Golden Eagles win SWBL All-Sports Championship

by Lauren Redfern

As the school year comes to an end, the sports seasons do as well. Bellbrook High School is in the Southwestern Buckeye League also referred to as SWBL. BHS offers over 20 varsity sports, with 20 competing for SWBL championships. The league has an All-Sports Trophy which is awarded to the school with the best score in rankings. For example, each season for each sport, the league ranks the school in order of their records for in-league performance. Whichever school wins the title for that sport is number one, and then the second place is two, and so on. The rankings are added up for each school. The better the records and performance, the lower the score. At the end of the year, the lowest score wins. Bellbrook had nine SWBL Championships this school year and four runner-ups. Congrats to all teams! Go Eagles!

2016-2017 Champions

Fall: Volleyball, Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Girls Tennis, Girls Cross Country, Boys Cross Country

Winter: Girls Basketball

Spring: Boys Tennis, Boys Track
2016-2017 SWBL Runner-Up

Fall: Golf

Winter: Boys Swimming, Girls Swimming

Spring: Girls Track

Bellbrook Football: An offseason look at 2017

By: Sara Wolf

The fact that current Friday nights aren’t occupied with football games doesn’t mean that the football team isn’t putting in work and making improvements for when the season does come. “The team has been putting together the best offseason ever and we are working on the little things,” says 2018 senior Keion Driscoll. Jeff Jenkins, entering into his second season as Bellbrook’s head coach, set up a new offseason routine for the players. The new training schedule started just a month after this past season ended. Players stay after school to lift two days a week, and go to Fast Twitch to improve speed and agility two other days, leaving one school day off a week. In addition, some players are taking a lifting class period with their coach during the school day or have 7×1’s after school to get to know plays better. Many even get a group of players together to go to the field and work out or watch game film on their own time.

What will this next season look like? 2018 Seniors Alex Mumy, Drew Ashurst, and Skylar Golden hope to see their team win league and make playoffs. Driscoll hopes the same. “Besides [winning league], I want to get better than 7-3,” he stated. The team accomplished a record last year of 7 wins, 3 losses. It’s been over a decade since a BHS football team has had an 8-2 record. Senior Jack Campbell reflects on the team’s abilities. “We have the talent to win every game, but that’s a really really hard thing to do. So I want to win league, and compete every game, because we have the pieces to do that.”

Coach Jenkins hopes that this season, his players will work to be better than they were the day before. “I want them to just take the season day by day, not focused on end results or the end of the season,” he explained. “Just focused on the day, getting better each and every day, and making the most out of every day, that’s it.” Many players are handling the offseason with this mindset already, knowing it will channel into their performance in the fall. “I want the team to perform at its highest potential at every lifting, practice, and game. I want us to constantly get better and grow together,” says 2018 junior Brendan Labensky.

This next season shows new challenges like coaching adjustments and the loss of many key players in the 2017 class, but nothing curbs the determination of the players on the team, many of whom are already stepping things up and leading. When asked who on the team leads and pushes others to be better, a wide consensus among varsity returners and their coach was their QB, Labensky. “I see our quarterback, Brendan Labensky, really stepping up as our leader, our go-to guy,” says Jenkins. “I think he’ll have much more confidence this year, physically and mentally, I think he’s in great shape and he’s ready to take on this season and lead this team.”

Labensky is entering into his junior year, having played the quarterback position on varsity for his first year as a sophomore. He had 1018 passing yards in 2016, pushing the school record and earning the trust of his teammates. The faith the team and coaching staff invested in Labensky shaped the course of his success last season. “Before the season started [Jenkins] pulled me to the side and told me that he believed in me and trusted in me being the quarterback,” recalls Labensky. “That meant a lot to me because I never heard something like that from him before. It motivated me to be the best I could and it made me want to make him proud.” 2018 Junior Ethan Knisley says he has trust in Labensky this next season. “He shows great work ethic and knows how to run the team.” Labensky sees a lot of leadership this next year in the hands of his 2018 senior teammates Cole Taylor, Ethan Savey, and Keion Driscoll, along with fellow junior Hayden Bullock. “Savey and Cole are both hard workers and will do whatever it takes to help the team. I think Keion leads the team by example by constantly improving and getting better. Hayden Bullock has made some major improvements as well and I can also see him as a vocal leader this season.”

Each player’s goals keep them pushing through the offseason towards Friday nights. Their goals go beyond just winning. “My goal is to be remembered,” says senior Cole Taylor. “I don’t want to be just another Bellbrook team where we get lost in the shuffle like most of the others. I want our team to flow smoothly together so that when we hit the field, there’s nothing that can stop us.” Golden wants to be able to impact underclassmen teammates. “My goal is to start all games this season as well as to set an example for the younger players on the team.” Campbell, the only returning defensive back, wants to break the school record by having over 10 interceptions. These accomplishments can be made through the strength of the team. “I think every player pushes each other to be better,” explains Driscoll. “We all have the same goals and if someone is slacking, then we hold each other accountable.”

The strength of the team is thanks to their coaches. Like other sports, the players greatly respect their coaches, but the lessons their coaches teach them through the game are what makes football different. “Jenkins has taught me to keep pushing forward even if life doesn’t go your way,” explains Labensky. “He teaches us to respond to adversity by staying focused on the goal and having a short memory.” Campbell says he’s learned that if you want something, you have to work harder than everyone else. He’s also learned a lot from Jenkins’ dedication to his players, and explains a moment he saw it most last year. “I drove by the middle school in the spring or summer before the season, after I had gotten off work. I got off work really late, it was past midnight, and Jenkins was in there watching film. It was just crazy to see how much he cared about us.”

