Gerry Anthony, who returned to coach the Clay wrestling program four seasons ago and oversaw its climb to prominence, is retiring after 35 years as an educator and has also resigned as head coach.
"I've got my 35 years in and, with the direction education is going, once you reach that 35-year mark, it's the best time to retire financially," said Anthony, who spent the last 33 of his 35 years in education in Oregon schools. "In order to do a job this size [head wrestling coach at Clay], it's an absolute necessity to be in the building, and I could not do it justice if I was not teaching and coaching."
Anthony, 57, guided Clay to City League championships the last three years, and led the Eagles to four Division I sectional titles, and three top-three finishes in what is generally regarded as the state's toughest district.
Prior to the CL titles (2009-11), Clay's last previous league championship came in 1965 when the Eagles competed in the former Great Lakes League. Anthony's earlier stint as Clay head wrestling coach was from 1979-86.
"I'm going to miss it," Anthony said, "but I still plan to be a part of it next year, just in a different capacity as an assistant. We've got a good thing going and I want to make sure that it continues to go."
The physical education teacher also served eight seasons as a football assistant coach, and four years as the boys and girls tennis coach (the boys team won a GLL title in 1993).
Although he declines to take credit for building the wrestling program, because that process began under previous head coaches Troy McLaughlin and Mark Beach and their work with the Lake Erie Wrestling Club in the offseason, Anthony proved to be a great fit for managing Clay's large group of wrestlers and assistant coaches.
At a time when many other programs in northwest Ohio struggled to field one full varsity lineup, Clay's program, which has grown to over 60 wrestlers per year, fields two varsity units plus a junior varsity.
Anthony, a 1971 Clay graduate, excelled in football and wrestling, winning a GLL heavyweight title before continuing with both sports at Morehead State. There, he was the roommate of and center for quarterback Phil Simms, who went on to NFL fame with the New York Giants.
"I'm thankful to the central administration that they enabled me to have two varsity teams," Anthony said, "because that helped us keep the numbers up, and that's such an advantage to have 60 kids involved with the program. The kids were able to wrestle in practice and be involved in a match every week.
"I've also been blessed with a very passionate and giving coaching staff."
Anthony Wayne girls basketball coach Justin Zemanski.
Anthony Wayne's Zemanski steps down
Anthony Wayne girls basketball coach Justin Zemanski has decided to step down from his position to devote more time to his young children.
Zemanski, who had led the Generals for six seasons, was The Blade's coach of the year in 2007. This year the Generals (18-6, 11-3 Northern Lakes League) won the district championship for the first time in school history.
"That was a nice way to cap it off," Zemanski said. "I couldn't have scripted a better plan. Everyone rallied around the girls."
Zemanski, who had a 90-45 record, led AW to NLL titles in 2007 and 2008, and to five sectional titles.
"We have one daughter right now who is 21 months and we're expecting a second child in July," Zemanski said. "Being a coach is a full-time career. I'm sure I could do it, but I don't' think I'd be the husband or parent I'd like to be."
He will continue teaching history and government at the high school.
"It's the toughest decision I've ever made," Zemanski said, who not ruled out coaching in the future.
"I will miss going to practices. It's an awesome feeling being on the sideline during the big game," he said. "I love every aspect of the job. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to coach at Anthony Wayne. I've had incredible support from the administration, parents, and players."
Knights to sign
Six members of the St. Francis de Sales aquatics teams will sign national letters of intent Thursday to continue their sport at in college.
Michael DiSalle, who was this year's state 200-yard freestyle champion and swam on the state-champion 200 and 400-yard freestyle relay teams, will sign with Ohio State along with teammate Rowan Williams, who was the state champion in the 500 freestyle and a member of the state-champion 200 medley relay team.
Dan Miller, who joined DiSalle on the winning relays, will sign with Michigan.
Dylan Szegdi will sign to swim at Wayne State, and Kyle Crawford will sign to swim at Mount Union.
Nick Carmony, who joined Williams on the state-winning 200 medley relay unit, will sign to play water polo at Mercyhurst College.
St. Francis was state team runner-up the last two years under coaches Keith Kennedy (swimming) and Scott TenEyck (diving).
TRACK AND FIELD
League meets ahead
Track and field takes center stage next week with league championship meets being contested to close the regular season.
In the City League, Rogers will again play host as Whitmer and Notre Dame attempt to defend their respective boys and girls team titles. Last year, Whitmer ended St. John's Jesuit's string of three straight boys championships, and Notre Dame snapped Bowsher's run of four consecutive girls crowns.
Preliminaries and some field event finals are set for Wednesday beginning at 4:30 p.m., and the meet concludes Friday, May 13 beginning at 4:30 p.m.
This will be the final City League track meet with the longtime blend of Toledo Public Schools teams, the league's five Catholic schools, and Clay and Whitmer.
Southview is the place for the Northern Lakes League's meet as the Northview boys and Perrysburg girls each try to capture their fourth straight titles.
Preliminaries begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, and the meet resumes Friday, May 13, with field-event competition at 5 p.m. and the running finals at 6:30 p.m.
The final Suburban Lakes League championship meet will take place at Genoa, a one-day competition that starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14.
Eastwood is likely to continue its domination in both boys and girls competition, where each of the Eagles' squads bid for their 11th consecutive championships. The Eastwood boys have also captured the last two Division II state championships.
In the TAAC, Northwood is again the site for this year's meet, a one-day event starting at 4 p.m. Friday, May 13.
Toledo Christian won the boys and girls team titles last year. Following prelims, the running finals are scheduled to begin at about 5:30.
Montpelier is the place for this year's Northwest Ohio Athletic League meet, at which the Archbold boys and Patrick Henry girls enter as defending champions.
This two-day event opens at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday with field events, followed by running prelims at 4:45 p.m. The running finals are set for Friday, May 13 at 7 p.m.
It is possible that Tuesday's field events could be moved to Bryan, if the scheduled resurfacing of Montpelier's pole vault, long jump, and high jump approaches are not completed in time, although Montpelier athletic director Joe Brigle said he does expect the work to be finished.
City League tournament
The City League boys tennis tournament will be held Tuesday at Jermain Park, beginning at 9 a.m.
The one-day event will include just five teams -- Central Catholic, Clay, St. Francis de Sales, St. John's and Whitmer -- after Toledo Public Schools budget cuts included boys tennis.
St. John's has won the last five team championships.