College basketball and high school golf lead the list of the The Lima News top 10 local sports stories of the year.
2018 was a year that stood out for the accomplishments of area athletes, as usual. It was a big year for firsts and history being made. It was also a big year for remembering and honoring past athletes.
It even was a year that was notable for something that didn’t happen after becoming a yearly occurrence along with the things that did happen.
The top 10 local sports stories of 2018:
1. Area players stand out in college basketball.
Lima Senior’s Xavier Simpson was the starting point guard for Michigan’s NCAA national runner-up team as a sophomore. Elida’s Dakota Mathias finished his career with more 3-point field goals than anyone in Purdue history and was named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team for a second consecutive season.
Bath’s Taren Sullivan was selected as an NCAA Division II All-American for the University of Findlay and finished his career with 1,595 points. Lima Central Catholic’s Martyce Kimbrough finished his career at Findlay with 1, 650 points in three seasons.
Kimbrough and Mathias are playing professional basketball in Spain and Sullivan is playing for the Stockton Kings of the G League, the NBA’s developmental league.
2. Lima Central Catholic wins the girls Division II state golf championship.
LCC’s state title was its first in girls golf. The Thunderbirds shot a 36-hole team total of 652 to win by 20 strokes over runner-up Shelby.
Mary Kelly Mulcahy led LCC with a two-day total of 152 (75-77). Erin Mulcahy was next at 155 (76-79), followed by Meghan Mulcahy at 165 (87-78), Emma Mayers at 181 (93-88) and Hannah Garver with a 185 (98-87).
3. Jerry Cooper returns to the area to become Shawnee High School’s head football coach.
Cooper, who coached a state champion team at Columbus Grove and orchestrated a dramatic turnaround at Lima Central Catholic, came back to Lima after four seasons of coaching in Tennessee to take over a Shawnee program that has struggled in recent years. Cooper’s teams at LCC, Columbus Grove and Bath reached the playoffs 16 times in 21 seasons. Shawnee finished 4-6 this season.
4. Ottawa-Glandorf’s Daniel Beemer wins the Division III 182-pound weight class wrestling state championship.
Beemer, the first O-G state wrestling champion, finished his season undefeated (41-0) and defeated two-time state champion Sam Stoll, of Milan Edison, 9-4 in the state championship match. Beemer had placed fourth in the state as a junior and fifth as a sophomore.
5. Pandora-Gilboa makes its first trip to the boys state basketball tournament and wins the Putnam County League and the Blanchard Valley Conference championships in the same season.
The Rockets finished the season with a 26-2 record and came within two points of eventual state champion Marion Local in a Division IV state semifinal game.
6. Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker repeats as state champion in the 1,600-meter run at the boys state track meet.
The senior runner also finished fourth in the 3,200-meter run and fifth in the 800 meters at the state meet.
7. 2018 is a big year for Hall of Fame honors.
Lima Senior established an Athletic Hall of Fame and stocked it with 26 athletes, five coaches, two state champion teams and four contributors in its first year.
Also, Deb (Elwer) Lindeman, a key player on two Delphos St. John’s girls basketball state champion teams, and Jackie (Motycka) Mossing, a standout at Crestview High School and Bowling Green State University, were inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.
Former Van Wert High School basketball coach Dave Froelich joined the Ohio High School Basketball Association Hall of Fame and former Kalida coach Jim McBride and current Minster coach Mike Wiss went into the Ohio Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
8. Ottawa-Glandorf’s girls basketball team reaches the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year, something only 11 schools have done since the tournament began in 1976.
The Titans were state runner-up in Division III in 2015, state runner-up in Division II in 2016 and state semifinalists in 2017 and 2018.
9. Delphos St. John’s celebrates 100 seasons of boys basketball.
One of the legendary basketball programs in Ohio high school basketball began in the 1918-1919 season with six players and a three-game schedule. Since then, the Blue Jays have made 12 trips to the state tournament and have been state champion three times.
10. The Midwest Athletic Conference does not win a state championship in football for the first time since 2009, but it does have five other team state champions – Minster in girls basketball, Marion Local in boys basketball, Minster in girls track and girls cross country, and Versailles in volleyball.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.