9-0		

2015 WBL Baseball Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
3.  Defiance	7-2	

2014 WBL Baseball Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
2.  Defiance	7-2	

2013 WBL Baseball Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
1.  Defiance	9-0	

2012 WBL Baseball Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
1.  Defiance	9-0	

2011 WBL Baseball Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
1.  Defiance	9-0	

2010 WBL Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
1.  Defiance 	9-0 		

2009 WBL Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
1.  Defiance 	9-0 		

2008 WBL Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
1.  Defiance 	9-0 		

2007 WBL Standings
Teams		WBL Record	
1.  Defiance 	9-0 		

All of the past years success has now provided the Defiance baseball program with some great new facilities in 2017.

Coach Held told the Crescent-News after the 1st game this season:

“This is a huge advantage for our kids. You can take so many more reps defensively with ground balls, you have a hitting facility there where you can hit all the time. If you love baseball, if you can’t get better at this complex that our school gave us, there’s something wrong. We’re so appreciative. It’s an unbelievable opportunity.”

New Turf Field and Stadium completed this season

Defiance BB Field
New turf field at Defiance – photo from Tim Schortgen‏ (Twitter account)

Jon Niese Center

The building of the program has worked over the years and it looks to remain strong for a very long time.

08/21/13 Niese’s nine stirkeouts


Keeping An Eye On OHSAA Boys Basketball State Finals Attendance Numbers

(3-23-17) Keeping an eye on attendance figures for this year’s Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA)  State Boys Basketball Championships.  Note that the first day of the tournaments is seven days later than it was last season.

DII schools played the first two games on Thursday and had 17,403 in attendance, 1,737 less than 2016. The second set of games on Thursday night was the DIV schools and attendance for both of those games was 16,592, 1,059 fewer than last year.

On Friday, numbers were slightly down from last season in DIII, combined attendance for the two games was 18,881, 269 less than last year.DI numbers were down from last year as well, this years total was 22,100, 3,877 less than the 2016 total.

The combined eight semifinal games were down 6,942 from 2016. It might be noted that the NCAA was also playing ‘Sweet 16’ games on both nights.

Saturday’s final games attendance was down from 2016, 8,014 fans less than 2016. The loss for the entire tournament  was 12,848. Two of the four final games were below 9,000 fans.


2017 OHSAA Boys State Basketball Championships

Attendance – Thursday

3-23-17 at Value City Arena

Semifinal Games

  • 8,566 – DII – Trotwood-Madison vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
  • 8,837 – DII – Wauseon vs. Northmoor
  • 8,135  – DIV – Delphos St. John’s vs. Cleveland Heights Lutheran East
  •  8,457 – DIV – Columbus Wellington-Lima Perry
  • **2017 DII Attendance = 17,403 — 2016 – 19,140
  • **2017 DIV Attendance = 16,592  — 2016 – 17,651

Attendance – Friday

3-24-17 at Value City Arena

  • 9,485  – DIII – Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph vs Fairland
  • 9,396  – DIII – Roger Bacon vs Archbold
  • 11,091 – DI Cincinnati Moeller vs Pickerington Central
  • 11,009 – DI Massillon Jackson vs Lakewood St. Edward
  • **2017 DIII Attendance = 18,881 — 2016 –19,150
  • **2017 DI Attendance =  22,100 — 2016 – 25,977

OHSAA State Final Games

Attendance -Saturday

3-25-17 at Value City Arena

  •  11,928 – DII – Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs Wauseon
  •  8,302 – DIV – Cleveland Heights Lutheran East vs The Wellington School
  •  8,712 – DIII – Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph  vs. Roger Bacon
  • 11,750 – DI – Cincinnati Moeller vs Massillon Jackson

**2017State Finals Total Attendance = 40, 870 — 2016 –  48,884


Keeping an eye on attendance figures for this year’s OHSAA State Boys Basketball Championships.  Note that the first day of the tournaments is nine days earlier than it was last season.  Plus, the rotation of the schedule has DIII and DII playing on the first day.

This year’s opening day attendance is up from last year by 3,423.

