Chris Moore became an unlikely state champion this past March, and in the process, delivered one of the more special moments of the local sports scene.
Seconds after the Clyde junior finished off his 4-2 upset of Clear Fork's Brandon O'Neill in the Division II finals at 170 pounds, he made a bee line to find former Fliers wrestler and his personal mentor, Bubba Andrews. The two embraced and shared a moment Moore will never forget.
Andrews, battling a brain tumor, had spent the day before in a local hospital and got released just in time to see Moore wrestle. He lost his battle with cancer less than two weeks later.
"That was the biggest thing right there," said Moore, who is getting ready to enter his senior season of wrestling. "Yeah, you want to do it for yourself, but when someone else is there inspiring you to do something, it just gives [me] that extra motivation, on top of the motivation I had already. I definitely had a few right hands going for me that day."
On Thursday, Moore signed a national letter of intent to wrestle at Cleveland State University where he'll follow in the footsteps of two more idols, Danny and Robbie Michaels (former Clyde wrestlers who also wrestled for the Vikings placed second at state).
"Danny and Robbie have been big parts in my success," Moore said. "Having someone that's been to college, and at Cleveland State on top of that, it's been a huge help. They come in and help us at practices and drill with us and kick our butts a little bit. That's shows a lot..."
Moore was 49-4 as a junior, earning Clyde's first state title since Matt Guhn won one in 2005. He was eighth at state as a sophomore wrestling for Bellevue.
Moore plans to major in criminal justice and go into law enforcement.
"I'm pretty happy," Moore said. "Since I was four, this was something that I was working for."
Clyde coach Rob Jennings didn't mind getting to work with Moore either.
"We were fortunate to be able to work with him last year and win some big matches when it counted most towards the end of the season," Jennings said. "
In Old Fort, Kelly Miller signed a national letter of intent to play volleyball at Walsh University in North Canton.
Miller, a 4.0 student who plans to major in business, said she was recruited by coach Erin Foster.
"She was so awesome," Miller said. "The team's really close together, like a family, and that's what I wanted."
The Cavaliers finished 11-15 this year, and 8-10 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Old Fort Coach Nancy Hoover was pleased to see Miller be able to play at the next level, since her high school career ended abruptly. Miller missed her senior season with a broken foot, but maintained a good attitude and helped the younger players.
Hoover remembered when Miller, the daughter of Kathy and the late John Miller, was in fourth grade, and came to her excited to play volleyball for her in high school, especially since her doctor said Miller would probably grow to be 6 feet, 2 inches tall.
"I'm glad that came through," Hoover said.
But Miller didn't rely on raw talent, though.
"She worked to get to this level," Hoover said.
There was no doubt what Woodmore senior Mikayla Baer wanted to do after she visited Bowling Green State University and took a tour with golf coach Stephanie Young in late July.
"With the recruiting process, the goal was to find a school where I could see myself even if I wasn't playing sports," Baer said. "I wanted to focus on my education. There was a moment when we walked through campus. Everything about it was the school for me."
Baer, who wants to study biology, signed her letter of intent Wednesday with the Falcons. She was one of Woodmore's four nominees for the Wendy's High School Heisman and ranks sixth in her class (3.915 GPA).
"I'd like to thank my parents and family and everybody else who's ever supported me because without them I wouldn't have got here," Baer said. "My main focus has always been my education and making the most of it has always been my goal."
Baer qualified to state each of her final three years in high school and finished fourth, fifth and 10th. Baer was first-team all-Northern Buckeye Conference the last two seasons playing on the boys team. Baer shot a 68 to win sectionals at White Plains last season.
"There were a lot of sentimental moments," she said of her Wildcats career.
"It was an honor to represent Woodmore at state three times and win the league three times (as a team). There were so many good times at Woodmore."