On New Year's Day, I reflected on the past year in high school sports. Here is my list of top-10 high school sports stories for 2007:
1. The Buchtel girls track and field team captured the Division II state title last spring, making Griffins coach John Scott the first coach in Ohio history to win back-to-back state championships with different genders. The Griffins needed to win the final event of the meet -- the 1,600-meter relay -- to clinch their first girls state title. Kachay Hullum, Tiffany Tucker, Chelsea James and Samantha Lockhart delivered with a first-place finish in 3:54.42, sending Scott into a joyous, tearful celebration with his Griffins.
2. Three area boys cross country teams -- Medina, Woodridge and St. Thomas Aquinas -- won state titles last spring. Junior Donny Roys, the Beacon Journal boys cross country runner of the year, led Medina to a Division I championship with a first-place finish in 15:21.83. Senior Brian Himelright carried Woodridge to a Division II title with a third-place finish in 15:47.92. Senior Tony Migliozzi led St. Thomas Aquinas to a Division III crown with a third-place finish in 15:47.31.
3. The Hudson and Dalton softball teams captured state titles.
Hudson graduate Beth Cinadr, the Beacon Journal softball player of the year and a Purdue University recruit, sparked the Explorers' four-run first inning in the state championship game by hitting a double and scoring her team's first run. Hudson went on to defeat top-ranked Elyria 4-0.
Dalton graduate Jessi Carmichael allowed only one hit in seven innings pitched to lead the Bulldogs to their second consecutive state title with a 3-1 win over North Lewisburg Triad.
4. On Nov. 10, the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy boys soccer team won its second state title in school history with a 2-0 victory over Kettering Archbishop Alter. Senior Danny Thompson, the Beacon Journal boys soccer player of the year and a Messiah College recruit, scored two goals to carry the Royals to glory.
ED SUBA JR./Akron Beacon Journal
CVCA senior forward Danny Roys holds the Division II state championship trophy with his teammates after he scored to goals to lift the Royals to a 2-0 victory over Kettering Archbishop Alter.
5. Nine area wrestlers won titles at the state tournament last March in Columbus.
CVCA graduate John Weakley (189 pounds), the Beacon Journal wrestler of the year and an Ohio State University recruit, won his second consecutive state title along with Perry graduate and University of Edinboro recruit Thomas Straughn (152).
Ravenna graduate Matt Reedy (140) finished the season with a perfect 51-0 record and a state title. Brad Squire (119) became the first freshman in Wadsworth history to win a state title, and he also finished the season with a flawless record (34-0).
Perry junior Sam White (103), Waynedale senior David Stiltner (145), Manchester graduate Nick Hooper (215), St. Vincent-St. Mary graduate Brian Dean (125) and Black River graduate Jesse Campbell (285) also won state titles.
6. The Louisville football team advanced to its first state championship game but fell short in a 31-25 loss to Cincinnati Anderson on Nov. 30 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
The Leopards finished with a 12-3 record, and senior defensive end Matt Schooley was named the district's Division II co-defensive player of the year.
Brunswick senior quarterback Sean Bedevelsky, the Beacon Journal football player of the year, led the Blue Devils (13-1) to a Division I state semifinal game, in which they suffered their first loss of the season -- a 39-14 setback against eventual state runner-up Mentor.
LOU STAMP/Akron Beacon Journal
Audra Battors (left) and Amy Ring show their disappointment after the Louisville football team lost 31-25 to Cincinnati Anderson in the the Division II state championship game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
7. GlenOak graduate and Ohio State standout Kosta Koufos led the Golden Eagles boys basketball team to a Division I state semifinal game. But GlenOak fell 45-34 to eventual state runner-up Cincinnati St. Xavier on March 23. Koufos was named the Beacon Journal boys basketball player of the year.
Stow graduate Liana Jennings, the Beacon Journal girls basketball player of the year, led the Bulldogs to their first state championship game. Stow fell to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 63-43 in the Division I state final on March 17.
8. Like in professional sports (the Mitchell report and Michael Vick's involvement in dogfighting), some of the year's top stories in high school sports were negative.
Former Buchtel football coach Claude Brown, 42, was arrested on Feb. 26 for having sex with a 17-year-old female student. Brown received a two-year prison sentence on May 16.
Two Tallmadge football players face delinquency charges of rape in connection with a hazing incident involving a teammate, which allegedly occurred on school property in August. Trials in those cases are to begin March 17, 2008. Two other players involved, one 16 and one 17, each pleaded guilty to one delinquency charge of hazing, and another player pleaded guilty to a delinquency charge of disorderly conduct for his involvement with the incident.
9. After back-to-back winless seasons in 2004 and 2005, the Firestone football team went 7-3 in the regular season, winning its first outright City Series title and qualifying for its first state playoff appearance. Legendary area coach Tim Flossie, who took over at Firestone in 2006, was named the state's Division II coach of the year for helping the Falcons turn their program around.
10. Revere senior Stephanie Danesis finished as a state singles runner-up for the second consecutive year. Danesis, a Miami (Ohio) University recruit, finished the season with a 39-2 record and her high school career with a 116-9 record.
KAREN SCHIELY/Akron Beacon Journal
Firestone football players dump water on Falcons coach Tim Flossie after they defeated Kenmore in late October to clinch their first outright City Series title.