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Success starting to grow on spring athletes

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Nothing beats the smell of spring flowers, the sound of chirping birds and the feel of the warm sun. These spring senses accompany the grittier senses of the spring sports season: the smell of sweat, the sound of ferocious cheering and the warmth of teamwork and victory.

Fairmont’s spring athletes have begun putting their skills to the test. From softball and baseball covering all the bases to tennis making a racket on the court, the spring players and coaches expect to end the 2011 school year on a high note. Expect to see plenty of growth among the teams and individuals.

Track & Field

Track season is in full sprint, and Head Coach Pat Miller predicts a successful season “if things come together on the track.” Fairmont saw some success despite the inclement weather at the Vandalia Butler Invitational on April 16.

Senior Tyler Baltzell and sophomores Danny Brown, Justine Miller and Natalie Uy, who all contributed to Fairmont placing in the top three at the eight-team Endurance Sports Invitational hosted at Fairmont on April 8, were successful again, as were other Birds who battled the elements Saturday to contribute to the team effort.

“We have some strong individuals,” said Coach Miller. For example, senior Kaydee Miller helped anchor the 4x100m relay to a third-place finish; other members of the team are junior Diane Kelley and sophomores Justine Miller and Rachel Herman. The boys’ 4x800m relay team, comprised of junior Jeff Bruns and seniors Kevin Lavoy, Tony Cannon and Mike Minnoughan, and the Girls’ 4x800m relay team, with seniors Maria Meredith, Kelly Hart, Michele Post and junior Annie VonderBrink, both placed in the top five.  

The next step for Fairmont is a journey to Welcome Stadium on April 22 for the Edwin C. Moses Relays.

Baseball

The Varsity Baseball team is looking to pick up where they left off last season. Last year, the team placed second in the GWOC Central and made it to the District Finals. “We had a great run last year and we’re looking to advance even further this season,” said senior Logan Lingle.

The team lost some powerful players like Co-Athlete of the Year Alex Lilley, but seasoned senior Nick Livingston, who earned a place on the First Team GWOC last year, returns as a strong asset to the Firebirds, along with seven other returning seniors.

The team saw some preseason action as they spent their spring break in Florida. The Firebirds traveled to Orlando to participate in a Disney-sponsored tournament. They brought a 2-2 record back to Kettering. In their very first game, senior Charlie Jones pitched a shut-out in the 10-0 victory against Skyline from Colorado.

Softball

The Lady Firebirds Softball team has formulated a war plan of goals for this season: storm the GWOC, then use the momentum to play their best in the Sectionals and shoot for the playoffs. In light of the moving of the pitching mound back to 43 feet, Head Coach Rick Armstrong believes the team needs to beef up their defense. “The number of errors has to drop,” said Armstrong.

The players came out swinging, opening GWOC Central action with back-to-back victories against Springfield, going 7-3 and 8-1.

The varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams did their part in the fight against cancer at the KO of Cancer Games in Tipp City, where the varsity contained Russia with an 11-0 win. Several individuals comprised a sturdy line of defense. Senior Amanda Ikirt hit a homerun, and seniors Jessie Walk and Stacie Gilbert hit solid doubles. Walk sent 14 strike-out pitches.

The girls faced an unexpected enemy the next day against Covington: the rain. The game was called off when the scoreboard showed a score of 2-1 in favor of Covington. The Firebirds feel they could have turned things around with sophomore Tiffany VanWinkle storming the mound and Walk hitting another double before the showers started.

The Softball team will send two of its standout fastpitch seniors to the college leagues. Ikirt committed to play for Wilmington College and Walk, the “ace on the mound” as Armstrong calls her, signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Rio Grande next fall. The team plans on sending the nine graduating seniors off after a great season.

Some players, and Armstrong himself, feel the team still needs to pull together.  “They all have to step up and do their part, pick their teammates up, work hard and do whatever they can for the team,” said Armstrong.

Varsity Boys’ Volleyball

The Varsity Boys’ Volleyball team is trying to rebuild and reload this season. The team graduated six players last year. Along with graduates, the team lost their prospective libero, senior Sam Robison, to an ACL injury. Returning to the court is middle hitting senior Nick Braun. Braun was given an Honorable Mention for the All-West team.

“Even though we lost a lot of guys last year, I think we will come out strong this year,” said Braun.

The Firebirds made a strong opening as they won their first game against Edgewood on April 5, three sets to none.

Varsity Boys’ Tennis

Senior captains Crosby Simms and Scott Schwenker, along with fellow seniors Robert Breen and Corey Myers, are leading the team this year with Coach Tim Voegeli. “I’m excited that Coach Voegeli is coming back for yet another season, even though he’s retired,” said Simms.

This year’s team had a rocky start with a loss to Vandalia Butler on March 5. The boys turned it around the following day and defeated Miamisburg, 4-1. On March 7, the boys defeated Fairborn, 5-0. “I think we’ll do really well the rest of the season,” said Myers.

Last year, the team placed second overall in GWOC and sent a doubles team to the third round in Sectionals. “This year, our goal is to make it into Districts,” said Simms.

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The school newsmagazine of Kettering Fairmont High School.
Success starting to grow on spring athletes