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The Ohio Cardinal Conference


DEDICATION Matthew 24:30
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, And all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see The Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

This painting of Jesus was created by the English artist, Simon Dewey and is used with permission. Click here to see more of his work.


Ashland High School, the home of the Orange and Black Arrows, has just completed 100-years of athletics. This is, also, the 5th year since Arrow Addendum, a history of their 19-sports, was published (June, 2002). This website is an update of the 19 sports for 931 seasons with 224 league championships in four conferences. This basic history of AHS athletics can be found on the four websites, which are linked on the top of the Introduction page. (Lincoln Highway Leagues and 100th football and basketball sites)

It all began in 1907 with four sports and a Senior class of 23 students, who would make up the 30th AHS graduating class. Their Class President, Leo “Colonel” Yearick scheduled the first football game with Savannah Academy. The Junior class would publish the second AHS Yearbook. An outstanding freshman class of 38 students would fortify the sports teams with 4-year athletes such as: Paul Ganyard, Brownie Spreng, Mart Moore, Glenn Miller, and Harry Pifer.

Over the first century football has been played every season, and the 100th year was celebrated last year during the Shelby game. Basketball missed only the 1914 season, while the new high school was being built on Cottage Street. The roundballers will celebrate their 100th campaign at the Willard game next Dec. 22nd. Twice AHS did not field a baseball team during the war years of 1918 and 1943. Unfortunately their early records are not very complete, and their season opener wasn’t until the first week in May. Finally, Girls’ basketball began with the Senior and Junior teams coached by Edna Houston. While mainly an intramural sport, the inter-class tournaments in the early years for the Silver Cup and the prestigious Army-Navy games over five decades were highly competitive, until 1970 when it became the first girls’ interscholastic sport at AHS. 

Actually track was the first sport at AHS, when they participated in “Field Days” with teams from Mansfield, Wooster, Shelby, Marion, and other schools. Dick Beer started the first squad in 1896, and the local event was held at the Fairgrounds near Wick and Sandusky Street. The always-popular single day event faded away until the Twenties, when the “modern” track team was started at AHS on the YMCA Field.

In the last five years since Arrow Addendum the biggest change in AHS athletics has been their new league membership in the eight-team Ohio Cardinal Conference. The most noticeable improvement in the facilities has been the new synthetic turf at Community Stadium for the 100th season. The new Weight Room was completed in 2006. Athletic Director Rick Brindley has spearheaded the Renovation Project for Community Stadium, which is a $1.2 million dollar vision to improve concession stands, restrooms, locker rooms, and the visitor’s bleachers.

With the OCC the focus of sports schedules the Arrows have won 19 titles in the first four years with Boys golf and Girls soccer each winning three championships. Overall the A’s have been the runner-up twice and third a pair of times for the All-Sports award. Nevertheless the Orange and Black had six titles last year for their best finish in the OCC. But clearly the most exciting single season was the 2006 football campaign, when the Arrows finished 10 and 0 and were voted the Division II AP State champs. (third time in AHS history with golf in 1962 and 1998). Coach Scott Valentine and MVPs Taylor Housewright and Shadron Starnes led the A’s to the regional finals. The eventual State champions Piqua and Brandon Saine ended the storybook season.

In the past five years two other AHS squads, the Boys and Girls soccer teams, made a run to the Elite Eight. In 2005 Boys soccer squad under Coach Adam Bracken with MVP Ross Ashley and leading scorer Bryan Henson (32 goals) reached the Regional finals. That same Fall Coach Jerry White’s Girls soccer team with five senior stars: MVP Kelly Usher, Nicole Arthur, Shannon Sullivan, Katie Matteson, and Daphne Boals, also, made it to the Elite Eight.

Sat. November 7th was Ashland’s great dual soccer achievement when both team played in the Regional finals. In the afternoon the Girls team lost at Ashland Community Stadium to Strongsville, the eventual State champs. Ashland soccer fans made a right turn and raced up Route 42 to Medina where the Boys team lost to the undefeated and No. 2 ranked Brecksville Bees in a 7:30 contest. Afterwards Bryan Henson and Kelly Usher were both picked first-team All-Ohio.

