LEIPSIC – Joe Kirkendall, a teacher at Leipsic Schools, said a special energy is filling the school district.
The community is excited as the boy’s basketball team prepares to travel for Friday's state semifinals at Value City Arena in Columbus. The Vikings are making their first trip to the state tournament in the modern era. The 1925 team is credited with going to state, but what was called the state tournament back then is similar to today’s regionals.
Leipsic’s boys basketball team advanced to the state tournament final four with a 63-54 win over Ottawa Hills in the Division IV boys basketball regional at Bowling Green State University on Friday night.
Kirkendall said he is happy with the way the school has handled this event.
“You can feel the energy throughout the building,” Kirkendall said.
Tammy Duncan, owner of The Consignment and More Shop downtown, spelled out "Go Vikings" in her store window.
“I’m so proud of the boys,” Duncan said.
Just down the street, Stephanie Jesko said T-shirts promoting the Vikings in the final four were selling quickly.
“We sold out on the first order of 350 by Tuesday,” Jesko said. “And we’re waiting for a second shipment to fill other orders.”
Jesko said she hopes the team goes far in the tournament.
“I’m rooting for them,” she said.
Two seniors at the school said this has made their last year at school more exciting.
“It’s amazing,” said Brook Peck.
Megan Warnimont agreed, “Its awesome. Of course we’re going to the game.”
“I have all the confidence that they will do very well,” said Tammy Schroeder at Roses and Ribbons. Schroeder said many customers have stopped in to pick up “We believe” signs the store is helping to distribute.
High school secretary Judy Schroeder said many of the Vikings' opponents during the regular season have been sending congratulations. The school also has received donations from various businesses.
“Consolidated Biscuits sent cookies, and Dr. Darla Lammers gave us Gatorade for the team members," Schroeder said. “I can tell the community is excited as the school about this.”
“This is exciting for Leipsic,” Lammers said as she delivered the Gatorade. She also had donated cases to the team at Ottawa-Glandorf. “I think it makes a community closer when something like this happens.”
Athletic Director Gary Kreinbrink was busy Wednesday afternoon counting the money from the ticket sales.
“We’ve been really busy this past week,” Kreinbrink said.
A special sendoff for the boys team is planned for 2 p.m. today. They will play Lancaster Fairfield Christian (25-2) at 2 p.m. Friday in a Division IV state semifinal.