While Talawanda leaders look at suggestions to improve athletic participation and climate, some of the overall successes may get overlooked, at times.
Athletic Director Wes Cole presented to the board a review to some of the changes already in place, and also highlighting successes of the past year.
Those highlights included Southwest Ohio Conference team championships, as well as individual recognition for athletes and coaches in a range of sports.
“We had the best spring in the SWOC, with 26.5 points (leading the spring sports in the league’s season-long all-sports trophy), and two SWOC championships in girls track and boys tennis,” Cole said on June 18. “We had seven league championships and five second-place finishes, seven SWOC athletes of the year and four coaches of the year. Girls cross country qualified to the regionals. Sam Robinson was second-team all-state in boys soccer, Division I.”
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Talawanda finished tied for second in the scoring for the league’s all-sports trophy, he noted, with Little Miami in front with 118.33 points, while Talawanda and Ross were close behind, with 107.
Talawanda led the league in all-sports points for the spring with the 26.5 points ahead of Ross and Little Miami, each with 25.
The highlight of the spring was senior Valerie Green, who was a big part of the girls’ track championship. She finished her season at the state meet for the second year in a row, where she improved on last year’s effort in the high jump. She earned a spot on the podium with an eighth-place finish.
Green was named the SWOC Athlete of the Year for field events, and that was her second athlete of the year award this school year. She also earned that honor in volleyball.
The other Talawanda participants earning athlete of the year recognition in the SWOC were Vincent Whitehead, in golf; Sam Robinson, in soccer; Noah Curry, swimming; Jess Crowder, swimming; and Kyra Koontz, track for the running events.
League champions for Talawanda over the past school year were boys soccer, girls cross country, both boys and girls swimming and diving, boys tennis, and girls track and field, all in the SWOC, along with ice hockey (which is not offered in the SWOC but in a separate high school hockey league).
Second-place finishes came in girls tennis, boys golf, academic team, boys bowling and baseball.
Talawanda coaches receiving coach of the year recognition were Paul Stiver in both girls cross country and girls track and field, Heath Kelly in boys soccer and Steve Pasquale for boys swimming.
Some other highlights from the past year included:
• Wrestlers Tony Dsuban and Sean Mondello advanced to the district meet
• Addie Brown, in girls basketball, was selected second-team All-Southwest Ohio and received an All-State Division I honorable mention
• 45 athletes received SWOC first-team selections in their respective sports
• 43 athletes received SWOC second-team selections in their respective sports
said members of the football team have been mentoring students at Marshall Elementary during the spring semester. He also gave other examples of athletes giving their time to the community. They include:
• Boys soccer and lacrosse team members put up flags up for the Oxford Rotary during holidays
• Baseball team moved books for the Lane Library book sale
• Lacrosse team volunteered at ShareFest
• Ice Hockey team members held a Skate with the Braves in the winter
• Student-athletes read to elementary students in March
Community members had suggested some changes to the athletic program to improve the climate around the program at a previous work session. Some of those suggestions were already in the planning for the start of the new school year.
“A new athletic website will help with communication and schedules and will also be used to gather alumni e-mail addresses so we can send out newsletters,” Coles said, adding coaches’ meetings will be held more often than in the past. “We will use these more frequently to get information out and to share ideas.”
He also said they will implement a new evaluation instrument for coaches and will add a Google form that will allow him to communicate as ideas occur to him, rather than having to wait until the next formal meeting.
“We have many new ideas that we will use next year to increase fan experience at games,” he said.
He also added a reminder that a Meet the Team/Athletic Celebration will be held on Friday, Aug. 17.