2016 OHSAA Boys State Basketball Championships

Attendance – Thursday

3-17-16 at Value City Arena

Semifinal Games

  • 8,433 – DIII – Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph vs Lynchburg-Clay
  • 8,599 – DIII – Lima Central Catholic vs. St. Bernard Roger Bacon
  • 7,998 – DII – Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. Cincinnati Aiken
  • 11,152 – DII – New Concord John Glenn vs Bay Village Bay

Attendance – Friday

3-18-16 at Value City Arena

  • 7,478 – DIV – Cornerstone Christian vs. Wellington School
  • 10,173 – DIV – Lincolnview vs. Jackson Center
  • 15,292 – DI – Lima Senior vs. Wilmington – ***
  • 10,685 – DI – Westerville South vs. Garfield Heights

*** – 15,292, highest attendance for a Div. I state tournament game since 2007

Attendance – Saturday

3-19-16 at Value City Arena – State Final Games

  • 11,109 – DIII Lima Central Catholic vs Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph
  • 14,643 – DII Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. New Concord John Glenn
  • 9,675  – DIV – Cornerstone Christian vs. Lincolnview
  • 13,457 – DI – Lima Senior v. Westerville South

2015 OHSAA Boys State Basketball Championships

Thursday 3-26-15 OHSAA Boys Basketball Attendance Figures


  • 7,984 – Wayne Trace vs. Harvest Prep
  • 8,832 – Tri-Village vs. Tuscarawas Central Catholic


  • 7,659 – Villa Angela-St. Joseph vs. Eastmoor Academy
  • 8,284 – Lima Central Catholic vs. Dayton Chaminade Julienne

Friday 3-27-15 OHSAA Boys Basketball Attendance Figures


  • 8,732 – Cleveland Central Catholic vs. Columbus Walnut Ridge
  • 10,629 – Defiance vs. DaytonDunbar


  • 9,877 – Garfield Heights vs. Westerville South
  • 9,294 – Lakewood St. Edward vs. Huber Heights Wayne

OHSAA State Boys Basketball Tournament Thursday attendance

  • 2011-42,000
  • 2012-41,748
  • 2013-42,112
  • 2014-36,172
  • 2015-32,759
  • 2016-36,182
  • 2017-33,995

Friday Total (4 games)

  • 2014-43,173
  • 2015-38,532
  • 2016-43,628
  • 2017-40,981

State Finals TOTALS

2014 Saturday State Finals

  • D1- 14,234 – Lakewood St. Edward vs Upper Arlington
  • D2- 14,642 – Norwalk vs Columbus Bishop Watterson
  • D3-  9,908 – Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph vs Lima Central Catholic
  • D4- 11,556 – Convoy Crestview vs Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas

2015 Saturday State Finals

  • D1- 10,664 – Huber Heights Wayne vs. Westerville South
  • D2-  9,914 – Defiance vs. Cleveland Central Catholic
  • D3- 10,407 – Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph vs Lima Central Catholic
  • D4-  9,794 – New Madison Tri-Village vs Canal Winchester Harvest Prep

2016 Saturday State Finals

  • D3- 11,109 – Lima Central Catholic vs Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph
  • D2- 14,643 – Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. New Concord John Glenn
  • D4- 9,675  – Cornerstone Christian vs. Lincolnview
  • D1- 13,457 –  Lima Senior v. Westerville South

2017 Saturday State Finals


  •  11,928 – DII – Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs Wauseon
  •  8,302 – DIV – Cleveland Heights Lutheran East vs The Wellington School
  •  8,712 – DIII – Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph  vs. Roger Bacon
  • 11,750 – DI – Cincinnati Moeller vs Massillon Jackson


Saturday Championship Games Attendance

  • 2014 – Saturday Night Total – 50,340
  • 2015 – Saturday Night Total – 40,779
  • 2016 –Saturday Night Total – 48,884
  • 2017 –Saturday Night Total – 40,870

According to the OHSAA web site:

All-Time State Tournament Attendance Records

State Semifinals & Finals, All Divisions Combined

  • 2003, Value City Arena,  Columbus—198,686
  • 2002, Value City Arena,  Columbus—180,873
  • 2004, Value City Arena,  Columbus—177,955
  • 2001, Value City Arena,  Columbus—177,660
  • 2007, Value City Arena,  Columbus—175,413
  • 2014, Value City Arena,  Columbus—129,122
  • 2015, Value City Arena,  Columbus—112,070
  • 2016, Value City Arena, Columbus – 128,694
  • 2017, Value City Arena, Columbus – 115,846

Single Game, Semifinal or Final

  • 2003, Value City Arena, —18,541
  • (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. Kettering Archbishop Alter)
  • 2003, Value City Arena, —18,504
  • (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. Canton South)
  • 2002, Value City Arena, —18,375
  • (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. St. Bernard Roger Bacon)
  • 2002, Value City Arena,  Columbus—18,371
  • (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. Poland Seminary)
  • 2005, Value City Arena,  Columbus—18,229
  • (Upper Sandusky vs. Wooster Triway)

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Ohio HS Wrestling Ranks High In The US

Feb 12, 2017

St. Edward scored pins and turned away Massillon Perry for its third OHSAA state wrestling team dual tournament championship in the event’s five-year history.

