Andrew Appleby will be trading in black and gold for scarlet and gray after this school year.
Appleby, a Cuyahoga Falls High School senior, signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to continue his academic and swimming careers at Ohio State University.
“It was an amazing moment,” Appleby said. “Ohio State is where I have always wanted to be. It felt like home when I was down there on my recruiting trip. Honestly, I don’t think things could have worked out better for me. It is my dream school.”
Appleby, 6 feet, 3 inches and 175 pounds, has a 4.112 cumulative grade-point average and scored a 33 on his ACT.
“Andrew is very excited,” Falls coach Peter Nauman said. “I am really proud and pleased to see him develop as a person as well as a swimmer. I have had the privilege to work with him since he was age 8. He is just an outstanding young person. He personifies what it means to strive for excellence.”
Appleby is a two-time Division I state qualifier. As a junior, he placed third in the 100-yard freestyle and fifth in the 100 backstroke. He finished eighth in the 100 freestyle as a sophomore.
“I am just thrilled to get the opportunity to swim in college,” Appleby said. “It has been a dream to swim at Ohio State since I was 10.”
Appleby started a Make A Splash program at the Riverfront YMCA in Cuyahoga Falls and at the University Park YMCA in Akron in 2011. The program provides free swimming lessons to inner-city kids who have fewer opportunities to receive proper training.
Appleby, teammates and coaches have helped about 160 kids learn how to swim in the past year and a half.
“Andrew is just an excellent young man, full of talent and promise,” Falls coach Michael McDonald said. “I am so excited to see him be a Buckeye. I am a little sad to see to him leave Cuyahoga Falls, but it is awesome that he will get to swim in college at Ohio State.
“Andrew is just the whole package. Yes, he is a great swimmer, but he is also a great young man. He is a quality citizen that enjoys helping out others.”
Heyn resigns at Revere
Phil Heyn, 35, recently gave Revere Athletic Director Bill Schumacher a letter of resignation as football coach.
Heyn, who previously served as Revere’s baseball coach, guided the Minutemen’s football team for the past three seasons and compiled a 4-26 record. He was an assistant coach the previous nine seasons.
“This was a difficult decision to come to as this was my dream job but, in the end, I believe it is what is best for the program at this particular time,” said Heyn, a 1996 Revere graduate who lettered three years apiece as a quarterback in football and shortstop and catcher in baseball.
“I feel a new coach can immediately inject new energy into a team with great potential.”
Heyn is a history teacher at Revere. He spent six seasons as baseball coach and posted a record of 89-66. The Minutemen posted records of 18-11, 18-8 and 19-8 during his final three seasons from 2008-2010.
“Although I am stepping down from the program, I am not stepping away from it,” Heyn said. “This program has been a large and important part of my life for over 20 years and I hope to continue to be part of the program by coaching at a lower level and assisting with other tasks wherever I am needed.”
Heyn said he will spend more time with his wife, Amy, and their 17-month-old daughter, Madison.
Lake players sign
Lake seniors Jake McBride and McKenna Stephens signed national letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers.
McBride is set to play golf at North Carolina State.
Stephens will play softball at Michigan State.
McBride, the 2012 Federal League Golfer of the Year, finished his senior season placing third in the Division I boys state golf tournament.
“Jake has been a dynamic player during his Blue Streak years and he certainly ranks as one of the top high school players in Stark County history,” Lake coach Thom Grubb said. “He will be missed by our program, but he’ll be a great asset to N.C. State.”
Stephens has three letters in basketball and softball at Lake.
As a junior, she was named first-team All-Federal League, second-team all-district and earned the Best Defensive Player Award as an infielder. She had a team-high batting average of .486 with an on-base percentage of .500, and had a fielding percentage of .971
Stephens was also selected first-team All-Federal League in basketball for Lake, and an outright league champion that was ranked as high as No. 2 in Ohio for Division I.
“McKenna has made a tremendous impact upon the Lake softball program,” Lake coach Julie Boyes said. “She has battled through many challenges to contribute to her team in every way possible. Her work ethic and enthusiasm for the game is contagious and has elevated our program to becoming one of the most competitive in the Federal League.”
Sign of respect to Fortner
University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel flew home to Akron on Monday after hearing of the passing of his high school football coach, Richard “Dick” Fortner.
Fortner, who passed away at age 80 on Nov. 8, coached Pinkel at Kenmore High School. Fortner also coached at Randolph, Stow and North during a successful career.
Pinkel, 60, had his assistant coaches at Missouri conduct practice in his absence, which allowed him to speak at a Celebration of Life that the Fortner family organized in Wadsworth.
Pinkel also played at Kent State University. He is in his 12th year as Missouri’s coach after serving as Toledo’s coach for 10 seasons.