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Published: Thursday, 4/28/2005

Sidelines: Gebhardt s arrival makes Matecki glad he stayed

Matecki Matecki

Larry Matecki has coached tennis for a total of 22 years at Bowsher, including the last 11.

So, hanging around for one last season to coach the boys team this spring despite the fact that he retired from teaching in 2001 and technically resides in Florida these days was no big deal.

I ve got five seniors and I promised them I d stay one more season, said Matecki, who has been staying at the home of an old high school friend, John McVicker.

I told [Bowsher athletic director] Dave Erdman if we got all that snow they were predicting I was resigning and flying home, Matecki joked.

Gebhardt Gebhardt

Sticking around has been worth the trouble for Matecki, whose five senior players are each going to be City League all-academic honorees.

One senior is Sebastian Gebhardt, an exchange student from Germany who expressed no real interest in playing until senior doubles player Nick Linares approached him to see if he had played back home.

It turned out that Gebhardt had played tennis, for about seven years, and also that he was pretty good at it. He has emerged as Bowsher s No. 1 singles player, and had posted a 10-2 record through Monday. One of his losses was by a 6-1, 6-3 count to the area s top-ranked player. His play has helped the Rebels to a 7-6 team record.

I don t know if he d have even been interested in playing unless somebody had asked him, said Matecki, who rates Gebhardt among the top three players he s coached at Bowsher along with Ted Kauffmann and Dan Linares.

He s enjoying the whole experience right now, Matecki said.

Kauffmann was the last City League player to win a state singles title (1977), and Dan Linares was a three-time All-City player who graduated last year.

Although a senior, Gebhardt won t turn 17 until July. The other senior players are Scott Henry, Brian McCarthy and Keenan Keil.

Matecki, 56, also coached football and girls basketball at Bowsher during his 30 years (1972-2001) as a teacher.

The 32nd annual Larry Kohring Eastwood Relays are scheduled for Saturday. The field has Bowsher, Port Clinton, Clyde, Perrysburg, Rossford, Woodmore and Sandusky Perkins along with the host Eagles, whose boys and girls are each defending champions.

The competition is the best we ve ever had, Eastwood boys coach Gary White said. Between the boys and girls teams, we really have a good field. I ve been running this meet for 15 years, and this is the best we ve had from top to bottom.

Field event competition begins at 9:30 a.m., and the running events start at 11:30 a.m.

Among the top individuals competing will be Eastwood distance specialist Jim O Brien and Clyde hurdler Jared Martin for the boys. Among the top girls are sprinters Kari Kreutzfeld (Port Clinton) and MeShawn Graham (Bowsher).

The Central Catholic girls team has 54 athletes competing for coach Dave Carpenter this year, but just four of them are seniors and six are juniors.

The Irish, City League champions four straight years (2000-2003) before Clay won last year, may be young but they ve shown promise with freshmen Sharise Calhoun (hurdles, 100), Allie Simmons (300 hurdles), Katelyn Nowacki (100, 800, high jump), Megan Graver (1600, 3200) and Kristyn Tusin (800), plus sophomore Brogan Carder (800) and junior Heather Nowacki (1600).

Central placed second to Bowsher at the Maumee Invitational and at its own Irish Invitational.

We re young but we re improving every week, Carpenter said. By the City League meet we might be surprising somebody.

Skeldon Stadium is neither gone nor forgotten, and is getting plenty of use these days thanks to Tim Egan, who leases the former home of the Toledo Mud Hens from Lucas County, primarily as a venue for Roy Hobbs senior baseball league games.

Egan and a small group of friends and senior league players perform all of the grounds maintenance at Skeldon on a volunteer basis, and Egan is in charge of scheduling games.

This season, because of the new school facilities under construction at Rogers, the Rams are playing their five CL home games at Skeldon. Rogers has already played Central Catholic there, and will play the first game of a CL doubleheader there tomorrow against Whitmer at 5 p.m. Tomorrow s second game features Start and St. John s Jesuit at 7:30.

On Monday, St. John s will play Rogers at 6, and on Wednesday Waite will face Rogers at 5.

Earlier, Maumee played a doubleheader against Patrick Henry, Clay faced Cardinal Stritch, and last Monday Skeldon hosted a doubleheader featuring Perrysburg vs. Maumee and St. John s vs. Whitmer.

Egan, who played at Macomber, charges no fees to the high schools, but does ask that the teams take up a collection from fans to be used as a donation toward grounds keeping equipment and supplies.

Contact Steve Junga at:sjunga@theblade.comor 419-724-6461.

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