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In a rare venture into the high school coaching ranks, Miami University's "Cradle of Coaches" selected retired GMC/Lakota/Lakota East Head CC and Track Coach, Jason Lindsey, for induction to the 2016 edition of this prestigious collection of Miami greats. After an outstanding intercollegiate running career at Miami University, Lindsey turned his talents to developing runners at the high school level for Lakota Schools.

Coach Lindsey coached two OHSAA State championship teams and is the only Lakota coach to have two State championships to his credit. His 1983 boys cross country team brought home the Lakota's first State championship, and his 1984 girls cross country team captured the district's first OHSAA State championship in girls sports.

He also coached athletes who won nine State individual championships, a number unmatched by any other Lakota coach. These individual championship winners were in both boys and girls cross country, as well as boys and girls track and field.

His teams won conference championships for both boys and girls, in both cross country and track and field, at both Lakota and Lakota East, in both the Mid Miami League and the Greater Miami Conference. The first came in girls cross country in the Mid Miami League in 1978 and ending with girls cross country in the GMC in 2002. These championships were won over four decades (the 70's, 80's, 90's and 2000's). The teams he coaches brought home the remarkable total of 32 Conference championships, a total unlikely to ever be matched.

Long recognized for his achievements by his coaching peers, his previous honors have included his being inducted into the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame, Class of 1997. He's achieved innumerable Coach of the Year honors bestowed at the league, county, and state levels.

He coached for 30 years plus one season. In that span he coached or was co-coach for 120 teams, the first being freshman football in his first year at Lakota. Considering the squad sizes of the sports coached he has in all probability coached more Lakota athletes than anyone in district history.

As the Cincinnati Enquirer recognized its spring sport outstanding performers, the Greater Miami Conference found itself in a familiar position of placing a large number of athletes and coaches on the all-city teams in each of the GMC sponsored spring sports.

Outstanding performers were highlighted by the selection of the following athletes and coaches:

Baseball   Co-Players of the Year - Cory Heffron (Colerain) and Nick Northcut (Mason)

Softball     Co-Player of the Year - Elena Harrison (Mason) and Coach of the Year - Liann Muff (Mason)

Boys Tennis   Player of the Year - Alex Taylor (Sycamore) and Coach of the Year - Mike Teets (Sycamore)

Boys Track     Coach of the Year - Hank Ray (Sycamore)    

Numerous GMC athletes were additionally selected on the Enquirer's All-City teams and they are available through:         http://www.cincinnati.com/sports/oh-high-school/       

Impact of High School Softball Pitching Distance - submitted by Lakota West Sports Information Director, Bob Ashby

 

The softball pitching distance was increased from 40 feet to 43 feet starting with the 2011 season.  The purpose of this National Federation of High School Softball rule change as stated by Mary Struckhoff is given below.

 

''Our main thrust is getting the defense more involved,'' NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee Mary Struckhoff recently told the Associated Press. ''When more balls are hit into play, the defense is more involved in the game, thus enhancing skill development.''

 

Now after six years of play at the new distance it appears that the change has accomplished its purpose.  Lakota West Co-Sports Information Director and Sports Statistician Bob Ashby has taken a look at the cumulative GMC statistics  for the last twelve years comparing the six seasons (2005-2010) before the pitching distance increase to the six seasons (2011-2016) following the change.

 

Ashby's findings are as follows.

 

The league six year batting averages went up from .241 (2005-2010) to .282 (2011-2016).  The low average for a single season was .219 in 2006 with the highest average of .314 occurring in 2014.

 

The number of strike outs over the same periods  has fallen from 1766 to 1340 per year. That's a drop of 24% in the most recent six years when compared to the previous six years.  The single season high was 2028 K's in 2006 as compared to the low mark of 1049 in 2015.  

 

The most dramatic change has occurred in the number of home runs hit.  The average home run count for the past six seasons has been 78 per year, up from 36.3 for the previous six years.

The low home run count in this 12 season span was 25 in 2005 and the high number has been 92 round trippers in the season just concluded.

 

While there are other factors that may be effecting these stats, i.e.; more strength and weight training, improved bat technology, increased player specialization, some change in league composition (Mason replaced Milford in 2008) it appears safe to say that pitching distance is most probably the major factor.

Colerain senior quarterback Deshaunte Jones lead the Cardinals to a 2016 Division I state semi-finalist berth with a 12-2 record. As a senior, he rushed for 1,860 yards, 29 touchdowns while passing for 785 yards and 9 touchdowns. During his Cardinal career, the Ohio Mr. Football finalist accounted for more than 5,000 total yards and 74 touchdowns.  Honors earned while under center for the Cards included...GMC Offensive Player of the Year, AP Southwest District Player of the Year and first team all-state.  Earning a full scholarship, Deshaunte will take his football talents to Iowa State this fall.

Article contributed by Mike Dyer.

Mason / Pitt standout right hand pitcher, TJ Zuech, was selected in the first round of the MLB draft by the Toronto Bluejays. The 6'7" Zuech was taken with the 21st pick overall. Touting a 97 MPH fastball, Zuech was 6-1 this past season for Pitt with a 3.10 ERA. An All-ACC performer, TJ was the highest draft pick in Pitt baseball history. Congratulations on a job well done and best wishes for an outstanding professional career. GMC proud of TJ Zuech!

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