The time has come to announce The Times-Gazette’s 2019 Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame inductees. And the inductees are — Paul Orr, Jake Spruell and Joe B. Stewart.
The inductees will be honored at a dinner/banquet at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 13 at the Ponderosa Banquet Center in Hillsboro, where 55 Highland County senior student-athletes will also be honored.
Following are brief bios on each of this year’s hall of fame inductees:
Orr is a 1941 graduate of McClain High School, where he was a three-sport standout. After serving in World War II he started his coaching career at Hamilton Township High School (1947-54) and is a member of the Hamilton Township Athletic Hall of Fame. He returned to McClain as football coach in 1954 and his teams won South Central Ohio League titles in 1954, 1957, 1958 and 1959, when he resigned as coach. He was also head football coach at McClain from 1966-70 and was an assistant on the McClain football staff in 1984.
Spruell is a 1997 graduate of Hillsboro High School. He was a standout football player and wrestler, placing sixth in the state wrestling meet as a senior and was an all-conference and all-district selection in football. After high school he played football at Fairmont State in West Virginia and became an all-conference middle linebacker there. Following college he came back to Hillsboro and was an assistant football and wrestling coach.
Stewart is 1975 graduate of McClain High School. He was a point guard on a McClain basketball team that reached the regional tournament finals his senior year, then started helping Sam Snyder coach at McClain the following year. He began his head coaching career in 1982 and has more than 300 victories. Over the years he has coached at Hillsboro, Chillicothe, Miami Trace, Madison-Plains, Piketon and Edgewood. A year ago he returned to his alma mater as basketball coach, and after the program struggled through several losing seasons, led the Tigers to a 15-8 record. He has been named Southeast District Coach of the Year at four different high schools and in 1989 was named the Associated Press Ohio Div. II Coach of the Year.
The June 13 dinner/banquet is open to the public. The student-athletes, the coaches that nominated them and the hall of fame inductees will be the guests of The Times-Gazette. Tickets for everyone else are $16 each. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Jeff Gilliland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-402-2522.
The 55 senior student-athletes, nominated by their varsity coaches, must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and have lettered in at least one varsity sport their senior year. The list of nominees follows:
From Hillsboro — Kenzie Adams, Sydney Bobbitt, Dylan Boone, Deon Burns, Lane Cluff, Quinn Conlon, Logan Crafton, Kailey Dietrick, Lana Grover, Andrew Gunderman, Johanna Holt, Kristin Jamieson, Bailey Lucarello, Molly McCreary, Callan Myers, Brendon Ormes, Brennen Priest, Brian Shanahan, Ethan Watson, Jordan Williamson and Olivia Wilson.
From McClain — Macie Adams, Eric Anderson, Ethan Cockerill, Kenzie Hester, Evan Hutchinson, Bryn Karnes, Elizabeth Kegley, Erika Martin, Trevor Newkirk, Reece Schluep, Maddy Stegbauer, Noah Tillis and Kelli Uhrig.
From Whiteoak — Katie Ames, Jacob Campbell, Atlee Carr, Traeton Hamilton, Macy Jo Knoblauch, Hunter Morgan, Hailey Monteith, Ryan Roberts and Gabrielle Tebo.
From Fairfield — Brianna Barnes, Sam Buddlemeyer, Brandston Duffie, Megan Gragg, Zach Ison, Samantha Shepherd and Kaitlin White.
From Lynchburg-Clay — Samantha Kirby, Drew Pitzer, Peyton Scott and Tyler Stevens.
From Hillsboro Christian Academy — Hope Wyckoff.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.