(2-15-17) The most recent USA Today Top 25 Wrestling rankings came out today and it listed five Ohio schools.

Two of the schools were in the Top 5, Lakewood St. Edward (3) and Graham (5). The other three schools making the list, Massillon Perry (14), Elyria (15) and Olentangy Liberty (19). Add to that two schools are on the teams to watch list, Mason and Wadsworth.


  • No. 3 Lakewood St. Edward
  • No. 5 Graham (St. Paris)
  • No. 14 Massillon Perry
  • No. 15 Elyria
  • No. 19 Olentangy Liberty

Teams to watch:

  • Mason
  • Wadsworth

This past weekend the OHSAA held it’s team championships in Columbus.

OHSAA Recap Story

COLUMBUS, Ohio (2-11-17)  – Graham and Lakewood St. Edward were in familiar territory at the 2017 dual team wrestling state championships Sunday night at St. John Arena, Graham took home its fifth Division II title, while St. Edward claimed its third Division I title.


St. Edward defeated Massillon Perry 39-24 to win the Division I title. It is the Eagles’ 33rd overall OHSAA wrestling state championship (30 coming at the individual tournament). The Eagles beat Dublin Coffman 57-16 in the quarterfinals and Mason 35-24 in the semifinals before knocking off Massillon Perry in the finals. That improves the Eagles’ dual wrestling tournament record to 12-2 in five appearances. Massillon Perry now has two state runner-up finishes (2013, ’17) to go along with one state championship (2014) in five appearances.

Lakewood St. Edward is the top seed in the Division I state tournament for a fourth time in five years. Winning state last year and back in 2013, the Eagles are led by a pair of seniors in three-time state placer Allan Hart (132), a 2015 state champion, and two-time state runner-up Jared Campbell (220). Other returning medalists include state champion Bryce Andonian (120), Matt Kazimir (126), Michael Carpenter (160) and Tyler Stepic (182). Cody Howard (195) qualified for the individual state tournament last year, while Angelo Rini (106) was a Cadet freestyle All-American this past summer, despite being in reserve behind Andonian during the scholastic season.

From the preview of the State Team Finals, provided by the OHSAA:

Seeded second is Elyria, which has lost to St. Edward in each of its previous two state tournament appearances; 34-24 in the 2015 semifinal and 43-28 in last year’s final, with the Pioneers winning six of 14 bouts both times. Their advancement to this stage was keyed by an impressive 38-25 win over Wadsworth in the regional semifinal. Three-time state placer Kevin Vough (285), a 2015 state champion, is their best wrestler. Other notables include a pair of two-time state placers in state champion Brandon Fenton (120) and J.T. Brown (182), impact freshmen Mick Burnett (106) and Dylan Shawver (113), 2015 state qualifier Josh Breeding (126/132), returning state qualifiers Matt Zuckerman (126/132) and Brendan Price (160/170), along with state alternate Tristan Brady (152/160) and district placer Cameron King (195).

Massillon Perry, was  in its fifth straight dual team state tournament. The Panthers won in 2014, finished as runners-up in 2013, and advanced to the semifinals each of the last two years. Two-time state champion David Carr (152) is the anchor wrestler, while other notable wrestlers include state placer Zach Blackiston (182), 2015 state placers Joe Koontz (160) and Matt Carrick (285), state qualifiers Gary Define (138) and Emil Soehnlen (170), along with district placer Malachi Strickland (145).

Mason was seeded fourth, and returns to the state tournament seeking its first victory after losing in the quarterfinal round in both 2014 and 2015. The Comets feature six returning state qualifiers, including a pair of two-time state placers in Colin Schuster (120) and Zack Donathan (132). Others with experience in the individual state tournament include Jack Stein (160), Marcus Nasdusak (113), Jamien Hood (126) and Sam Glassco (120/126), while Chris Donathan (138) and Eric Vermillion (170) placed at the district tournament last year.

