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Published: Thursday, 2/21/2008

St. Wendelin might leave MAL football

One of the charter members of the Midland Athletic League may not play football in the league starting in 2009.

Fostoria St. Wendelin, which has played in the MAL since it was formed in 1985, may move to independent status in football thanks to an arrangement worked out at league meetings held earlier this month.

The switch would take place if the league's seven other football-playing schools can find football opponents to replace the Mohawks in 2009.

St. Wendelin is expected to continue to field teams in other sports in the MAL, whose other members are Bettsville, Carey, Fremont St. Joseph, Hopewell-Loudon, Mohawk, New Riegel, North Baltimore, Old Fort, Seneca East and Tiffin Calvert. Bettsville, New Riegel and Old Fort do not compete in football.

St. Wendelin athletic director Dan Ritzler declined comment on the issue.

The Mohawks finished with a 2-8 record last season in football. The team, coached by Bill Hrabak, snapped a 27-game MAL losing streak by beating North Baltimore last season.

The Toledo Area Athletic Conference would be interested in considering Fostoria St. Wendelin for membership in all sports, league commissioner Dick Nowak said.

"They came to us and indicated they wanted to become a member in football only," he said. "After discussing it with our league schools and administrators, we decided that, at this point in time, we're not interested in adding a football-only member.

"We told them that we're interested in full-time members, and if they were to come to us and formally apply for full-time membership, we would consider it favorably."

The TAAC currently has seven full-time members - Cardinal Stritch, Danbury, Emmanuel Christian, Maumee Valley, Northwood, Ottawa Hills and Toledo Christian - as well as two football-only members in Edon and Hilltop. Emmanuel Christian and Maumee Valley do not sponsor football.

The potential move by St. Wendelin out of MAL football may be the first step in a realignment of other area leagues. The Mohawks' move leaves the MAL, which already has an uneven number of schools, with an unbalanced number of football-playing schools.

State meet next

Canton Branin Natatorium will be the site for the state swimming and diving championship starting with the diving events today.

Tomorrow and Saturday there will be swimming events for boys and for girls in Divisions I and II. Preliminary heats will begin at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow and 9 a.m. Saturday, with the finals both days starting at 6 p.m.

Several area swimmers are listed among the top competitors in their events, based on times posted at last weekend's district meets.

In the boys competition, Jake Epperson of St. John's Jesuit has the top time in the 100-yard breast stroke with a 55.93 clocking and is ranked second in the 200 individual medley (1:50.96). He also joins James Christy, James MacKay and Ben Fudge to give the Titans the third-ranked squad in the 200 medley relay

(1:35.92), eight-hundreths of a second behind top-seed Cincinnati St. Xavier.

Roman Willets of St. Francis has the fastest time in the 200 freestyle (1:40.20), and the junior also ranks sixth in the 100 butterfly (51.12). Lincoln Fahrbach of Fremont Ross ranks second in the 50 free (20.89).

In the girls Division I race, Findlay's Annie Donovan ranks first in the 50 free with a time of 23.59, while Jacque Fate of Fremont Ross is second (23.69).

Napoleon has some of the top competitors in several Division II girls races. Samantha Zuch has the fastest time in the 200 free (1:50.96) and is second in the 100 free (51.77), while Chelsea Meyer ranks third in the 100 butterfly (59.61) and fourth in the 100 breast (1:07.44)

Ready for regionals

Area wrestlers have a chance to punch their tickets for the state tournament as district tournaments begin tomorrow.

The Division I tournament will be held at Marion Harding, with Lakewood St. Edward a heavy favorite to claim team honors. The Eagles, who also are favored to win their 12th consecutive state title, advanced all 14 wrestlers to the district.

Fostoria will sponsor the Division II tournament, which should feature an interesting battle for the team title. Lexington advanced 12 wrestlers to the district in beating Oak Harbor at Carey, but Eastwood pushed 11 forward and the Rockets have 10 wrestling at the district

This district also could feature one of the best championship matches in any weight class around the state should Oak Harbor's Cody Magrum and Eastwood's Jeremy Foster meet in the 189-pound final.

Defending champ Delta will be one of the favorites to win the Division III team title at Owens Community College. The Panthers, led by defending 160-pound champ Derrick Yant, will have nine wrestlers at this district; only Elmwood and Tiffin Calvert will have more, with 10 each.

All three sites will start tomorrow at 4 p.m., with semifinal action beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. and the finals set for 5 p.m.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday, Feb. 28 at Ohio State's Schottenstein Center.

Districts ahead

Bowling Green's Varsity Lanes is the venue for the district bowling tournament Saturday. The boys competition will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the girls at 3 p.m.

The top two teams, as well as the top two individuals not on one of the advancing teams, will compete at the state tournament at Tiki Lanes in Lancaster, Ohio, with the boys event on Feb. 29 and the girls competing on March 1.

At last week's sectional hosted by Interstate Lanes, Fostoria won the boys title with a 3,904 composite score. Other teams that advanced to the district event were Bowling Green, which placed third; Eastwood in fourth and Evergreen in eighth.

The Clyde girls rolled a 3,293 to win the girls competition at Interstate. Other girls teams that advanced to the district were Evergreen (2,999), Eastwood (2,947), Bowling Green (2,905), Rossford (2,764) and Lakota (2,702).

The sectional bowling at 20th Century Lanes in Lima saw the boys and girls teams from Swanton both earn district berths. The Bulldog boys placed sixth while the girls grabbed the eighth and final qualifying spot.

Other local teams that advanced from Lima were the girls teams from Napoleon and Wauseon, which finished second and third, respectively, behind sectional champ Wapakoneta, and the Ottawa-Glandorf boys, who took seventh.

District at Van Buren

Van Buren will sponsor the district gymnastics meet Saturday.

The top two teams, and the top five individuals in each event and the all-around, will advance to the state meet. The state meet will be at Hilliard Darby High School on Feb. 29-March 1.

Siebenaller to Dayton

Whitmer senior Courtney Siebenaller will sign a letter of intent tomorrow to accept a track and field scholarship to the University of Dayton.

Siebenaller placed sixth in the pole vault at the 2007 Division I state meet, and also qualified for state in the 100 and 300 hurdles events.

AW athletic director retires

Paul Holan retired recently as Anthony Wayne's athletic director after serving in the position for 10 years.

Holan worked as an educator for nearly 34 years. He previously was employed at Willard for 15 years and Burton Berkshire for nine years.

"I just decided it was enough," said Holan, 56, who also worked as an assistant principal at AW. "When I got out of football coaching I knew it was time. I just got burned out."

Steve Mossing, who has served as AW's assistant athletic director for three years, has assumed duties as AD.



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