BY YANEEK SMITH
The 2021-22 school year featured great teams and individual accomplishments, most notably the Port Clinton football team and the Oak Harbor softball teams advancing to the Final Four.
The following is a list of the top 15 sports stories of the school year.
Port Clinton beats defending state champion Van Wert to win regional football title.
Before 2021, Port Clinton had won two playoff games in school history. This season, the Redskins won four games in the postseason and claimed the first regional championship in program history with a 49-21 win over defending Division IV state champion Van Wert.
Port Clinton running back Garrett Cornell rushed 30 times for 206 yards and two touchdowns and defensive back Cashes Jackson finished with four pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble and a touchdown pass off a trick play.
Quarterback Cam Gillum completed 12-of-21 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown and an interception and rushed 16 times for 57 yards and his three scores. Josh Hurst had seven catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns and Tyler Webb finished with four catches for 80 yards.
Port Clinton’s season ended with a 34-15 loss to Youngstown St. Ursuline in the state semifinals, but it couldn’t spoil the most successful season in school history.
Four players earned all-Ohio honors in Div. IV for the ‘Skins — Hurst, who was the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division Player of the Year, was named to the first team as a wide receiver; Webb was named to the first team as a defensive back; Gillum was named to the second team for his efforts; and Ethan Ranzenberger earned honorable-mention status for his efforts on the offensive line.
Oak Harbor wins first regional softball championship
Oak Harbor had two district titles under its belt heading into the 2022 season, but a regional championship had eluded them. The Rockets came close five years ago when it lost, 2-0, to LaGrange Keystone, in the Division II regional finals, and they fell again to the Wildcats one year later, 4-1, in the regional semifinals.
After having a bad taste in its mouth due to a loss to Wauseon last year in the district finals, Oak Harbor was on a mission to win its third district championship, which it did, defeating the Indians, 10-3, in the finals.
But the most exciting game came in the regional final against Lexington, a game the Rockets won 5-4.
The Rockets led 3-0 after two innings and scored two runs in the sixth to push the lead to five, only to see the Lady Lex score two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to cut the deficit to one run.
But Reagan Schultz induced Eyan Underwood into hitting a groundout back to herself to end the game with the tying run on second.
Periat finishes second in Division II in the 50 free
Periat nearly won the state championship in the 50 freestyle, finishing in 23.68 seconds, just 0.44 behind Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown’s Taplin Seelbach. Periat also finished 11th in the 100 butterfly in 57.64 and was part of two relay teams that finished in the top 10. (Periat finished 10th in the 50 free and the 100 fly last year.)
The Redskins scored 70 points, just 0.5 behind Oak Harbor, which came in 12th. Gates Mills Hawken won with 269.5 points, followed by Hathaway Brown and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
The 200 medley relay team of Periat, Gabbi Porter, Alexa Taylor and Carlie Blaesing finished eighth in 1:49.01, good enough to reach the podium, and the 200 free relay team of the same quartet took 10th in 1:39.86.
And Brigitte Schroeder had a great showing in the diving competition, finishing eighth with 380.65 points. (She was 12th in Div. II last year.)
Ryann Steinbrick reaches 1,000 points in basketball
After suffering a torn ACL and missing her sophomore season, Oak Harbor’s Ryann Steinbrick wasn’t even sure when she’d return to the court.
Steinbrick not only returned, but solidified her spot in Rocket history as she scored her 1,000th career point in an 18-point performance in Huron’s 68-50 win over Oak Harbor on Dec. 5.
She will go down in history with some of the other Rocket greats like Andrea Cecil, Jan Harvey and Sophia Eli. Steinbrick is the seventh Rocket to reach 1,000 points. She also scored 38 points, the second-highest scoring output for a game for anyone in program history behind Cecil, and made 20 free throws in a 59-48 win over Fostoria and scored 35 points in a 54-53 win over rival Port Clinton.
Steinbrick earned honorable-mention distinction in Division II for her efforts.
Cade Petersen places 5th at state wrestling tournament
After losing his first match in the Division III state tournament, Cade Petersen could have panicked.