OHSAA Team Tournament – Division I – State


In Division II, Graham continued its run of perfection in the dual wrestling tournament, claiming its fifth duals title in five years, a perfect record of 16-0. The Falcons defeated Wauseon in the finals for the second straight year by a score of 48-9.  Graham stormed through the tournament, knocking off Washington Court House Miami Trace 65-12 in the quarterfinals and Mentor Lake Catholic 57-13 in the semifinals. The Falcons have also won every OHSAA individual wrestling tournament since 2001.

From the preview of the State Team Finals, provided by the OHSAA:

D2 145 Lbs. Finals Rocky Jordan- Graham dec. Sandro Ramirez-Wauseon 4-0—2016 Ohio State Wrestling Tournament, Columbus OH

Graham was the top seed for the fifth straight year. Next month, the Falcons are also well-positioned to win a 17th straight individual state tournament title. They feature nine returning state placers, including a pair of two-time state champions in Mitch Moore (132) and Rocky Jordan (152), though the status of Moore for this tournament is uncertain. Other medalists include Jordan Crace (120), state runner-up Jeffrey Thomas (126), Joey Sanchez (145), two-time placer Ryan Thomas (160), Gage Braun (182), Kavan Sarver (195) and Johnny Shafer (220).

OHSAA Team Tournament – Division II – State

Total attendance for the state tournament was 3,777, a record-high for the tournament.

Are There Too Many Forfeits In HS Wrestling?


from story

Pleasant Valley (Iowa) Wrestling Coach Jacob Larsen :

“Dual meets are what grow the sport, getting a packed house and getting after it. What people don’t want to see at those dual meets are forfeits.”

(1-27-17) Wednesday night in the OHSAA Team (Duals) Tournament Bluffton beat Parkway 43-30. The final score indicates a close match, but the results show that only five of the fourteen matches actually wrestled, the other nine were forfeits, one was a double forfeit. The result of these forfeits, eight wrestlers did not get to compete in the meet (five from Parkway, three from Bluffton).

Is it a problem? Eliminate weight classes? Have kids lost interest? To many other options available for students? Is there a solution?

OHSAA Team Tournament – Division III – Region 24-B
Quarterfinals – Versailles – January 25, 2017

Semifinal 1 – Bluffton 43 – Parkway 30

106 Tristen McKee 11 (Parkway) forfeit (Bluffton) Forfeit 6
113 Abe Meyer 09 (Parkway) forfeit (Bluffton) Forfeit 6
120 Ryder Romick 11 (Bluffton) dec. Titus Meyer 11 (Parkway) Dec 10-6 3
126 Preston Browning 09 (Parkway) forfeit (Bluffton) Forfeit 6
132 Reid Etzcorn 11 (Parkway) forfeit (Bluffton) Forfeit 6
138 James Badial-Luna 11 (Bluffton) pin Ethan Meyer 10 (Parkway) 3:40 6
145 Reese Fokine 11 (Parkway) forfeit (Bluffton) Forfeit 6
152 Nathanial Staley 11 (Bluffton) pin Kaine Younker 09 (Parkway) 3:11 6
160 Austin Mault 12 (Bluffton) dec. Cody Kuhn 12 (Parkway) md14-2 4
170 Cole Wilson 12 (Bluffton) forfeit (Parkway) Forfeit 6
182 Landen Luginbuhl 9 (Bluffton) forfeit (Parkway) Forfeit 6
195 Deandre Nasser 10 (Bluffton) pin Joshua Puthoff 12 (Parkway) 3:49 6
220 Brett Basinger 10 (Bluffton) forfeit (Parkway) Forfeit 6
285 Double Forfeit

Parkway and Coldwater both wrestle as independents, since the MAC does not sponsor wrestling as a conference sport.  Parkway is one of the newest programs in the state, while Coldwater has had a program for many years.

Kevin A. Browning, Parkway Head Wrestling Coach

It is my opinion that we have the right number of weight classes as the 14 make for good competitive balance. I think the issue is that the sport is lacking in popularity for a couple of reasons, one being that there is no professional level (WWE does not count), and the stigma that goes with the sport.

The forfeits will take care of themselves if we can fix the attitude with the sport. There are schools that are not promoting and media is only covering the sport when there is an issue or a way to make it look negative. For example, an article on the growing number of skin diseases or serious injuries in the sport.

