Sunday, April 01, 2001

High School Insider

State track meet could be Columbus-bound

By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The state track meet, moved to Dayton's Welcome Stadium in 1999 because of the renovation of Ohio State's Ohio Stadium, might return to Columbus.

        The two-day event drew about 40,000 people annually at Ohio Stadium. But attendance at Welcome Stadium, which has a capacity of 11,000, has been less than 15,000 and financial information released by the OHSAA revealed the 1999 state meet had a deficit of $103,656.42 and last year's event lost $145,640.23.

        “This is one of our largest events of the season, with 1,200 athletes involved,” assistant Ohio High School Athletic Association commissioner Dr. Deborah Moore said. “Dayton has done a tremendous job, but it would be nice moving it back to Columbus.”

        This could happen when construction of Jesse Owens Track, a 10-lane track facility at Ohio State, is completed this summer.

        But the OHSAA's lack of knowledge of the new facility may delay the meet's return to Columbus.

        “We thought construction was on hold,” said John Dickerson, an assistant commissioner for the OHSAA. “It was a surprise to see how far along it is today.”

        The OHSAA Board of Control recently awarded a contract to Dayton for the 2002 and 2003 state meets, with an option to renew for a third year.

        When the state championships were held at the 93,000-
seat Ohio Stadium, fans from northern Ohio came out in big numbers. Since the meet's move to Dayton in 1999, many of these fans have stayed away rather than drive the additional 75 miles.

        If the Dayton contract is honored, the earliest the state meet could return to Columbus is 2004. “I was at the new facility today (Friday) and it's state-of-the-art,” Moore said of Jesse Owens Track. “I was told there's at least 8,500 seats with more to be installed. The seats on the back turn are temporary.”

        BASKETBALL ALL-STARS: Moeller forward Matt Sylvester and Mariemont's Branden Fisher will play in the boys annual North-South All-Star games next Sunday at Otterbein College.

        The Ohio State-bound Sylvester averaged 21.4 points this season and was named first- team all-state in Division I by the Associated Press. Fisher averaged 21.8 points for Mariemont, the Division III sectional champion.

        The Divisions III-IV game begins at 4 p.m. and the Divisions I-II game is at 6 p.m.

        Siobhan Zerilla, a guard for Mercy, and Quanita Hailey, a forward from Colerain, will play in the Divisions I-II girls basketball game at 2 p.m. next Sunday at Otterbein College. Maria McCarthy, a 6-1 center for Division III semifinalist Wyoming, will play in the Divisions III-IV girls game at noon.

        ROOKS HONORED: Former Moeller basketball standout Ron Rooks, a 6-foot-3 junior guard at Bethel (Tenn.) College, was named to the NAIA Division II All-America team.

        Rooks averaged 21.9 points for the Wildcats. He is Bethel's No.5 career scorer, with 1,605 points.

        SIGNINGS: Cortez McBerry, an all-area linebacker for Winton Woods, has committed to Southern Illinois University, a Division I AA school in Carbondale, Ill.

        • Ian Ruth, a defensive back/linebacker for Winton Woods, will play at Division III Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., next season.

        POINTS FOR ACCURACY: When Tom Nerl turns in batting averages for Purcell Marian baseball players, he never doubts their accuracy.

        This confidence stems from Frances Ahrens, a retired teacher who is in her 20th year as the team's official scorekeeper.

        “She's a tough cookie, and the kids earn their hits,” Nerl said. “I know this for a fact, because she kept score when I played for Purcell Marian in 1982.”

        Many times, players will try to persuade Ahrens a ruling should be a hit rather than an error. Most walk away shaking their heads.

        “I didn't argue with Frances too often when I played because I didn't get many hits,” Nerl said. “She's an avid baseball fan and sometimes advises me what to do during a game. I always do what she suggests.”

        Ahrens plans to continues as the Cavaliers' scorekeeper as long as Nerl, who is in his 15th season with Purcell Marian, coaches.

        STATISTICS: The Enquirer will begin accepting baseball and softball statistics next Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 768-8444 or 7680-8452.

        Track coaches should send stats to Brian Crumbo by e-mail at or call at 939-1793 between noon and 6 p.m. next Sunday.

        COACHES WANTED: Kings is looking for head girls volleyball and head boys soccer coaches. Call Gregg Darbyshire at 459-2937.

        • Milford is looking for head boys and head girls soccer coaches. Send resumes to Hank Ohnmeis at Milford High School, 1 Eagles Way, Milford, Ohio, 45150.

        • Deer Park need a boys head soccer coach. Call Mike Morgan at 891-0010 or fax a resume to 891-3845.

        • LaSalle needs a head varsity wrestling coach. Call Dan Flynn at 741-2386.

        • Roger Bacon is looking for a head girls varsity basketball coach. Call Chuck Grosser, Sr. at 641-1300 or fax a resume to 641-0498.

        • Ross has the following coaching openings: head varsity girls basketball and head varsity volleyball; assistant and junior-varsity girls basketball; junior-varsity girls soccer; varsity cheerleading; and winter, fall and spring strength. Send resumes to Jim Kernohan, Ross High School, 3425 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Hamilton, Ohio, 45013.


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