Over the past five years the most successful AHS individual in the post-season was wrestler Brent Weisenstein, who finished fourth in the 2006 State tournament. He was, also, the Sectional champ three times (2004, 05, and 06). Several other individuals won the first round (Sectional/District) titles. Lauren Locke won the Girls sectional tennis title twice in 2002 and 03. In Girls golf Sara Drozdowski (2004) and Alyssa Westfall (2005) were the Sectional medalists. Kalie Hauenstein was first for the District distance title in 2003 and 2004. Andrea Cornell won the 100-hurdles in 2004. Swimmer Jeff Montague finished first in the 500-freestyle in 2004. In 2006 Brock Weaver won the District Cross Country title at Galion. However, on a disappointing note last year 2006-07 the Arrows failed to send anyone to the State for the first time since the 1972-73 campaign. One factor may have been the $350 participation fee in 2004-05, which resulted in several sports not having a single freshman tryout that season.

AHS has had some notable post-high school careers in the last five years, too. Golfer Steve Paramore was four-times first-team All-American at Florida Southern (1999-2003).
He, also, was the champion of the Ohio Amateur (2003) and the Ohio Public Links (2005) tournaments. Beth Mallory was a five-time All-American for the Alabama Crimson Tide. In 2005 Beth was the top Female athlete at Alabama (the Paul “Bear” Award) and the SEC coaches pick for the Outdoor Field event Athlete of the Year. She, also, was the NCAA national women’s discus champion in 2005. The career of Jacob Howell on the Ohio State University baseball team has been well documented in several recent Ashland Times-Gazette articles by Mark Hazelwood. The twice Buckeye Captain has won several Big-Ten honors, including the Academic award four times. Numerous other former Arrows have, also, made marks in their careers, but I do not have a longer list.

Lastly, an explanation of a website as opposed to a re-print of the Arrow Addendum. The best reason is I can correct my errors and omissions. My biggest “mis-steak” on the first Arrow Addendum was Bob Springer, the astronaut, not Bill Springer’s picture which is now corrected on this website. Also, is the availability to all on the worldwide web. I’ve been told by several retired, former basketball players, that they went to the library and used the Internet for the first time to look up the 100th basketball website. Some would like a printed copy in their hands, and you can do that because this site is free to you. I was told that someone has already run off a copy of the entire basketball website.

Finally, and for the fourth time, all these websites and their design have been the terrific work of Cathy Buscher, the Webmaster at the Mansfield-Richland County Library and the mother of two AHS graduates. Words cannot express the joy of seeing my work put into the quality presentation that Cathy has created. I’m sure neither one of us ever envisioned the magnitude of four website covering the entire history of Ashland High School athletics, when we first met January 21, 2004 to discuss the Lincoln Highway Leagues website. But as the four projects evolved, we have shared a common bond in our friendship and our Christian faith. It has been our pleasure to make this history available to the Ashland community

INTRODUCTION:  Originally written in the 2002, June ARROW ADDENDUM booklet printed by Kehl Kolor, Inc and pictures by Maurer Photography Studio & Ashland Times-Gazette.

            From different sources around the State the golf coaches have been asked, “What’s with Ashland? You are not a big city school, you’re not a parochial school, you’re just a small community, but Ashland is near the top of the State every year. How do you do it?” This isn’t just true of golf only. The question applies to the overall sports program and our acclaimed sobriquet “Someplace Special.”

            The answer entails several factors over Ashland’s long sports history. First is the willingness of the community to provide the facilities and the programs for their youth and many times without tax dollars. While track “Field Days” at the turn of the Century were held at the old Fairgrounds off Sandusky Street, the earliest recreation centers were the YMCA (1909) and Brookside Park (1917). A grandstand for baseball was built on the YMCA field in 1913. In 1921 that Y Field off Holbrook, Brookside Park, and the Country Club of Ashland expanded their sites with land donated by the FE and PA Myers’ families.

            By the end of the Twenties basketball was being played at McDowell Auditorium in the new high school; and the football, baseball, and track teams were playing at YMCA (Myers) Field. In 1928 a pool was added at Brookside, and the high school began holding “cold” swimming meets in May. The first athlete went to State George Fluke. In 1931 Glenwood opened as a public golf course on West Main.   

            Every time a sports need appeared the Ashland community responded with a new venue. When Little League baseball was born in 1955, they used Brookside No.1 and Emmons Field; and two State championships came home the first two years. Governor Frank Lausche even threw out the first pitch in 1956. Then Governor O’Neill did the same two years later. By 1960 a lighted Pony League field from the VFW was used by the youth baseball program.

