2018 was busy, successful sports year for Union County


Monarch grappler Jacob Marsh fends off an opponent during a 2018 match. Marsh was the Division I state runner-up in the 152-pound weight class. He currently wrestles for Princeton University.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)


With the calendar year of 2018 having come to an end, the Journal-Tribune sports department is looking back on the past 12 months of local sports.
It’s sometimes difficult to pick what we feel is the top sports story of the year.
Instead, we will look back on what we consider the main events for local sports teams, athletes and coaches, not particularly in any order of importance.
Area teams had a good amount of success during the past year, particularly on the softball diamond.
The squads from North Union and Jonathan Alder respectively captured regional championships in Divisions III and II.
The Lady Cats and Lady Pioneers have been no strangers to regional success, as both have made several recent appearances in the state tournament.
This past spring, NU and JA both fell in the state semifinals, held at Akron’s Firestone Stadium, by one run.
NU lost 2-1 to Warren Champion and Alder fell to Beloit West Branch by a score of 5-4.
State track and field success also came to Jonathan Alder’s girls 4×800 relay team in June at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The foursome of Morgan Hicks, Maddie Killian, Emily Davis and Lexi Thorpe finished as the Division II runners-up in that event.
They placed just behind three-time state champion Chagrin Falls with a time of 9:30.92.
Marysville High School’s wrestling program has long had much success. That continued in 2018.
The Monarchs won a Division I regional championship (with wins over Westerville North and Lancaster) and Jake Marsh, the Monarchs’ 152-pounder, finished as runner-up in the season-ending state tournament.
Marsh, who now wrestles for the University of Princeton, lost to David Carr of Massillon Perry by a score of 8-2 during the state championship bout at The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.
Fairbanks senior Beau Sloan won the boys Division III regional 100-meter dash championship during the spring. He went on to place fourth in the event during the state meet with a time of 10.92.
The rebuilding process that Fairbanks High School football coach Patrick Cotter began with the 2015 season resulted in the Panthers’ first state playoff berth since 2007.
FHS, which finished the regular season with a 7-3 record, fell to Fort Frye in the opening round of the playoffs.
For the continuing progress of the program, Cotter was named the Division VI coach of the year for the state of Ohio.
Triad’s gridiron squad made a huge turn during the fall campaign.
The Cardinals struggled to back-to-back 1-9 finishes during the 2016 and 2017 campaigns.
Third-year head coach Joe Cardinal, however, is overseeing a turnaround as Triad went 5-5 this past fall.
Jonathan Alder’s volleyball team repeated at Kenton Trail Division champions of the Central Buckeye Conference.
The Lady Pioneers also extended their post-season by claiming a Division II district championship.
JA fell in the regional semifinals to Columbus Bishop Hartley.
Along with Marsh’s runner-up finish in the state wrestling tournament, other local athletes accomplished individual milestones as follows:
-Marysville High school basketball player Jack Christian, competing on the varsity team as a freshman during the 2017-18 campaign, set a new school single-game record for three-point goals;
Christian buried nine trifectas during a victory over Westland last January;
-Fairbanks baseball pitcher Mason Cushman threw a no-hitter during an April contest against Ridgemont;
-Teammate Alan Schnees drilled a trio of home runs during the same game, which resulted in a five-inning, 27-0 victory for the Panthers;
-North Union senior Colton Clark, a standout defensive lineman, earned first-team All-Ohio honors in Division V for the 2018 football season;
-Fairbanks senior linebacker Charlie Scheiderer earned first-team All-Ohio honors in D-VI.
-Triad teammates Dylan Rice (running back) and Isaiah Bruce (receiver) earned first-team All-Ohio honors in Division VII.
Rice gained more than 1,400 yards and became the Cardinals’ all-time leading rusher.
-Triad senior hoopster Hadley LeVan established a new Cardinal boys scoring record during a 65-44 victory over Madison Plains in mid-February.
LeVan tallied 25 points during the game to break Josh Hollar’s career record of 1,473 and eclipsed Hollar’s mark by two points at the end of the game.
LeVan finished his Triad career with 1,535 points.
Coaches always seem to make news throughout any given sports year.
Several local coaches earned accolades or reached milestones during the calendar year.
Union County is now the home of two additional Hall of Fame softball coaches.
North Union’s Dawn Draper and Marysville’s Chris Shirer were both selected to the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Draper’s selection came during the same year in which she earned her 400th career victory coaching the Lady Cats.
Shirer, who announced his retirement from the Lady Monarch program after the 2018 season, learned of his selection in November.
Shirer was head coach or co-head coach of the team for 17 seasons and led the program to six Division I district championships.
Along the way, he amassed a record of 375-105.
Draper and Shirer join former Marysville High School head coach Larry Fox and the late Dan Stillings, who was the first coach of the Fairbanks High School softball program, in the sport’s Hall of Fame.
North Union boys basketball coach Brian Terrill reached a milestone for victories.
Terrill earned his 250th career varsity coaching triumph at NU. Of that total, 100 came during his previous stint as North Union’s girls hoop coach.
Marysville head wrestling coach Shawn Andrews was announced earlier this month as the state’s Division I coach of the year for the 2017-18 campaign.
He was named to the honor by the state wrestling coaches association.
The year that has only a few more hours left, also saw comings and goings for several coaches.
Long-time Jonathan Alder wrestling boss Ron Thomas retired after more than two decades at the Pioneers’ helm.
He was replaced by Tony Watson, who formerly was the head coach at Buckeye Valley and Cardington high schools.
Brock Oakes’ tenure as Fairbanks’ girls basketball coach ended when he stepped down after seven seasons due to family reasons. He and his wife welcomed their third child right before the start of the 2018-19 preseason.
Landon Fraker, who formerly was the head girls coach at Buckeye Valley, took his place.
Mark Brunswick, who served as Marysville High School’s head baseball coach for five years, resigned in late May, citing health concerns.
He was replaced by former London High School head coach Nick Blake.
Mindy Eisnaugle said good-bye to the Marysville High school girls basketball job after two seasons.
She was replaced by former Lady Monarch assistant coach Brooke Young.
North Union was the third Union County school that put out the Help Wanted sign for a new girls basketball coach.
Rachel Weaver resigned from the position during the spring after posting a 36-12 record in two seasons.
She was replaced by former Lady Cat player Bre Nauman.
It was announced after the 2018 season that Jonathan Alder volleyball coach Kim Headings would not be returning to the position for the 2019 campaign.
The local bowling alley, Marysville Lanes, came under new ownership over the summer.
Bob and Alison Boggs sold the business to Jeff Moehler of Marysville.
The facility, which is the home to the high school bowling teams from Marysville, Fairbanks and North Union, was renamed Dragon Lanes.

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