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Published: Thursday, 10/8/2009

Sidelines: City League hall of fame set to induct 8

BLADE STAFF

The City League will induct six men and two women into its hall of fame Nov. 9 at the SeaGate Centre.

The class includes West Jones and Ralph Lewis of Scott, Don Wyper of Bowsher, Gerald Blanton of DeVilbiss, Mike Nicholson of St. Francis and Airron Richardson of Start. The two women to be inducted are Kathy (Mesteller) Bankowski of Waite and Ann Strong-Jaynes of Libbey.

Jones, who graduated from Scott in 1958, was a three-sport standout who had his greatest success in basketball. He earned first team All-City League honors in 1957 and '58, and was voted All-Ohio in 1958 after leading the Bulldogs to a 20-1 record. He later played for the Washington Generals, the traveling opponent of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Lewis (1958) was a teammate of Jones at Scott, where he also played baseball, football and basketball. He was named All-City and All-Ohio in 1958, was voted the school's best boy athlete that year, and lettered in basketball at the University of Toledo.

Wyper (1964) lettered in both football and wresting at Bowsher and was the school's first athlete to receive All-City League first-team honors in football. At UT, he earned All-Mid-American Conference honors and All-American recognition after leading the Rockets to a 9-1 record and MAC title in 1967. Wyper also wrestled in the NCAA tournament.

Blanton (1974) starred at fullback and linebacker for DeVilbiss, earning a football scholarship to Kentucky and leading the Wildcats to a victory in the 1976 Peach Bowl. Blanton eventually spent time in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, posting a career-best 136 tackles to lead the team in 1983.

Nicholson (1985) earned a total of nine letters in football, hockey and baseball at St. Francis, captaining the Knights to the 1984 Division I state football title. He played football at the University of Dayton, where he led the Flyers to the NCAA Division III championship game in 1988.

Richardson (1993) lettered in football, wrestling and track at Start, posting a 41-0 record to win a state title as a heavyweight wrestler as a senior. Richardson played football at Morehouse College in Atlanta for one year before transferring to Michigan, where he was a two-time All-American wrestler. He was an alternate on the 2000 Olympic wrestling team.

Mesteller (1975) lettered in volleyball, basketball and track at Waite and earned All-City honors in volleyball as a senior. She played volleyball at UT for four seasons, earning MVP honors twice, before becoming a successful coach at Waite, Whitmer and Bedford.

Strong (1981) earned 11 letters in volleyball, basketball and track, and won All-City honors in all three sports. She led Libbey to a Division I state title in 1981 before leading Cheyney State to the first NCAA women's basketball championship game in 1982 as well as a Final Four berth in 1984.

Other honorees at the banquet will be distinguished citizen award winner Dr. Burt Rogers; honored coaches Rich Arbinger of Start and Don Kober of St. Francis; the 1994 state baseball championship team from Start; and a posthumous award for Joe Cooke Jr. of Libbey.

Rogers is a 1968 graduate of Bowsher who served as a football coach at his alma mater and at Central. He is coordinated the athletic training and medical program for the City League for all but three years since 1990.

Kober spent 35 years at St. Francis, including 33 as the baseball coach, posting a 660-251 record and winning 11 City League titles and advancing to a pair of state semifinals.

Arbinger was the baseball coach of the Spartans for 34 seasons, posting a 759-214 record with eight City League titles and seven state semifinals, including state titles in 1994 and 2000.

Cooke, a 1966 Libbey grad, was a three-year basketball starter for the Cowboys who played at Indiana University before spending two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 28th annual ceremony will begin with a social hour starting at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by the induction ceremony beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $40 per person and $400 for a table of 10 and can be purchased by contacting Waite principal David Yenrick at 419-671-7000. Reservations are due by Oct. 30.

Miller Miller
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

While Toledo Christian's J.C. Miller was warming up for his team's game against Cardinal Stritch at Perrysburg last Friday, assistant coach Ed Bellner walked up to him.

“Coach said to me, ‘I have a feeling you're going to break a record tonight,'” said Miller, the team's kicker. “In warm-ups I was feeling pretty good, so I thought that was possible.”

Bellner's prediction turned out to be true as Miller kicked a school record 49-yard field goal in the Eagles' 30-13 victory. The previous mark was a 43-yarder by Joe Moore in 2004.

“I got a great snap from Luke Sims, and got a great hold from Zach Brumbaugh, and great blocking from the line,” Miller said. “When I heard about the record, I thought it was pretty cool.”

Miller also reached another milestone, surpassing 100 extra-points in his career. Miller has made 27 of 30 PAT kicks this season to give him 101 in 108 career tries.

A two-team All-Toledo Area Athletic Conference selection as kicker who was named the league's co-special teams player of the year last season, Miller also has made both of his field-goal attempts this season to give him 11 of 15 for his career and 134 career kicking points.

Sectional action begins today and Saturday at several area sites.

Division I sectionals will be held at Jermain Park and at Ottawa Park as well as at Ohio Northern University and at Sandusky High School. The top four singles players and top four doubles teams from each site will advance to the districts, which will be held the following week at Sandusky and Port Clinton.

Archbold, Port Clinton and Lima will host Division II sectionals, with the top four singles and doubles qualifiers advancing to district action at Port Clinton.



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