            In the 1960s the new high school at King and Katherine included land for athletic fields. In 1963 Community Stadium replaced Redwood Stadium as the Arrow’s home field. The $110,000 project was the result of a community effort spearheaded by Fred Martinelli and George Valentine. Many credit T.W. Miller Jr. as the force behind the project. While the basketball team moved to what is now Arrow Arena, the track and baseball (the nationally recognized Bud Plank Field) teams also received new home sites on the property. In the meantime the tennis courts remained on the drawing board, and the swimming pool continued to be the hoax under the gym floor.
            When T.W. Miller Jr. made softball a national attraction, a community group added new lights at Brookside Diamond No. 1 and Cahn Grove got the old lights. Bill Mills led a fundraiser in 1951-52 to get lights at Myers Field. Another community project was led by Dave Gray and Russ Harpster in 1985 to improve the lights, seats, and press box at Community Stadium.

            From a modest beginning the Soccer Association introduced the sport to the community in 1981. A traveling team began on the Y-Field, and now over a thousand kids play at a half a dozen locations. The soccer groups continued the Ashland tradition of community projects to provide facilities with the 700-seat Community Soccer Stadium at Ringler Field.

            Since 1942 a tax levy has financed the Parks and Recreation Dept. The Brookside Park area has been the major growth area from that revenue. In the 70’s Brookside Golf Course had two 9-hole golf additions in 1971 and 1978. When girls’ softball came into vogue, the Girls’ OHSAA State Tournament came to Ashland in 1978. The development of Brookside West dates from 1982. Today, the P&RD continues to run the summer softball, tennis, basketball, and golf programs.

            The most visible public support group is the All-Sports Boosters club, which was organized in 1947. Their fund raising efforts for Arrow athletics are nearing a half-a-million dollars. Several other parent and mothers’ groups are spin-offs from the Boosters Club. However, many industries, businesses, and individuals have supported the athletic department by advertising in the program, supporting the Cruise Party, donating to the banquet awards, and backing special events on the athletic schedule.

            The Weiss and the Armstrong are two of the oldest varsity and JV golf invitationals in the State. The Wendy girls’ softball event is now an interstate gathering, and its sister tournament, East of Chicago, carries on Ashland’s softball reputation. Myers, Faultless (Abbott), and probably every downtown business have contributed to the athletic department. For years the clothing stores (Toggery & Strauss) were the ticket outlets for tournament games. 

            Almost every sport has benefited from some kind of feeder system from the community. The YMCA has the longest record of helping basketball, football, swimming, and other sports some of which have ceased like bowling, boxing, and the rifle teams. The Youth baseball probably has the longest record of Summer recreation. The JAWS program has developed AHS wrestlers since the 1970’s. One of the most popular feeder programs was the Junior High City league for football, basketball, and track from four elementary schools during the 1950’s and 60’s. The Taft Presidents/Senators, Osborn Redmen, Edison Inventors, and Montgomery Monties vied for the Faultless Rubber trophy. Since that time a continuous 5th and 6th grade program still goes on today. Finally, not to be overlooked the finest in-house program; the Girls Athletic Club (GAC) thrived for four decades until Title IX opened the door to girls’ interscholastic sports.

            Another factor in Ashland’s success is the people who have run these sport programs. Some sports have maintained the stability of having the same coach for a long and successful tenure. The head coaches with more than 20 years were: Bud Plank, Dave Smalley, Carl Leedy, Barry Ferguson, Bob Henikman, Jeff Burnett, and Tom Williams. Although other sports have continuously changed coaches, Fred Martinelli, retired AU football coach and AD, is quick to point out that most of the coaches hired from outside the AHS system brought winning records with championship credentials from other schools.

            Nevertheless, above every other factor has been the athletes. Their countless hours of dedication and perseverance are the basis of any successful athletic program. In other generations many athletes played three sports, which kept them in shape year round. Coaches recruited their athletes for the other sports because they saw the carryover value of successful experiences from one sport to another. Now almost every sport has an off-season program, which demands their time, and Summer camps abound. Today the AHS weight room is in continuous use the year around and most nights of the week.

            Meanwhile the opponents and the schedule have always been the primary goals for the high school team. The immediate objective was a conference championship. Other than the years of scheduling as an independent (1945-60) AHS has been in a league since 1919. The A’s have been in the North Central Ohio League, the Tuscowand League (baseball only), the Cardinal Conference, and the Ohio Heartland Conference. In 2003 the Arrows will compete in the new Ohio Cardinal Conference.

