New Amherst Athletic Hall of Fame class announced

For the News-Times

The second class of Amherst Athletic Hall of Fame inductees has been announced.

Its members will be introduced at the Comets boys basketball game against Avon Lake on Friday, Feb. 9, with a formal ceremony Saturday, Feb. 10.

The class is made up of six individuals and one team: Dick Elsasser, Jake Percival, Lacey Reichert, Christine (Thompson) Detweiler, Brian Tutkovics, Glenn “Sonny” Wilburn, and the 1977 boys cross country team.

• