Champions, some stats, and some likely aches and pains

Shots in the Darke

804

Jim Harbaugh will most likely (in my humble opinion) ride off into the sunset and
professional football after leading his alma mater to its first national championship since 1997 in defeating Washington’s Huskies in the FBS title game. Michigan or Meeshigan or That Team Up North or anything else some would call them dominated the last of the PAC-12 titleholders Monday night (most people in the Eastern Time Zone appreciated the fairly early start time) in impressive fashion.

Piling up 209 yards rushing in the first half (Donovan Edwards looked like he did against
THE in the second half of last year’s GAME) the Maize and Blue seemed to make the outcome a foregone conclusion even though the Huskies only trailed by a touchdown in the fourth quarter. So, though many will hate to hear it, “Hail! To the victors valiant, Hail! To the conquering heroes, Hail! Hail! To Michigan, The champions of the West”.

Haven’t had the opportunity to recognize area high school wrestling and bowling teams as
they enter the heart of this year’s seasons so let’s take a look at where things stand. In the
Midwest Athletic Conference Coldwater’s boys bowling team leads the standings with four
keglers averaging between 225 and 208, paced by Caleb Wendel and backed by Carter Bertke, Nick Wehrman, and Drew Eyink. In girls action, Fort Recovery and Versailles set the pace with Brittany Burden of Coldwater the top individual with a 178 average followed closely by Danielle Francis of Versailles and Marina Nelson of New Bremen.

In the Miami Valley League on the boys side of the ledger Troy, Butler, and Sidney have
separated from the pack with the Trojans’ Brian Massingill averaging a 214 and Christopher
Welch of Butler at 207 while Greenville has been led by Alex Hadden at 192 and Luke Kiser and Conner Leas at 178. In girls play, the Troy, Piqua, and Butler squads have excelled as Troy’s Baylie Massingill (evidently those Massingills have found the groove!) averages 209 and teammate Kiandra Smith a 203. Greenville’s Lady Wave are paced by sophomore Marissa Boney with a high game of 205 and a 145 average.

On the mat in the MVL, some of the better grapplers thus far include Butler’s Jadon Gyan
(21-5 at 120 pounds) and Yhantg Irwin (18-3 at 126); Piqua’s Nikolai Kaye (19-4 at 132), Max Kaye (20-4 at 144), and Gavin Nelson (17-3 at 150); and two heavyweights at 285 in Elijah Biddle of Sidney (10-0) and Andrew Winner of Greenville (10-2) who are on a collision course for the league tournament later this season.

Anybody paying any attention to the NBA at the present time? The Celtics seem to be the
class of the Eastern Conference while the surprising Minnesota Timberwolves lead the
powerful Western with Oklahoma City, defending champion Denver, and the LA Clippers (no, not the Lakers!) close behind. Most of us will start paying attention after the NCAA tournament is over the first week of April and before the baseball season gets into full swing (first day of spring training is only six weeks or so away!).

UD’s mens basketball team looks to be the favorite in the Atlantic-10 this year—the Flyers
have played well in non-conference action and gotten off to a good start in league play. Across town Wright State’s Raiders have struggled defensively while putting up impressive offensive stats. Scott Nagy’s team is picked to finish in the top third of the Horizon League but must stop somebody sometime at the defensive end of the court on those nights when the offense is out of kilter.

Here’s an update on two local freshmen hoopsters playing D-I college ball this winter. Tri-
Village’s Rylee Sagester is being red-shirted this campaign as the Lady Raiders of Wright State have an abundance of veteran backcourt players. Coldwater’s 6’4” Riley Rismiller has seen action in 14 games while starting the latest contest for the Lady Flyers of Dayton, averaging over 5 points and 4 rebounds per game. Also, Tri-Village grad Morgan Hunt is averaging 16 minutes per game as a freshman with 3.4 ppg to go along with 2.6 rpg for D-II Thomas More, located in Crestview Hills, Kentucky outside of Cincinnati.

Another former Lady Patriot, sophomore Meghan Downing is playing for D-I East Tennessee
State this year. Meghan, a 6’2” forward, just made her first start for the 11-4 Lady Buccaneers of the Southern Conference and had a double-double with 12 rebounds and 10 points. Any wonder why Tri-Village girls basketball has been so dominant the past few years?

Tough loss for Ohio State to the Hoosiers of Indiana the other night in Bloomington. The
men’s Big Ten season will be as tough as usual, a dogfight practically every night. The
athleticism and skills of major college players constantly amazes me! Speaking of amazing,
the Lady Hawkeyes of Iowa, last year’s NCAA runner-ups, are led by one of the great female players of all-time in Caitlin Clark, a 6-foot point guard. Clark could declare for the WNBA draft following this season but has the option to return to Iowa City for one more year. According to sources, she’s making a minimum of $770,000 in NIL money this year and will likely make much more next year if she returns—it could possibly be a substantial pay cut should she opt to go professional!!

Some interesting matchups as the NFL playoffs kick off this weekend—the Browns travel to
Houston for a wildcard rematch of a few weeks ago won by Cleveland (however, CJ Stroud
didn’t play for the Texans due to injury) while the Rams travel to Detroit to take on a strong Lions squad as former Lions QB Matthew Stafford and former Rams QB Jared Goff have switched teams. Expect the usual upsets and close contests along with the occasional
blowout as the path to the Super Bowl begins!!

I’ve noticed an increase in activity at both SNAP Fitness and the YMCA the past week as
those New Year’s Resolutions kick in—here’s hoping everyone keeps going through the aches and pains that are sure to arise; it will be worth it in the long run!!