Comets stars of yesteryear get hall of fame treatment

Seven athletes, one whole team mark inaugural class

Staff Report

News-Times archives This 1962 clipping shows the Amherst cross country team, under coach Richard Cooley, celebrating its state championship.

Seven standout Comets and one entire team have been chosen for the first Amherst Athletic Hall of Fame class.

Announced Friday, the honorees are Richard Cooley, Theresa (Feldkamp) Brannen, Sheri (Horvath) Scanlon, Amy (McKinley) Agrella, Jack Moskal, Phil Parker, Chris Russo, and the 1962 boys cross country runners.

They will be introduced Friday, Feb. 10 at the Amherst boys basketball game versus North Olmsted, with a formal ceremony following the next day, said athletic director Casey Wolf.

• Cooley was the track and field and cross country coach at Steele High School from 1957 to 1981. He coached boys cross country to state championships in 1962 and 1977, and a runner-up finish in 1981. He coached the girls cross country team to a state runner-up finish in 1978.

He coached runners Glen Wilburn (1971) and Peter Kummant (1973 and 1974) to state cross country titles, and three individual track and field state champions: Ken Greer in the 880-yard run, Tom Schoemig in the mile in 1965, and Peter Kummant in the two-mile run in 1975.

Cooley coached the Steele boys cross country teams to 19 Lakeland Conference championships in 24 years, 12 boys track and field Lakeland Conference championships, and four Lakeland girls cross country championships.

He was inducted into the Ohio Association of Track & Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 1972 and the Lorain County Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2011.

He also served as a pole vault official at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

• Brannen was a track and field star who excelled in the 800 meters, winning back-to-back state championships in 2000 and 2001.

She was All-Ohio four times, and holds the school record with a time of 2:10.05, set at the 2001 state meet. She was a four-time regional and district champion and placed in the 800-meter run at the Indoor and Outdoor National Track and Field Meet in 2000 and 2001, earning All-American honors in 2001.

Brannen ran at the University of Michigan where she was an indoor NCAA champion in the distance medley in 2005. She was a two-time NCAA Indoor Track & Field All-American.

She was inducted into the Lorain County Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2010.

• Scanlon was a basketball and volleyball star.

In her senior year of 1991-1992, she was an Honorable Mention All-American, 1st Team All-Ohio, Lorain County Miss Basketball, 1st Team All District, Northeast Ohio District Basketball Player of the Year, Plain Dealer Player of the Year, and Southwestern Conference Player of the Year.

Scanlon went on to play basketball at Hofstra University and Robert Morris College. She finished her career at RMC fourth in total career points. She was 1st Team All-Northeast Conference in 1997 and 2nd Team All-Northeast Conference in 1995 and 1996.

Inducted into the Robert Morris College Hall of Fame in 2009, she played professionally for Pembroke Basketball Club in Malta and averaged 19 points per game.

• Agrella ran cross country and track, winning individual and team girls cross country state championships in 1991, and was the 1,600-meter state champion in 1993.

She was the state runner-up in cross country (1992) and in the 3,200-meter run in track and field (1993). She finished fourth at the state cross country meet in 1990, leading her team to a runner-up finish.

She was a two-time Southwestern Conference cross country MVP and the Southwestern Conference girls track and field MVP in 1993. She currently holds the school record in the 1,600 meters (4:54.23), 3,200 meters (10:42.5), and in cross country.

Agrella was a USA Today High School All-American in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs as one of the 10 fastest girls in the United States in 1993. She was All-Ohio eight times.

Agrella ran for the University of Arkansas, where she earned All-American honors in 1995 in the 10,000-meter run. She was a member of the NCAA Division I cross country team runners-up in 1993.

• Moskal was a three-sport standout in football, basketball, and track and field from 1950 to 1954.

He was a high jump state qualifier and conference high jump champion in 1954 and was the conference football Player of the Year in 1953.

Moskal scored 752 career points in basketball, averaging just over 22 of his team’s 35 points per game in his peak season.

• Parker was a football star — iIn 1980 he was 3rd Team All-Ohio, 1st Team All-District, 1st Team All-Lakeland Conference, and 1st Team All-Lorain County.

He led the team in tackles and tied a Comets record with 15 career interceptions.

Parker played at Michigan State University where he was a 2nd Team All-American twice, All-Big Ten three times, and the Defensive MVP of the All-American Bowl in 1984. He was defensive MVP at Michigan State in 1983 and 1985, and was the MVP of the 1984 Cherry Bowl.

At the time his career ended, Parker’s 16 interceptions ranked third all-time. His collegiate coaching career has made stops at his alma mater, as well as the universities of Toledo and Iowa, where he now serves as the defensive coordinator.

• Chris Russo was a wrestling standout at Steele where he was a two-time state runner-up at 112 pounds in 1988 and 1989.

He was an OHSAA regional champion, three-time district champion, and Southwestern Conference champion. He held records in multiple categories until the OHSAA changed the number of matches competitors are allowed to wrestle.

Russo wrestled at Indiana University, where he placed eighth at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at 126 pounds in 1994, which earned him All-American honors.

• The 1962 cross country team won the OHSAA state championship, the first team title in Steele history.

The team was coached by Cooley and consisted of Richard Brumagin, Kenny Greer, Bert Koontz, Jim Loutzenhiser, Bob Miller, Tom Schoemig, and Dennis Traster.

News-Times archives This 1962 clipping shows the Amherst cross country team, under coach Richard Cooley, celebrating its state championship.

News-Times archives This 1962 clipping shows the Amherst cross country team, under coach Richard Cooley, celebrating its state championship.

Seven athletes, one whole team mark inaugural class

Staff Report