Instead, the Oak Harbor senior rebounded and won three consecutive matches and four out of the next five to earn a fifth-place finish at 144 pounds.
Petersen lost to Barnesville’s Ayden King by fall in 3:22 in the first round. He then defeated South Range’s Jacob Richardson, 5-2, Mohawk’s Jace Margraf, 3-1, and Monroeville’s Hunter Vogus, 3-1. Petersen then lost, 7-2, via sudden victory to Wayne Trace’s Jarrett Hornish before recovering to beat the No. 1 seed, Smithville’s Michael Harris, 3-1, to place fifth, handing him just his third loss of the season.
Petersen finished eighth at 145 in Div. III last year.
As a team, the Rockets finished 50th with 10 points.
Junior Owen Miller (138) won his first match in close fashion, defeating Pleasant’s Anwar Ali, 5-3, in the first round before losing to Legacy Christian’s Camron Lacure, the eventual-state champion, 14-7, in the quarterfinals. Miller then lost by fall in 4:22 to Tuslaw’s Zach Lyons, coming up just one match short of reaching the podium.
Oak Harbor 4×100 relay team finishes second in Division II
With one individual reaching the podium and two relay teams placing, the Oak Harbor boys track and field team finished 16th in Division II with 14 points.
The 4×100 meter relay team of Hayden Buhro, Isiah Miller, Jaqui Hayward and Hayden Hower finished second in 42.15 seconds and broke the school record while the 4×200 quartet of Power, Buhro, Owen Miller and Judson Overmyer took eighth in 1:29.39.
Isiah Miller reached the podium after finishing fourth in the 300 hurdles in 39.05. Last year, he was seventh in the event at state. Owen Miller finished 10th in the 400 in 50.72 and Buhro, like Miller, just missed out on qualifying for the finals in the 100 and the 200. He ran a 10.93 in the 100, good for 13th, which is second in school history to Cole Weirich, who was an All-American at John Carroll Univ., and finished at 22.35 in the 200 in 15th, also second in school history to Rocket great Marc Kremer.
Hannah Schulte scores her 100th career goal
Hannah Schulte finished her career as one of the most decorated players in Oak Harbor soccer history.
The senior finished with 103 career goals, just four short of the record held by Erica Lipstraw. Had Schulte not missed the latter part of her junior season with a knee injury, she might’ve broken the record.
For her efforts, Schulte earned second-team honors in Division II and was also named the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division’s Player of the Year.
Her 100th goal came as part of a hat trick in the Rockets’ 12-0 win over Tiffin Columbian in a sectional final. Schulte also helped Oak Harbor win its fourth district championship just a week later by scoring a goal in the Rockets’ 2-1 win over Wauseon.
Grayson Clark places 19th in Division III
Grayson Clark had already secured his place as being one of, if not the greatest golfers in Danbury history. His performance at the Division III state tournament only added to his list of accolades.
The senior is the only golfer in school history to qualify for the state tournament, and recently finished tied for 19th out of 72 golfers. He shot a +21 on 36 holes, a 75 followed by an 88 for a total of 163 strokes at The Ohio State University Scarlet Course.
At districts, Clark finished third with a 70 to finish third at Stone Ridge Golf Club in Bowling Green.
Earlier in the season, Clark was the medalist at the Ottawa County Meet and the Clyde Invitational and was a four-time MVP on the team.
Rocket swimmers finish 12th in Division II
Behind two individual placers and a relay team that reached the podium, Oak Harbor finished 12th in Division II with 70.5 points.
Skyler Turner took sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.84) while Alyse Sorg was 11th in the 100 backstroke (59.57).
The duo teamed up with Amelia Mizelle and Paige Krupp to finish fifth in the 200 free relay in 1:38.78 and seventh in the 200 medley relay in 1:48.98.
It followed up the most successful season in program history, one that saw the Rockets finish fifth in Div. II and win its first district championship.
Jackie Gezo earns 100th career victory at Oak Harbor
A district title, a league championship, an undefeated regular season, four sectional titles and some marquee victories over state power Huron.
