School may be starting to wind down, but Fairmont High School’s spring athletes are just warming up. Members of the Firebird Baseball, Softball, Boys’ Volleyball, Boys’ Tennis and Track & Field teams are embracing the warm weather and responding with some impressive performances.
Based on their 9-5 record as of April 19, the Boys’ Varsity Baseball team might appear to be headed for a ho-hum season. But this team seems to have just taken a few games to come together, and the future looks bright.
The team began the season on March 31 by splitting a double-header at Lebanon, losing the first game 5-6 but bouncing back the next game for a 6-3 victory. They followed their opener with wins against Troy, 4-2, and Middletown Fenwick, 5-4, but losses to Miamisburg, 2-3, and Springboro, 3-4.
“We are off to a slow start, but looking to turn it on,” said Head Coach Kent Drake as the Firebirds’ season stood even at 3 wins and 3 losses on April 7. The boys have since had 6 wins and only 2 losses. Those wins included a big 18-2 win over Trotwood-Madison and shutouts in both games of a doubleheader with West Carrollton, 7-0 and 6-0.
Last year, the boys made it to the Regional Finals, where they lost to Cincinnati Moeller. Many key returning players are back on the field, including senior Brendon Cunningham, who finished last season leading the GWOC in runs (36) and RBIs (36), both GWOC records. Other strong returning players are seniors David Steele, Alex Lilley, Erik Terrell and junior Chris Donese. Lilley is currently 2nd in GWOC with 30 strikeouts.
The Girls’ Varsity Softball team is in great shape at the halfway mark of their season. As of April 19, the girls’ record stood at 10 wins and 5 losses.
“I think we’re having a good season together,” said junior pitcher Jessie Walk, who placed 4th in the GWOC in RBIs in 2009. “We’re going to work hard to get farther than last year.”
Last year, the girls finished first in the GWOC Central with a record of 20-5 overall and 7-3 in the league. Also returning to the Firebirds is senior Jamie Schnarr, who led the GWOC in RBIs at 43 last year.
The girls started their season by competing in Orlando, Fla., over spring break. They went 4-1 in the tournament at Disney, their only loss coming to South County Secondary in Virginia.
Back in Ohio, the girls are now 6-4 with losses to West Carrollton, Northmont, Wayne and Greenville. However, the girls have strong shut-out wins against Miamisburg 7-0, Springboro 10-0 and Trotwood-Madison 10-0.
As of April 19, senior Jennifer Anderson is leading the GWOC with a batting average of 0.711. Schnarr is also leading GWOC with 20 RBIs.
The Boys’ Varsity Volleyball team has roared back on the court and has compiled a record of 3-2 as of April 17.
“The team is very dynamic,” said Head Coach Bill Buirley. “We will run a very diversified offense and will be very exciting to watch.”
Seniors Mark Cridge, Matt Lee and Eric Trent and Joel Sagasser are all returning letter winners for the Firebirds. Last year’s team finished with a record of 16-8.
The boys opened their season on April 13, when they beat Wayne at home in three games. Two days later, they traveled to Beavercreek, where they lost in a close five-game match.
Fairmont hosted a quad match on April 17. In that event, the boys defeated Fairborn in two games, then turned around and beat Cincinnati Oak Hills in two games. At the end of the day, however, the Firebirds lost a close battle to a very tall Cincinnati McNicholas team, 26-24, 25-21.
Last year, the Boys’ Varsity Tennis team finished 4th in the GWOC Central with an overall record of 7-8, and they hope to improve on that record in 2010. “We are looking very strong this year,” said Head Coach Tim Voegeli. “The dynamics of our team this year are excellent and the boys are playing very well.”
Returning this year for the Firebirds is junior Scott Schwenker, who made GWOC First Team last year in singles. Seniors to look out for are Anthony Ganz-Sarto and Brad Sommer.
The boys are off to a 3-3 start so far this season, with wins against Lebanon, 4-1; Carroll, 3-2; and Piqua, 5-0. The losses were to Troy, 3-2; Springboro, 4-1; and Talawanda, 3-2.
Track & Field
The track and field season is fully under way and the Firebirds are making their presence known.
The Firebirds hosted the Endurance Sports Invitational at Fairmont Park on April 9, and both the boys’ and girls’ teams placed third. First-place finishers included senior Brandon O’Malley in the 800m run, sophomore Jake Gentile in the 3200m run, senior Sam Francis in discus, freshman Justine Miller in the 100m dash, and freshman Natalie Uy in high jump.
On April 13, the teams competed in the Rt. 48 Classic in Centerville, and several Firebirds again turned in superior performances. Junior Kaydee Miller broke the school record in the pole vault, going 10 feet. “I’m really happy to have finally broken the record,” said Miller. “Now there is a huge weight taken off of my shoulders.”
Also at the Rt. 48 Classic, freshman Justine Miller won both the 100m and 200m dashes, and also anchored the 4×100 relay of junior Lauren Brown, sophomore Allie White and freshman Rachel Herman to a 1st place finish. Junior Maria Meredith took first in both the 1600m and 800m runs, while Gentile again captured first in the 3200m run and Francis threw the discus 147 feet to lead the Firebirds.
On April 16, both teams competed at the Bellefontaine relays, where the girls finished in 5th place and the boys finished in 7th place.
Some of the other key athletes to watch this year in the running events are senior Alex Evers, juniors Tyler Baltzell and Lauren Brown, and sophomore Anne VonderBrink.
In the field events, athletes who bear watching include junior David Horney in pole vault, senior Morgan Neiheisel in throwing, and senior Cassie Sant and junior Devon Snyder in the long jump.
(Staff Writer Dani Schaaf contributed the Track & Field portion of this story, since Hart is a member of the Track & Field team.)