Basketball is most certainly my favorite sport. For the past 10 seasons, I have gratefully served as the announcer for the high school girls basketball program at Cardington-Lincoln High School. I have had the opportunity to see first-hand some of the greatest teams within the sport’s second lifetime. Prior to being resurrected in 1974, girls basketball was active until 1939 at then-Cardington High School prior to ending before Title IX protections were enacted in the early 1970s.

Bill Clauss, the inaugural coach for the first team in the 1974-75 season, arrived back in Cardington after a season of minor league baseball and was told he would become the team’s leader. While his first two seasons at the helm were a struggle, Clauss and his players won three straight Mid-Ohio Conference championships from 1977-79. Sue Klingel was honored as the UPI State Player of the Year for Cardington’s division capping off her high school basketball career and becoming one of the first female athletes enshrined in the Cardington-Lincoln Athletic Hall of Fame.

Clauss retired from coaching the girls basketball program after three more seasons where the likes of Joetta Miller, Sam Gantz, Carroll Cooley, and Terry Pearl would succeed him until Barry Dutt was chosen as the varsity coach in the mid-1990s. Dutt oversaw the most success since Clauss by leading the teams during his tenure to multiple district championship game appearances. Once Dutt decided to retire after the 2008-09 season, Jodi Brown became the first former player to take over as head coach. Brown, in her last season, broke the dry streak of conference championships of 36 years by her team winning Cardington’s first ever MOAC championship since the league’s inception.

Brown left her post after accepting a teaching position at Westerville City Schools, and Cardington alumnus and native Jamie Edwards was hired on. Edwards’ team built on Brown’s success in her final season by going to win seven consecutive conference championships (two MOAC and five KMAC) and appeared in five district championship games, winning one which was the program’s first ever district title in its 46 seasons of modern existence. After Edwards left, his assistant coach, Kevin Fitzpatrick, was elevated to the head coaching job and is in his second year with his teams continuing the competitive nature of girls basketball at Cardington-Lincoln.

Several players have been inducted into the Cardington-Lincoln Athletic Hall of Fame such as Sue Klingel, Stephanie (Crissinger) Rose, Jenni (Davis) Gardner, Susan Adams, Jackie (Mories) Lancaster, Sage Brannon, Kyndall Spires and Casey Bertke. Those last six being 1,000-point career scorers with Bertke and Lancaster being the top two scorers in program history. Other impactful athletes such Carol (Mories) Brannon, Cindy (Schumaker) Weston, Jodi (Wallace) Snyder, Amy Berkshire, Jodi Brown, Amy Clauss, Liz Gliem, Caitlin Thomas, Kianna Sedlacek, Clarisa Lyons, and so many others who may not be enshrined in the hall of fame were exceptional leaders that guided their teams to victory.

I have witnessed some of the greatest athletes that have not only played girls basketball, but some of the greatest athletes in Cardington-Lincoln High School sports history from sitting at the scorer’s table the last decade. Thank you to Bill Clauss, then-athletic director, for the original opportunity to call games and be a part of the engine that keeps the train chugging down the track at gametime. The success of this program for the past 50 years will foreshadow its future triumphs as I hope to see it turn 100 in my lifetime.

Looking Back:

• 90 years ago, December 1933: Pauline (Bean) Linscott appeared in the play, “Two Masters,” in a leading role at the Westgate Evangelical Church church of Columbus. New officers were elected for the Cardington Athletic Association: Howard Margot, president; Leona Conaway, vice president; Ralph Lowther, treasurer; Roselyn Kelly, secretary.

• 80 years ago, December 1943: The Christmas operetta called “Merry Christmas to the World” was performed in the school’s auditorium on December 23rd starring Janice Hall, Wayne Mateer, Harry Mosher, Doris Smith, Carl Barry, and Kenny Heimlich. Mrs. George Ruehrmund was elected President of Windfall League of St. John Lutheran Church.

• 70 years ago, December 1953: Norman and Loretta (Foster) Irons were bonded in marriage together at St. Matthews Catholic Church. Evelyn (Fricke) Long played a handful of piano selections for the ceremony. Don Kelley, Cardington alumnus, scored a basket in Ohio State’s basketball game, but suffered from an ankle injury. Bill Maxwell, another Cardington alumnus, scored 14 points for his Ashland College team that was defeated in their contest.

• 60 years ago, December 1963: John Kachilla, Cardington boys basketball coach, held a father-son clinic on December 9th. Lloyd Ruehrmund led the men’s bowling league with a high single game of 214 and a high series of 561 pins. Students Dick Carsner, Stan Heacock, Margo Lamson, Gus Peyton, and Anna Graham were featured in the Cardington Music Festival performed at the high school’s auditorium.