Now that was fun.
Due to deep playoff runs by area football teams, the fall and winter sports seasons have kind of merged together in one giant blur of sports. With such a quick jump from one season to the other, I don't think anyone's really had a chance to look back and reflect on what a special season the fall really was, a season that didn't end until a little more than a week ago with Buckeye Central playing for a state football championship.
When I came to Tiffin to take this job in early summer, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the sports scene in the area. What followed was all-around, one of the most exciting total seasons I've ever been a part of.
It was more than five local football teams advancing to the playoffs. It seemed like nearly every sport had its own great story.
It all started in golf. I remember while putting together our Fall Sports Preview, our writer John Montgomery telling us about this really good freshman girl playing on Lakota's boys team this year. Then during the season we all found out how good Makayla Dull really was with the numbers she put up on the course, all culminating in a trip to state.
It's always a pleasure to cover an athlete who performs at such a high level. It's even a greater pleasure when that athlete proves to be just as good of a person off the field of play. Dull fits in that second category. For a freshman, she handled the spotlight exceptionally well and was very humble.
And aside from all that, after watching part of a practice round, I noticed her golf game put mine to shame. Although admittedly that's not the hardest thing to do.
Judging by her performance at the state tournament, a tie for 10th in Division II, we're going to hear quite a bit more from her over the next three years.
Also setting the groundwork for something special to come over the next few years was the Seneca East cross country team. With underclassmen all over the roster, the Tigers finished fifth at state with their top man, sophomore Jason Willman, finishing 13th.
All totaled in cross country, two full teams Seneca East and Hopewell-Loudon boys along with seven other local individual runners made their way to state.
On the same day they were all running at state, the Mohawk volleyball team made a run at history.
I had the pleasure to witness a team that had never previously win a district title, win one of the most exciting games I've ever seen in any sport, beating Norwalk St. Paul to advance to the state final four.
I've been fortunate to cover a few teams going to state over my career and each one has been special with Mohawk being no exception.
As journalists we're tought to be impartial in our coverage and not to cheer at games, but inside you find yourself rooting for the local team, especially when its on the verge of accomplishing something historic. So forgive me for cracking a little smile and inside saying "woo-hoo" when Sarah Parker put away the final kill to send the Warriors to state.
The curtain call on the fall season came during the football playoffs. Five local teams advanced to week 11, and the fun didn't stop there. Driving to-and-from work everyday I saw first hand the passion the people of Tiffin had for both Calvert and Columbian with store fronts decorated, cars decorated and good luck signs everwhere.
Columbian took its run all the way to the regional championship where it fell one quarter short against eventual state finalist Avon.
Surpassing even that was Buckeye Central.
It's one thing when schools like Marion Local or Delphos St. John's advance to state because it happens so often at those kind of schools. The passion and excitement of making it gets lost. Not so at Buckeye Central. Being on the field at Reynoldsburg when the Bucks won the regional title, or at Massillon when they clinched the trip to state was surreal. It was amazing to see how much the team's ride meant to the whole community. Players and fans alike. It's definitely an experience I won't soon be able to forget.
My colleagues here at the A-T have assured me that seasons like the one that just past don't happen. So many state qualifiers in so many sports is simply not the norm. Even if not, the fall of 2011 was a simply incredible few months.
Now the winter sports take their turn.