Add 100 victories to her Oak Harbor volleyball coach Jackie Gezo’s resume.
Now in her seventh season leading the program, she notched her 100th win after the Rockets defeated Woodmore, 3-1, on Sept. 2.
Gezo, a 1983 Oak Harbor graduate, has coached within the program for 16 years — ranging from the JV coach to the freshman coach and coaching both grades in the junior high — before taking the varsity job. She credits her players from the Class of 2018, which consisted of Peyton Bloomer, one of the most storied players in team history who is competing on the volleyball team at Cleveland State University, Logan Harris, Kaytlynn Sandwisch, Alayna Hetrick and Jill Thorbahn, who she led as the eighth-grade coach in ’14, with talking her into taking over for Megan Maguire.
Reagan Schultz sets 3 school records in volleyball
As a freshman, Oak Harbor’s Reagan Schultz got to learn from the likes of Peyton Bloomer, Logan Harris and Kaytlynn Sandwisch as the Rockets won just their second district title in program history.
Now she holds three school records.
Schultz is the only player in school history to register 1,000 digs. She also holds the record for digs in a season (394) and assists in a game (58).
Schultz’s best sport is actually softball. She was named to the first team in Division II and led the Rockets to their first regional championship. Schultz will continue her softball career at Kent State University.
Oak Harbor girls soccer team wins district title on late goal by Remi Gregory
In a hard-fought match where the littlest of things could make the difference, Remi Gregory recovered a loose ball in front of the net to score with 17 seconds remaining to lead Oak Harbor to a 2-1 win over Wauseon in a Division II district championship.
With seconds remaining, the Rockets got a shot on goal that was saved by Indians goalkeeper Madison Strain. Hannah Schulte, who was about five feet from the goal, couldn’t quite control the ball off the save, but Gregory got the rebound and scored, sending Oak Harbor into a frenzy.
It was the fourth district title for the Rockets.
Port Clinton softball team’s Cinderella run falls just short in district finals
Despite leading by two runs on two separate occasions and being one out from victory, Port Clinton was unable to win its Division II district semifinal matchup with Wauseon.
The Indians got the win as Olivia Gigax hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning of Wauseon’s 6-4 win over the Redskins.
Wauseon had to rally just to tie the game on two separate occasions to send it into extra innings, coming back from deficits of 2-0 and 4-2, respectively.
Port Clinton, the No. 9 team in the district, won a sectional title by beating Perkins in the semifinals and rallying to defeat Clyde, which was seeded third, 5-4.
In the win over the Fliers, Alliyah Wharton came up big, driving in two runs in the top of the seventh inning.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Kenzie Martinez was hit by a pitch and Kennedy Adkins laid down a bunt that ended with her being safe at first base and Martinez advancing to third. Adkins stole second and, facing an 0-2 count, lined a single through the left side of the infield to score two runs and account for the final runs of the game.
Beau Carmon steps down as Port Clinton football coach
Following the best season in school history, Port Clinton football coach Beau Carmon decided to step away from coaching.
The Redskins won the first regional title in program history by defeating the reigning state champion Van Wert, 49-21, in a Division IV regional final.
Port Clinton’s run would end in the state semifinals to Youngstown Ursuline as the ‘Skins lost, 34-15.
The 41-year-old coach, who had led the Redskins for the last nine seasons, accumulated a 57-41 record, good for a winning percentage of .582, the best in program history, even better than legendary coach Joe Lukac.
Dick Heller retires after 44 seasons coaching basketball
After 44 seasons, Danbury girls basketball coach Dick Heller retired.
Heller, who was an assistant at New Riegel before coaching the Lakers for the past five seasons, was a head coach for a total of 27 years. He was the head coach at Oak Harbor for 10 years and worked there as an assistant for two years before that. Heller also coached at Lakota for 24 years, 12 of them as the head coach. He notched 337 victories, including 47 with Danbury.
Heller’s teams won five league titles, two with the Rockets in the Sandusky Bay Conference, and three with the Raiders in the old Suburban Lakes League. He also oversaw Oak Harbor winning 46 consecutive regular-season games from 2002-04.