If we can find a way to promote the sport we will find a way to make the sport grow. The lack of a professional level to the sport hinders the growth of the sport. When a young kid comes home and tells their parents they want to join the wrestling team, the first thing that a parent thinks is that their child will be the next Hulk Hogan or Macho Man, and there is nothing farther from the truth. When a child comes home and says they want to join the football team or basketball team the parent is sure their child is the next NFL or NBA star. The promotion of the sport becomes very important.

Solutions to the problem are as complicated as they are necessary. School in the area such as Columbus Grove have modeled an event similar to schools in Cincinnati where there is a full school assembly the last half hour of the day and a team dual is conducted. The dual continues on beyond the school day, but the students get a chance to see the team in action. This helps a younger generation see the excitement and physicality of the sport. Currently Parkway is looking to schedule this event with a school in the area next season.

The National Federation has discussed options that extend from change in uniform to change in rules to fix the problem, but the real problem is that student athletes are becoming more focused on a single sport. I have asked football players if they would join the wrestling team and the number one reason to not join is that they are “lifting for football” all winter long. These same students are dropping baseball and track in the spring as they are trying to be ready for the highly competitive MAC football season.

One barrier that we have had to overcome at Parkway was the newness of the sport. We are only in the 5th season of competition and have seen our numbers grow. I think that good coaching and great parent involvement have helped us grow as a sport.

Rob Schmidt, Coldwater Head Wrestling Coach

No I firmly believe 14 is a good number of weight classes.

There are a few issues that are causing low numbers.

1. Club wrestling for youth at a intense level drives kids away before they get to Jr. high. If you think you need youth wrestling make it fun or do not even have it. Kids need to be kids.

2.Parents need to encourage their kids to try wrestling at the Jr. high level.
Both parents and kids would be surprised from all the benefits from wrestling.

3. Wrestling is a tough sport and a lot of kids do not to work that hard today.
Again ,kids need to be encouraged to try wrestling and work hard it . They will be very surprised at all the benefits.

No concerns and the solution is simple.We just need to make things fun and get some encourage from parents.

Celina, the largest school system in Mercer County,  is the only County school to be competing in a conference, the Western Buckeye League.

James Miracle, Celina Head Wrestling Coach

I do agree with those that say forfeits are a problem for our sport. I love dual matches, but with most teams forfeiting 2 or more weight classes, it takes away from the match. Imagine being the kid who practices everyday and eats healthy and runs extra to make weight and then on match night you go out and get your hand raised without ever getting to earn the win. Hours of work for 3 seconds on the mat. I don’t think the number of weight classes are a problem, I could go for 13 to do away with all the tie breakers in dual meet wins, what I think needs done is a redistribution of the weight classes that mirror the kids we have. A few years back they redistributed the weight classes and essentially removed a middle weight class and added an upper weight class. We have plenty of kids that can be moved around to fill the middle weight classes, what most teams don’t have are enough small guys (106/113) or big guys (220/285).

I know personally that we do not get football players to wrestle anymore. There are many reasons for this, but I think state wide many coaches want their kids in lifting and spending time with their sport than they want to share their kids with another coach to teach them something different.

Some people think we should make forfeits count less than pins. I think this is the worst idea ever. If I have a kid that I know can’t beat a kid and is likely to give up 6 points, why would I send him out to cost the team more points when I could just void every weight unless I thought we could win. I think if forfeits counted for more points then coaches might actively get out there and recruit or get kids to recruit to help the team, in this case each kid would be more valuable to the team than having a forfeit.

We are fortunate at Celina, our numbers are the highest they have been at the high school level in 4 years (32). Now over half of these are freshmen that might decide not to return as high school is completely different from middle school. Our middle school numbers are larger than most at 26 and our youth numbers are some of the highest I have heard about (90), but I am concerned because many of the teams we wrestle against in MS have 2, 8, 5, 1 and Bath even cancelled their team. Long term is we have to travel for matches to locations like Taeys Valley where they have established club teams that compete year round. This is another problem with the sport. The top teams keep getting better and the divide seems to get worse every year.

It is hard enough to go out and wrestle all alone but to go out there and compete against a kid that has wrestled since 5 when you started at 13 or 15 is difficult. As smaller teams give up on the sport the middle teams move to the bottom and the top teams continue to feed on them creating more turnover for teams trying to establish themselves.

