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Published: Wednesday, 10/4/2006

Sidelines: Irish, Knights battle for trophy

BLADE SPORTS WRITERS

Central Catholic has won 19 consecutive games and the defending Division II state champion is 6-0 this season, ranked No. 1 in the state.

But, heading into tomorrow s 48th battle for the Irish Knight trophy against City League rival St. Francis de Sales at the Glass Bowl, the first thing on Irish coach Greg Dempsey s mind is the dip in his team s performance the past two weeks.

The Irish needed overtime to survive for a 20-14 win at Rogers on Sept. 22, and last week committed five turnovers in an uninspiring and unimpressive 21-0 homecoming win over winless Libbey.

Dempsey knows his team s winning streak could end with such a subpar effort against the Knights (2-4, 2-1), who are finding their rhythm after enduring the humbling non-league portion of their schedule.

Heck yes, I m concerned with playing St. Francis, Dempsey said. I remember my senior year [1989] as a player. We were 7-1 and I think they were 4-4 coming in, and they beat us.

St. Francis beat Start and Bowsher after opening with four losses.

We ve talked about playing Central, but nothing about their streak, the City League, the Irish Knight or anything like that, Knights coach Dick Cromwell said. Playing Central is enough [motivation] for our kids.

St. Francis holds a 28-18-1 edge over Central in the Irish Knight trophy (regular season) series, and has a 35-20-1 mark versus the Irish all-time, including postseason meetings. Central had lost the Irish Knight battle eight straight years (0-11 overall) between 1996-2003 before beating the Knights in the past two seasons.

Erie Mason s boys cross country team appears ready for another solid run toward the Michigan Division 3 state meet.

With six of their top seven back this year from a squad that placed fifth in the state, the Eagles turned in an impressive runner-up finish at last Saturday s Clay Eagle Invitational at Pearson Park.

Brandon Griffin, who was eighth in the Michigan D-3 meet last year, took sixth at Pearson with a time of 16:33.1, trailing only five D-I runners from area Ohio teams.

The St. John s trio of Matt Lemon, Joe Miller and Chris Lemon took first, third and fourth, respectively, on Pearson s rain-soaked course, helping the Titans to a team title with 46 points. Erie Mason was second at 88, St. Francis was third at 103 and Northview fourth at 109.

Three-time Northern Lakes League individual champion Bo Waggoner of Maumee finished second (15:48.6) and Northview s Austin Hendrix was fifth.

The other five runners who competed at state last year for Erie Mason all placed in the top 50 in the Clay meet. Jesiah Rodriguez was eighth, Nick Petro 27th, Justin Trychel 33rd, Kris Williamson 41st and Dan Mizell 43rd.

Three-time defending Ohio D-I girls team champion Bowling Green cruised to a win at Clay. Paced by the first-place (18:50.8) finish of Christy Titus, the Bobcats posted 34 points.

Amherst Steele was second at 110, Southview third at 133 and Northview fourth at 168.

Barbara Powers (fourth), Anne-Marie Simon (sixth), Shannon Titus (10th) and Alyssa Glenn (13th), also scored for BG. Findlay s Alison Leckrone was second at 19:10.3.

Perrysburg had little trouble recently winning a school-record fourth straight Northern Lakes League girls tennis tournament and league championship.

Yet, the Yellow Jackets played the entire season without Julia Metzger, the team s top player a year ago as a freshman. The young and talented standout opted to spend this school year honing her skills at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch located near San Antonio in New Braunfels, Texas.

Perrysburg coach Dan Thompson said Metzger and her parents decided she would spend her sophomore year in an environment that would allow her to focus on tennis. She remains a student at Perrysburg by taking online courses.

Thompson admits her absence from the team has been missed as the Yellow Jackets head into sectional competition tomorrow at 9 a.m. at Jermain Park.

As far as the league goes we re still a strong team, but with Julia in the lineup we d be a top-10 school in the state of Ohio, Thompson said.



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