Bellbrook football has worked hard for the season ahead, but is still facing a tough schedule when the season begins. The first two games of the season are home against Tippecanoe and Fairborn. The boys will then have a televised away game as a part of ABC22/Fox45’s Thursday Night Lights series, like they did this past season against Tecumseh. They will go to play Tecumseh again on September 8. “Thursday Night Lights was a good deal for us,” recalls Jenkins. “That really got the community energized and we put on a great show; we certainly played our best that night. That was one that sits at the top of my list.”

Track Advances to Regionals

by Kayla Stephensen

At Track and Field Districts, Friday, May 19, Kylee Parker, a senior, broke the 300 hurdles school record set by Hannah Lewis in 2009. Parker remarks, “I didn’t know I was going to break the record but Coach Barnes told me I had a chance.” Maddie Crane, a junior, went to districts for 300 hurdles but unfortunately didn’t make it to regionals. She’s been to districts all three years of her high school career and hopes to make it to regionals for her senior year.

Three freshmen are advancing to regionals with Parker. Lydia Travis, Bailey Sedlak and Sydney Hollingsworth are on the 4×100 meter relay along with Maria Mescher, a sophomore. Hollingsworth commented on the relay team’s dynamics, saying, “We all get along really well and we also work really well together especially since we all played soccer last fall. I’m looking forward to having another opportunity to try and break the school record for the 4×100. All of us on the relay team really want to break it this year. It feels awesome to be on such a successful young relay team because we have a lot more opportunities to improve in future years.” At districts, the runners got 51.22 seconds and the school record is 50.72 seconds. Hollingsworth is also going to regionals for the open 100 meter. She notes, “I don’t have a goal for my PR, but senior year I really want to make it to state!”

Kenna Kramer, a junior, won 1st in high jump at districts and is advancing to regionals along with Riley Allen, a junior pole vaulter, and Hayden Bullock, a sophomore shot putter. The May 24 is pre-lims and finals for regionals will take place on May 26th.

Derek Jeter bids for the Marlins

By Henry Wong

While Derek Jeter’s baseball career may have ended in 2014, the competition surrounding him did not. Now, the competition is not on the field but rather over who owns the team. The team of interest is the Miami Marlins and Jeter’s bids are being challenged by former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Tagg Romney. With each party having bids close to $1 billion, this is quite an investment.

After the meeting on May 18, a final sale is expected in the coming weeks instead of months. In order for this to happen, all final sale documents must be finalized and signed in addition to confidence being established between the seller and the buyer that the transaction will run financially smoothly.

A Gross Mistake: Columnist Regrets His Track Commentary

by Kasen Stephensen

Pennsylvania columnist Mike Gross was met with backlash from the Track and Field community after writing a condescending article emphasizing the relative ease of track.

At the beginning of the controversial article, he glorifies American football as the “most intense, high-pressure American sport,” while track and field “is every bit as intense and high-pressure as frisbee golf.” Gross continues and complains that the “top eight – eight! – finishers in each event at meets like Saturday’s Lancaster-Lebanon League get medals,” describing this phenomenon as “evidence of a softening and weakening of our culture by those determined to see such things.”

Cory Mull, a cross country and track reporter for Milesplit USA, tells Gross in a rebuttal article to “talk to the distance runner who runs 50 miles a week on her own, sometimes in the rain, sometimes in the extreme heat, sometimes in four inches of snow,” or to “the sprinter who’s out in the sweltering heat working on his starting blocks for two hours,” or “the thrower who commutes an hour to see a private coach so he or she can learn the proper technique on how to glide or spin.”

Gross has since apologized for his failure to “communicate effectively” and will hopefully be more careful in regards to the explosive track and field community.  

Three Freshman Boys Make Varsity Tennis and Tell Their Story

by Kayla Stephensen

This past tennis season, there were three freshman boys (and no seniors) on varsity, Zach Schultz, Andy Russell and Cole McCrae. All three have played for roughly five years and as Zach puts it, “I was pretty confident I would make varsity, but I didn’t expect to be second singles. It feels good to be varsity, especially since I was able to displace a few of last year’s varsity players.” All three of their personal records are 12-3 while the team’s is 11-4. He is also second singles to Brayden Kopp.

Andy Russell, on the other hand, commented, “Once I saw everyone who was playing, I wasn’t really confident I was going to make varsity. Eventually I did and that felt pretty good because I didn’t expect it.”

Cole McCrae remarked, “I expected to get the seventh spot and make the team of get the eighth and be first on JV. When I found out I made the team I was happy because I tied for 5/6th and that was better than I thought.”

When asked why he plays tennis and what his favorite part is, McCrae notes, “My favorite part is probably surprising our opponents at the beginning with my serve (it’s only ok though) and then watching their reactions when they realize they just got beat by two freshman.” Schultz explains, “I play tennis because I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to play aggressively because it’s not a contact sport. My favorite part of tennis is returning fast shots at the net and returning overheads.” Russell simply replied, “My favorite part of tennis is playing at the net in doubles.”

Chessboxing: A Battle of Mind and Fist

by Kasen Stephensen

For the next 6 months, athletes from all over the world will prepare for the Chessboxing 2017 World Championship.  Yes, that is correct: chessboxing.  It is as entertaining as it is difficult.

Described as an “Intellectual Fight Club,” competitors battle in alternating 3 minute rounds of chess and boxing until a checkmate or knockout is achieved.  After a boxing round, players immediately sit down, clear their minds, and compete in a chess match.  

Tim Woolgar, founder of London Chessboxing and the president of the World Chessboxing Association, says that chessboxing “tends to attract people who are original thinkers… They tend to be independent spirits with the ability to take on a challenge that other people would be afraid of.  You have to be courageous to be a chess boxer because you’re a bit of a pioneer.”

The physical and mental strain of the sport has real-world applications as participants must withstand physical stress and make strategic decisions.