I would love to see a system set up that changes divisions of schools based on returning qualifiers or incoming freshmen credentials so that teams are competing with teams that they are competitive with. Graham beat us 84-0 in the state duals tournament (round 2) but won the state finals (round 6) vs Wauseon 62-4.

I like a proposal to allow kids to wrestle in MMA shorts and compression tops and I wish they would change the prohibitive hair cut rules or wear a hair cover. I also wish they would shorten the season. After next week (WBLs) we have two weekends off before sectionals on the 3rd Saturday, essentially we go 21 days until we wrestle again. When I wrestled in high school is was the next week, then they added another week, now we have added an additional week. This is a long time to keep your body at the same weight and compete in a grueling sport.

It’s not just an issue in Ohio, but other states are keeping an eye on the situation. On the west side of the Stateline in Indiana, programs like Jay County and Bellmont have some of the best programs in the Hoosier state.

Eric Myers, Jay County Head Wrestling Coach

I believe that there is reason for some concern as it pertains to the number of forfeits in high school wrestling. There are a variety of issues that a play a part. I don’t necessarily believe that we have too many weight classes.

Wrestling is a difficult sport. Practice is a grind, every day. We need to have more fun in wrestling. Let kids celebrate their wins, .bring out the spotlight for the finals, showcase the sport.

I believe that numbers are down at times because of lack of recruitment, and sometimes lack of support at home.

We have been fortunate to have solid numbers. Our kids enjoy being part of the wrestling team. Hopefully we can continue to have these numbers.

Bobby Cox, Commissioner, Indiana High School Athletic Association

Initially, weight classes are established to insure that like athletes are paired together in competition. This is a health and safety consideration and great thought has been invested in the establishment of weight classes. Secondly, a reduction of weight classes reduces opportunities for participation at all levels which I’m not a proponent.

Wrestling is a very demanding sport from a physical, mental and emotional perspective. It takes a great deal of sacrifice and dedication for young athletes to participate in this sport. Couple those factors with an increased variety of activities students may choose from and those could be contributing aspects if numbers of participants are truly decreasing.



With rise in forfeits, are 14 weight classes too many for high school wrestling?

OHSAA Rules That Lima Sr’s Quinones Is Now Eligible

OHSAA and Lima Senior Logos

(1-18-17) The OHSAA has overturned their ineligibility ruling and will now allow Javier Quinones (Senior-Point Guard) to start playing basketball immediately for Lima Senior. The Association overturned the ruling on Tuesday (17th), it was announced on the 5th that he would be denied eligibility and  that the matter would be  appealed on the 12th by his parents. One item that is a part of the ruling change is that Quinones will not be allowed to play in any OHSAA tournament game. The first game he can  participate in for the Spartans is this Friday night against Oregon Clay.

The other Lima Senior player ruled ineligible,  Jatsiel Colon (Junior) did not appeal the ruling and will not play this season.


Statement Regarding Lima Senior Boys Basketball

Tim Stried – Director of Communications

“Two students who recently transferred to Lima Senior High School were ruled ineligible by the OHSAA for the 2016-17 basketball season due to violations of Bylaw 4-9-1, Recruiting. On January 12, the family of one of the students appealed that decision to the OHSAA Appeals Panel, and the panel upheld the ruling. Following the appeal, however, legal representatives and the OHSAA staff have agreed to allow the student to participate in basketball for a portion of the 2016-17 regular-season pending the student, family and school all agree to certain conditions. The student is not eligible to play in the 2017 OHSAA postseason basketball tournament, and the student’s high school eligibility will end following the regular-season. Despite the penalty being modified so that the student can participate for several weeks during the regular-season, the OHSAA will continue to work with all member school administrators and coaches, including Lima Senior, regarding impermissible recruiting activities. In addition, the student-athlete who did not appeal on January 12 will be eligible to participate next season pending the standard conditions of eligibility and residence have been met.”

Brad Kelley of Huffman, Kelley, Brock & Gottschalk – photo courtesy of Huffman, Kelley, Brock & Gottschalk

Brad Kelley of the Law Firm Huffman, Kelley, Brock & Gottschalk gives us a detailed response to what took place during this process.

The case is concluded and there is no chance Quinones will play in tournament. The other significant issue is,this is not an “out of country transfer“. These young man are naturalized U.S. Citizens and this is no different than a family from Ft. Wayne moving to Lima.

