Chris Varga was the first to embrace St. Francis de Sales hockey coach Brian Kinsella and team general manager Mike Marciniak on the bench when the Knights captured the state title in 2011.
After serving as an assistant under Kinsella for five years, Varga takes over as the head coach at St. Francis. Varga handled the offense and helped the Knights compile a 110-41-16 record.
"It's more like a big family," Varga said. "It's bittersweet because I've been working with Brian Kinsella for the last 15 years. We always worked well together. This year will be very different. But it's a new chapter for myself."
Varga and Kinsella also coached the Toledo Cherokees Junior B team together, and Varga has also been head coach at Bedford and an assistant at Woodward.
Varga, 42, said winning the state title fulfilled a promise made to Marciniak, who has served as the program's GM for more than 30 years.
When Matt Opblinger scored the game winner in OT of a 2-1 win over Lakewood St. Edward in the state title game, Marciniak was mobbed on the bench.
"I just ran to Mike," Varga said. "He's an unbelievable guy."
Kinsella, who stepped down for health reasons, said it was a difficult decision.
"I thought I'd get up there and tell everyone the reason and just move on," Kinsella said. "But I got three words out and got choked up."
Kinsella said the state title was one of the "most gratifying" moments of his 52 years in hockey, which included three seasons as a forward for the Toledo Goaldiggers.
"I didn't realize how huge a state championship is," Kinsella said. "I had a million people come up to me."
St. Francis went 14-20-3 last season, but Varga said the program is in position to make another run at a state title in the near future.
"We have some good talent coming in," he said.
TRACK & FIELD
Bowling Green Horrigans set marks
Two siblings at Bowling Green have vaulted to the top of the school's track and field record book.
Michael and Maria Horrigan have set school records in the pole vault this spring.
Michael Horrigan, a senior, set the boys mark with a vault of 14 feet, breaking the record April 27 at the Archbold Relays.
Maria Horrigan, a freshman, shattered the girls record by two feet April 20 with a vault of 11 feet, 6 inches at the Eastwood Relays.
Another Bowling Green field athlete, Andrew Knueven, set the school record in the discus with a throw of 163-5 at the Napoleon Invitational.
Whitmer trio soaring
A trio of pole vaulters at Whitmer also have made their mark.
Pat Siebenaller, a senior, Nick Holley, a junior, and Tyler Szychowski, a sophomore, have broken meet records in every invitational they participated in this season except one.
Holley has cleared 14-6, Siebenaller has cleared 14-0, and Szychowski has made 13-6.
Perrysbug's Gordon to UT
Perrysburg senior Karissa Gordon has signed a letter of intent to continue her swimming career at the University of Toledo.
Gordon won a Division I district title in the 100-yard butterfly and qualified for the state meet in the event. She finished 11th at state with a time of 57.93.
Gordon also won Northern Lakes League titles in the 100 backstroke (1:01.65) and 100 butterfly this past season.
She holds the league record in the 100 butterfly (59.14).
As a junior Gordon finished 10th at state in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.67.
2 Knights to Ohio State, 1 to Michigan
Two St. Francis de Sales swimmers have signed letters of intent to swim at Ohio State, and another is going to Michigan.
DJ MacDonald and Dan DiSalle are to compete for the Buckeyes. Matt Zimmerman is to swim for the Wolverines.
MacDonald, of Waterville, holds the school record in the 100 breaststroke. He was part of the medley relay which won a state title in 2011.
DiSalle, of Perrysburg, is a six-time state champion (four relays and two individual events). He set the school record in the 50 freestyle as a freshman.
Zimmerman, of Maumee, holds the school record in the 200 free. He won a state championship in 2011 in the 400 free relay.
The trio helped lead St. Francis to a district title.
Emmanuel Christian turns triple play
The Emmanuel Christian softball team turned a triple play April 19 against Ottawa Hills.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Green Bears had runners on the corners with no outs.
Emmanuel Christian third baseman Mackenzie Arbogast reached out and snagged a liner that was headed down the third base line.
The junior then stepped on third for the second out and made a hard throw back to first to get the runner before she could retreat back to the bag.
"It was a fun play for a struggling team and put some spring in their step," Emmanuel Christian coach Brennan Arbogast said.
Ottawa Hills won the game 14-10.
BG's Akenberger sets record
Bowling Green pitcher Casey Akenberger has set the school record for strikeouts in a season.
The senior has 133 strikeouts in 95⅓ innings. Akenberger, who has a 2.49 ERA, is closing in on her 500th career strikeout.
Blue Devils ranked sixth
In the state softball coaches poll, Springfield (17-1) is ranked No. 6 in Division I.
Eastwood pitcher Nick Vespi is following up a fantastic year as a freshman with a stellar start to his sophomore year.
Vespi has given up just four earned runs in 33⅓ innings. He leads the Northern Buckeye Conference with a 1.08 ERA and has 48 strikeouts. He also has a .356 batting average with 12 RBIs.
Vespi had a 2.80 ERA with 76 strikeouts as a freshman.
Generals top area team
The Anthony Wayne baseball team is ranked just outside the top 10 in the latest Division I state coaches poll.
The Generals (17-1), who lead the Northern Lakes League with an 8-0 record, are ranked No. 11.
Bryan (12-1) is ranked 17th in the Division II poll.
Wells is MVP in Ohio-Indiana all-star game
Notre Dame's Cat Wells was named most valuable player of the Nancy Rehm/Border Wars Classic, an all-star game for seniors. She scored 19 points to lead Ohio to a 103-71 win Saturday over Indiana.
Central Catholic's Jamie Sobczak finished with a team-high 23 points. Northview's Miriam Justinger added 16 points.
Other area players were Perrysburg's Kelsea Newman (12), Notre Dame's Michelle Holmes (10 points), and Evergreen's Lauren Langenderfer (2).
Ohio coaches were Notre Dame's Travis Galloway and Ottawa Hills' Sean Mercer.