The Times-Gazette has selected its eighth class of Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame inductees. And they are – the 1928 Marshall High School state championship basketball team, Ed Ayres, Tom Purtell and Andy Richmond.
They will be honored during a dinner/banquet planned for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 22 at the Ponderosa Banquet Center in Hillsboro, where outstanding senior scholar-athletes from across the county will also be honored.
The 1928 Marshall basketball team is only team from Highland County to ever capture a high school team state championship. The Red Flashes won the 1926 Highland County Basketball Tournament, then in 1927 won the 36-team Athens Class “B” District Tournament and advanced to the eight-team state tournament, where they lost in the state semifinals to Kent State High School, the eventual champions. In 1928, Marshall became to first team to repeat as Class “B” district champions, then went on to win the state title.
Ayres, with help from Harry Roads, led Hillsboro to a runner-up finish at the 1909 Ohio Track and Field Championships – competing against the state’s largest schools. Ayres won the pole vault at 10-1, a record for both high school and college in Ohio at the time. He also won the high jump. Hillsboro finished second to Toledo Central. Ayres did not go on to play sports in college. Instead, he went to work at the W.R. Smith Drug Store, which later became the Ayres Drug Store. The pestle and mortar that was in front of the business in those days still stands there today in the 100 block of East Main Street in Hillsboro.
Purtell played baseball and basketball at Fairfield High School in the late 1960s, but is better known for his later contributions to Leesburg athletics that continue today. He started coaching youth baseball in 1968. He still is an assistant softball coach at Fairfield and Wilmington College, and runs the youth softball and baseball programs in Leesburg. He has coached summer traveling softball teams, organizes youth basketball for boys and girls in grades 4-6 in Leesburg, and has been doing so since the late 1970s, is active in the Lions Athletic Boosters scheduling concession stand workers, and keeps the clock at basketball games. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Richmond played three-plus years of varsity basketball at Lynchburg-Clay where set the school’s all-time scoring record with 1,361 points. That record has since been broken by Paul Cluxton (a 2011 Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame inductee). But Richmond still ranks second on the school scoring list and is still its all-time career rebounding record holder with 940. He also participated in cross country, track, baseball and volleyball. He went on to play basketball at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla.
More in-depth features on the inductees will appear in The Times-Gazette the week before the banquet.
The Times-Gazette is still seeking nominations from varsity coaches in the county for the 2017 Times-Gazette Scholar-Athlete Award. The deadline to submit nominations is June 11.
Each varsity coach in the county can nominate one senior from each team they coached. The scholar-athletes must have lettered in at least one varsity sport, or cheerleading, their senior year, have a cumulative 3.0 grade point average, and community service is also considered.
All the nominees will be recognized at the banquet and the overall winner will receive a $200 scholarship.
Nominations forms are available at The Times-Gazette, 108 Gov. Trimble Place, Hillsboro, or from each school’s athletic director. They should be returned to the same address or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The scholar-athletes, coaches who nominated them, and hall of fame inductees will be guests of The Times-Gazette at the banquet. Tickets can be reserved by anyone else by calling 937-402-2522.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.