Also,these folks didn’t stick their children with some strange Guardian to try and circumvent the rules. They picked up their families and moved entirely (from Puerto Rico) getting housing and jobs in the school district. These were classic legitimate bona fide change of resident cases.

The problem ensued with the OHSAA putting their approval on the transfer until they investigated -how they got here. In addition to the transfer rule is a recruitment rule. The transfer rule has a 50% penalty while the recruitment rule has an entire calendar year penalty.

Lost in the shuffle is a legitimate interest in Puerto Rican families to leave the conditions in Puerto Rico. They are just like all of us wanting the best for their children and the government,the schools and the cost of living in Puerto Rico over the past few years has deteriorated. These people have struggled for a couple of years now finding a suitable alternative for their children. They were turned on to the Lima community by a former Lima Senior player who graduated and played at Toledo and played professional ball for many years and who has become a rock star in PR.

A chance meeting with that player at a clinic in Puerto Rico caused the families to inquire how he “did it” got out and went on to graduate from high school, college and play ball on the mainland in the US.  Again this is a constant dream for young kids in Puerto Rico.

That young man gave both families glowing reports about his life experiences and they asked him for a contact to discuss the future. Both families visited Lima in July, toured the school spoke to counselors and teachers and other personnel and were very impressed. It was compatible educationally work wise and the cost-of-living was much better than they were leaving.

After a few days in Lima they returned to Puerto Rico and made the decision to make the move. They did everything the right way, however the recruiting rule forbids “any” influencing to secure enrollment of a student athlete. It is a very broad rule and the entire case turned on the word ‘influence’.

The reality is everyone is influenced in some fashion. I influenced my own children as to where to go to school. The influence by the way cannot come from anyone regardless of whether they are connected or unconnected to the school.

There should really be an adjective prior to the word influence such as inappropriate,undue or in permissible., I think quite honestly that the OHSAA had a hard time thinking that anyone could come to Lima, Ohio without having been improperly influence.

Both these families had visited and interviewed at other facilities in Houston, Texas, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida and other places where Puerto Rican kids had moved, but for these folks the job opportunities, cost of living and even the actual cost of the education was prohibitive and just not doable for these two families. Keep in mind, they were moving the whole family so it was more than just a basketball decision. Cost of living was very important and one mom is even working on a doctorate and Wright St. and BGSU were nearby and welcoming. They are delighted with the opportunities Lima has offered them. Both boys have flourished and are on the honor roll. Both have taken advantage of several opportunities which Lima Senior offers including English as a second language,OGT test tutoring and ACT preparation. These are two very nice families and two very nice young men. They are very comfortable and socially fit in very well.

The Quinones boy is a senior and really had no choice as there is no tomorrow for him. The Colon boy is a junior and can play next year. His family had some work and religious priorities which prevented them from appealing their son’s case. They simply chose to sit out the year. Life can be complicated.

I think that OHSAA gave us a fair opportunity to present our case and were aware of the young man’s best interest yet wanted to balance it all against there other member schools which whine regardless. This solution which we came to gives the young Quinones boy an opportunity he and his family came here for while at the same time perhaps telling its member schools to be careful and cognizant of ALL the rules.

I am from Boston and a huge New England fan. I think that the OHSAA has done a nice job of delegating the appeal process to a three member panel of OHSAA members to avoid the same person hearing the appeal who made the appeal. Kind of like Goodell being judge, jury and executioner in Deflategate. Here at least you feel like you have a chance to have fresh eyes and ears to review the original decision. I think that is a good and I applaud the OHSAA and it’s members for taking this step.They did back in 2012 and renewed the process this year as I think the members felt it works well, or at least better than the prior mechanism.It is a constant struggle to serve the membership but at the same time-the kids should always be the focus.

Ideally,one would need an authentic video of a family in their living room throwing darts at a map of the US and simply landing their singular dart on Lima, Ohio and only then could you conclude that all is well under the rules. I am not sure though that someone would still not question that the dart manufacturer once lived in Lima!

That being said, I am very satisfied that Javier will play in several games and get to do what he loves to do and that his parents will get to watch him play. We could have and were prepared to seek a court solution but that was expensive, time consuming and with some risk. My clients seem delighted with the result we were able to work out with the OHSAA and I am appreciative to the commissioner and counsel for the OHSAA for their cooperation and understanding in this difficult situation.