            The post-season on the OHSAA tournament trail always quickens a season ending impetus. Until 1930 AHS was in the powerful Cleveland-Akron-Canton Northeastern District. J.E. Bohn, the AHS Principal, was on the state board, and he petitioned them to switch the A’s to the Northwest District. Thus Ashland became the last school in the Mansfield-Lima-Sandusky-Toledo district on the path to the State Tournament. This 19-sport AHS history has majored on the conference, the first tournament step (sectional/district), and those, who have reached the State level of competition.

            While the space in this booklet eliminates a volume of records, some highlights cannot be overlooked. One must ask if there are perhaps some unbreakable records like Roosevelt Robinson’s rushing totals, Dick Dauch and Darla Plice’s 40-point games, Tom Zappone’s 19-1 career pitching record, and Beth Mallory’s four State performances.  Some other noteworthy achievements include: Andrea Bardy’s six different State meets, Bob Andy’s State trips in three different sports, the 12-letters by Joey Ortiz and Colleen Byrne. It cannot be forgotten that in the 20th sport - gymnastics Jane Schantz was the only one to make it to State, and she did it three times. Do we need to be reminded that Eddie Wells, John Roseboro, Max Messner, Darla Plice, and Tim Seder all made the big leagues?

            When the coffee conversations reiterate the chronicles of the Orange and Black, they relish some of these triumphs of glory. The oldest sport football 95 years: the years of the roses (Starn and Robinson), Cloyce Taylor’s teams, four straight CCC’s well Dunne, and the 7-6 upsets of the too-tough Mansfield Tygers three decades apart. The four basketball teams at State, the 11 NCO and 10 CCC’s, the high scoring games at McDowell Auditorium, the 29-straight wins in Arrow Arena, and the 1000th win. The Dod Paxton era: the only two baseball teams to State. The string of tracksters to State: 23 of 24 years. The success of the Ashland distance runners: boys and girls, track and cross country, OHC and State. The great girls’ years of Joy Roberts, Tammy Eisel, and Amy Schmitz. The 20 golf teams to State and the only two AHS State championships. The State semi-finals in soccer and the Division I championship game at Brookside in softball. The great year of 1936 with four teams at the State: basketball, baseball, golf, and tennis. The enviable league record that only AHS won the Cardinal Conference in every sport and the OHC in every sport except one. Not to be forgotten is the distinguished expansion and promotion of Arrow athletics under Ev DeVaul’s tenure as Athletic Director.

            From our indelible memories of the past even the opponents who went on to greater fame must be remembered. In 1933 Jim Jesson went to the State track meet undefeated in the 220. He lost in the prelims, and he wasn’t close to the East Tech sprinter Jesse Owens, who broke the world’s record that day. In 1957 Larry Brockway played 36-holes in the State golf championship in the same foursome with a long driving blonde from Upper Arlington named Jack Nicklaus. AHS baseball coach Herb Carr was soundly booed for intentionally walking Coshocton’s slugging catcher named Bob Brenly, who is now the manager of the World’s Champion the Arizona Diamondbacks. Perhaps the most bizarre shot in AHS basketball history was the tipped pass for the 1993 Sectional championship. Some spectators still wonder was it Bryan Murvine’s fingertips or the touch of Fremont’s Charles Woodson, who won the Heisman trophy? Finally, it will always be recalled that the doubleheader game in Akron this past basketball season had Sport Illustrated’s “the Chosen One” LeBron James playing in the other game.

            For the athletes, who heard it’s the team and teamwork, one of the lasting memories was the teammates. An untold number of friendships have lasted a lifetime. This author was awestruck during the 1976 WNCO “Football Memories” program when Herb Ganyard and Don Cooper remembered the first AHS championship the 1922 NCO football first place finish. It was an impressive thing to see their endearing camaraderie of well over 60 years.     

            After all the plays, and all the games, and the innumerable moments, the dreams and ambitions inspired an immeasurable impact on most lives. The work ethic of sports and the pursuit of success for many athletes has carried over into their future careers. In some part their lifetime purpose and their habits were influenced by their days as an athlete.

Questions or comments? Contact: Paul Dienstberger


Researched by Paul R. Dienstberger, Web Design by Cathy Buscher
All rights reserved. Last modified- Sunday, July 16, 2023 2:32 PM
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