Winning a state championship, at any level, is a special accomplishment.
However, when a person obtains a state title at the highest level — despite only being of freshman eligibility — that accomplishment becomes all the more special.
In one of the best 100-yard breaststroke fields in recent memory, Hannah Bailey, who attends Dublin Coffman High School and has ties to the Portsmouth area, used a time of 1:01.76 to grab a Division I State Championship at the 2017 OHSAA Swimming and Diving State Tournaments in the C.T. Branin Natatorium up in Canton from Feb. 22 through Feb. 25.
For Bailey, the freshman was thrilled to obtain the state title against many of the premier swimming talents in the state from a swimming standpoint.
“I was just so happy,” Bailey told the Dublin Villager at the time of winning her state title. It was my best time, by far. I wanted to win, but I didn’t think that it would actually happen at all. I was feeling great. It felt awesome. I worked especially hard on my last 25 (yards) because normally, those aren’t my best.”
Bailey, who finished fourth in the Central District’s meeting at The Ohio State University just a week prior, edged each of her central district competitors en route to putting four central district swimmers in the top eight.
Bailey’s performance in the 100-yard breaststroke was so good, in fact, that the freshman was able to take down the reigning state champion, Hanna Gresser, in the 100-yard breaststroke last season. Gresser, who attends Walsh Jesuit High School up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, set the state record in the same event last season.
“Oh, my, gosh,” Bailey told the Columbus Dispatch. “Going into it, I was super excited to race against these wonderful athletes. I visualized my race, and then I thought about finishing my last lap strong. I was conscious of where I was on the last turn. I knew I had to get to the wall first.”
In addition to her performances in the 100-yard breaststroke, Bailey also obtained a third-place finish in the 100 yard butterfly by obtaining a mark of 55 seconds flat to place as a medalist in that event. Bailey then teamed with fellow Dublin Coffman hands Marissa Kruse, Eeshaa Mehta, and Kristyn Sabol to obtain an 18th place showing in the 200 yard freestyle, with Bailey, Kruse, Sabol, and Grace O’Banion using a time of 3:40.16 to obtain a 24th-place showing in the 400 yard freestyle.
As a result of the efforts made by Dublin Coffman, the unit, spearheaded by Bailey, obtained a 17th place finish out of 53 teams that participated in the meet — a motivating factor that will have Bailey gunning for top honors starting with the 2018 season on forward.
“I’m just going to keep working hard,” Bailey told the Villager. “This season was great, and I’m going to keep it up for next season.”
Hannah is the daughter of Molly and Andy Bailey of Dublin, Ohio, and is a granddaughter of Jack and Mary Alice Bailey of Portsmouth.
BEARS MAKE HIRING OFFICIAL, BRING STURGILL IN
The Shawnee State athletic program made the hiring of Hall of Famer Bryan Sturgell official on Friday afternoon, as the McDermott native will become the first head coach of the SSU bowling program, which is scheduled to begin competition in the 2017-18 season.
Sturgell was formerly the head golf coach at Northwest High School from 2006-2013, where he earned the 2008 Southern Ohio Conference Golf Coach of the Year award. Sturgell also spent one season coaching junior high boys’ basketball at Northwest in 2009.
Sturgell has a long history with bowling, having rolled 60 career 300 games and over 30 800 series. Sturgell was the president of the Portsmouth Men’s Bowling Association from 2013 to 2017, and is widely considered one of the most influential members of the bowling community in Portsmouth. Sturgell was named to the Portsmouth Men’s Bowling Hall of Fame in 2016.
During his time as golf coach at Northwest, Sturgell held multiple managerial positions at local businesses. From 2001 to 2014, Sturgell was an HVAC distribution manager at 2-J Supply Company, working to provide affordable HVAC solutions for local businesses. Sturgell was an assistant manager at Buffalo Wild Wings from 2014 to 2015 and was the purchasing manager for Advanced Solutions from 2015 to 2017.
Sturgell is a graduate of Shawnee State, having completed an associate degree in business and office administration in 1999. Sturgell is a member of Shawnee State’s Athletics Hall of Fame, having competed with the Bears’ golf program from 1995 to 1999. Sturgell graduated from Northwest High School in 1995 and completed tech school at the Scioto County Joint Vocation School that same year.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be able to come back to Shawnee State University, where I was a student-athlete,” Sturgell said. “I am so excited to be a part of the bowling program and look forward to working with our student-athletes.”
“Bryan is a great addition to our coaching staff,” Shawnee State athletic director Jeff Hamilton said. “He brings great history with our athletic department, as a Hall of Fame member, and a wealth of bowling knowledge to our new programs. He is a great fit to kickstart our bowling programs. I know the campus is excited to start these new teams and am looking forward to watching Bryan develop our athletes. It is an exciting time in our department and Bryan will work well with the local and regional bowling community, the campus community and the fellow Mid-South Conference bowling schools.”
Shawnee State announced the addition of the bowling program at this year’s Hall of Fame Banquet in January. The SSU bowling squads will compete as a member of the Mid-South Conference beginning with the 2017-18 season.
For more news and information on the Shawnee State bowling program, check out ssubears.com.