Jared Kujawa focuses on an opposing player attempting a steal against his Kicking Mules. The 6-1, 195-pound athlete will play baseball at Western Michigan next year.
Early last week, recent Patrick Henry graduate Tori Meyer took time to return a call while on the way to the next stop in her busy and highly successful spring sports season.
Tori and her father, Mike Meyer, who is also her softball coach at PH, were en route to Fort Wayne, Ind., for the Midwest Meet of Champions, an all-star track and field competition for the top prep athletes from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.
Softball and track?
Yes, both. In fact, Meyer, who excels at each sport, is with little argument the area’s most accomplished all-around athlete, male or female, for the 2010-11 school year.
In the same week she was named to the first team as a pitcher on the Division III All-Ohio softball team, the versatile 5-foot, 6-inch senior cleared 12-feet, 8 inches in the pole vault event at last weekend’s Division III state track meet at Ohio State University.
That effort was good enough to not only win the D-III title, but also set a D-III state meet record, tie the record for any division at a state meet, and tie the Jesse Owens Stadium mark for a high school female.
It was one of three events Meyer qualified for at state. She did not place in the 300 hurdles, but was in position to place in the 100 hurdles before tripping over the final hurdle in that race.
Meyer had scored 40 points for the Patriots at the Northwest Ohio Athletic League meet, winning her three state events, plus the 100-meter dash. She also placed second in the pole vault and 100 hurdles, and fourth in the 300 hurdles and the 100, at the district meet. She won the vault and 100 hurdles at regionals, and was fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Not bad work for an athlete who spent half of her athletic time in the spring helping her dad’s PH team to a 14-6 softball record (6-2 NWOAL) and second-place league finish behind top-ranked Archbold while leading the NWOAL in hitting at .531 with three home runs, 24 RBIs, 33 stolen bases and 32 runs scored. In the pitcher’s circle Meyer was 13-2 with a 1.21 earned run average and 176 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched.
But the spring was not Meyer’s only time to shine.
In the fall she was named to the All-NWOAL first team in volleyball as an outside hitter, and in the winter qualified for the state gymnastics meet for the third time, reaching state in the floor exercise, the vault, and the all-around competition.
“This year there wasn’t a whole lot of conflict [between sports],” said Meyer, who will pole vault on scholarship at Kent State University. “But having the weather we had this spring made it a lot harder. We could only practice maybe about once a week, if that, because of all the rain.
“Other than the weather, everything else went pretty smoothly this year.”
Meyer, whose first athletic pursuit was gymnastics, said that sport provided a good base for all of her other sports.
“I started in gymnastics when I was three years old, so that really taught me how to manage time and [physically] it gave me core strength,” Meyer said. “I guess I’m just really dedicated to sports, and when I’m in a season I stick to it. I don’t like to mess around. I try to do my best in every sport.”
Meyer, who also carried a 3.8 grade-point average at PH, said she first tried pole vaulting in sixth grade, and then “just stuck with it.”
The spring seasons required some creativity and sacrifice.
Recent Patrick Henry graduate Tori Meyer excelled in both softball and track and field. She also excelled in volleyball and gymnastics. She will attend Kent State on a track and field scholarship
“If there was a conflict [game or meet], I had to pick one as a primary sport. I picked softball, just because it was a lot easier trying to figure out conflicts with my dad being the coach. But, if there was a softball game and a track meet on the same day, it depended on who we were playing or who the meet was against.”
If Meyer had any area competition on the boys’ side for 2010-11, that would be from Bedford’s Jared Kujawa. The Kicking Mules’ senior quarterbacked the Bedford football team (11-1) to its first 9-0 regular season and to the third round of the Michigan Division 2 playoffs, rushing for 1,564 yards and 27 touchdowns.
He earned first-team, all-state honors in Michigan.
In the winter, Kujawa was the top scorer on the Mules’ hockey team and earned first-team recognition in the Northwest Hockey Conference’s White Divisdion for the third time.
Kujawa is a team leader and third-year starter at catcher on the Bedford baseball team, which will play in the Division 1 state quarterfinals on Tuesday.
With Kujawa as the Mules’ top player over the last three years, Bedford has posted a 103-14 overall record (2009-11), and reached the D-1 state semifinals in 2009.
The speedy 6-1, 195-pounder will play baseball next year at Western Michigan University. Heading into Saturday’s regionals Kujawa is hitting .528 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs for the 32-6 Mules.
Whitmer junior Chris Wormley was a first-team Division I All-Ohio defensive lineman on the Panther football team that won the City League and reached the D-I state playoff semifinals.
He started on Whitmer’s 19-2 City League champion basketball team, and qualified for the D-I state track meet in both the discus and shot put, having won both events in the CL championship meet.
Contact Steve Junga at: email@example.com or 419-724-6461