By Andy Amey
TERRE HAUTE — Let me be the first to say that I should have been on this bandwagon a lot sooner; 15 years ago or so, in fact.
Considering what I do for a living, I could have been a lot more vocal and enthusiastic when the decision was made back then to offer athletic scholarships at St. Mary-of-the-Woods. I wasn’t opposed to the idea, and calling me skeptical would have even been a little too strong. But I guess I just kind of shrugged and said, “Oh well.” So long as it didn’t affect Sunday brunch, I was OK with it.
Now the Pomeroys have just competed for two national championships within a week, winning one with a team that’s not even a year old yet. When I first talked to Danelle Readinger about SMWC cross country — that would be the time she said her team was going to be a national championship contender — I was polite as I could be, but the phrase “blowing smoke” was going through my mind at the time. Now she’s got one of the big gold medals (I hope they give medals in the USCAA), and Mike Aycock and his soccer players have silver ones.
But that’s not the cool part for me.
I was talking to Danelle in the first place because two of my friends from Northview, Allie True and C.J. Barnett, were joining her team. Mike’s soccer team knocked off the defending national champions Friday afternoon because Terre Haute North’s Erin Pugh took it upon herself to beat two defenders single-handedly, and how many times had I watched that happen?
I’m not as thrilled by the national championships, in other words, as I am in seeing some of the athletes I’ve gotten to know over the years have more opportunities to compete, have fun and get some help in getting an education (although I do expect Steve Higham’s golfers to break par in every match). That’s the reason I’ve been smiling this week.
You go, Pomeroys.
• Football success story — Vigo Youth Football League had the sixth-grade champion recently at the Central Indiana Border Wars, the largest youth football tournament in the state.
In a competition that featured 23 leagues, 93 teams and more than 1,600 players, the Terre Haute Thunder — which included players from all six of the middle school districts — went 5-0, beating Carmel 24-0 in the championship game after previous wins over New Palestine (twice), Plainfield and Center Grove.
I’m told the team was known for its hard hitting, and its defense allowed just two touchdowns in five games.
Team members are Travis Adams, Orville Anderson, Kameron Bell, Blake Bridges, Josh Coffey, T.J. Collett, Matt Deady, Logan Grim, Nathan Higbie, Justin Jenkins, Dante Johnson, K.J. Johnson, Kyle Lawrence, Stephan Massey, Sid Mustin, Nicky Pesavento, Braxton Poore, Terry Rooksberry, Keshaun Sandifer, A.J. Smith, E.J. Weatherspoon and Drake Worrell. Scooter Grim was head coach, assisted by John Collett, Mark Deady, Brock Hudson and Pete Johnson.
• Volleyball officiating news — Larry Higgins of the Wabash Valley Officials Association was one of the referees during Class 3A state finals competition last weekend.
Another official with plenty of local ties, Jill Wier of Plainville, was recognized that day as the Official of the Year for volleyball. I’m pretty sure Jill had the West Vigo Sectional a few weeks ago; you may also know her as the former Jill Gerber of Clay City, or you may know her through her husband Gary, a well known basketball official. Way to go, Jill, and congratulations Larry.
• Shakamak’s Witt in national championship meet — Anthony Witt, a sophomore from Shakamak, placed seventh individually in helping Grand Valley State dominate the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional on Saturday.
GVSU will compete for the national championship Nov. 21 at Evansville.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.