2017 Flyin to the Hoop Features National And Ohio Teams


(1-2-17) One of the Top National Boys Basketball Tournaments, Premier Health Flyin to the Hoop,  will be held in Kettering, Ohio for the 15th year in a row starting Janiuary 13th.

Eight schools from outside of Ohio will be competing during the  tournament:

  • IMG (FL)
  • Hamilton Heights (TN)
  • Our Savior New American (NY)
  • Prolific Prep (CA)
  • Huntington Prep (WV)
  • Wheeler (GA)
  • Wesley Christian (KY)
  • Covington Catholic (KY)

From the Stateline area, Versailles, of the Midwest Athletic Conference, will take on Tri-Village on Monday the 16th at 11:30 am.  The Tigers feature Junior Justin Ahrens, who is an Ohio State commit and whose older brother Kyle starts for Michigan State.

at the Michigan Invite

One other Stateline area team is Sidney, the high scoring Yellow Jackets are led by SSN National Player of the Week Sophomore Andre Gordon, they will open the tournament on the 13th at 630pm against Fairmont.


2017 Premier Health Flyin to the Hoop Schedule



Trevon Duval (2017), Emmitt Williams (2018), Silvio DeSousa (2018) & IMG Academy put on a show for the fans at IMG in their first game of the season.


NextUp Exhibition, as Hargrave Military Academy took on Huntington Prep (11-20-16)



Wheeler was led by Darius Perry who scored 17.




Parkway Looking At Football Field Options


(UPDATED 1-12-17)

the results of the Parkway Stadium survey

The Parkway Board of Education received the results of the Parkway Stadium Survey in a presentation from middle school principal Brian Woods.  According to Woods 432 community members took the survey, including students, adults, former players and former students.

Parkway School Superintendent Greg Puthoff gives a brief update on the survey.

Below you can see the options that were on the survey.

In a related story in the Findlay Courier update on the McComb BOE meeting last night concerning issues at their football field.

According to the story McComb Transportation and Maintenance Supervisor Luke Ewing told the board:

The district had been told by Phelan Insurance Agency that it needed to either replace or renovate the bleachers at Doc Miller Field because the open space under each row of seating was a liability. That space will be enclosed in the new bleachers, so that children cannot slip through and trash cannot be thrown underneath.

The Board would go to approve the $461,000 bleacher replacement project .


(1-1-17) In the Midwest Athletic Conference football is a BIG deal.  The Parkway School Board, Boosters and community are looking at the future of the program via the upgrading of the infrastructure and/or moving of the football field to a new location.

On December 6th the Parkway Booster Club presented a Power Point that gave several possible ideas on where the Panthers will play in the future. Three options have been presented for consideration.

Power Point Presentation

Parkway Current Home Stands

Stadium Options (All costs are rough estimates)
1.New Home Bleachers and Press Box on the East Side  ($400,000)
2.New Home Bleachers and Press Box on West Side & New Visitors Bleachers on East Side ($600,000)
3.  Move the Football Stadium to the Track ($1.5-$2.0 million)

Parkway track location

The situation at Parkway will have to be funded and there are several options available to  pay for the options selected.
Options #1 and #2
Will be paid through district Permanent Improvement Funds. (No additional taxpayer expense)

Option #3
We will have to put up a bond issue.

The location of the field is also an issue, keep the long-time current location or move it to the current track location.

Possible Expenses with Moving to the Track

Concession/Restrooms $350,000
New Home Bleachers/Press Box $400,000
New Visitors Bleachers $200,000
Lights $225,000
Scoreboard and 25 second Clock $40,000
Perimeter Fencing  $20,000
Perimeter Paving $30,000
Field Upgrades $30,000
Sprinkler System $20,000
Electricity $15,000
Locker Rooms ???
Design/Architectural Fees  ???

Community input has been requested and a survey is online (see link below) and is open until January 3rd. Survey results will be presented to the BOE on their January 10th meeting.

The Process

  • Community Input Survey (Please complete survey)
  • Survey open through January 3, 2017.
  • Survey results to BOE on January 10, 2017.
  • Board recommendation to begin bid process.

Likely Completion Dates
Option #1-#2 –
August 2017, August 2018 at latest

Option #3 –
August 2018 at earliest, possibly August 2019

Parkway Support at current field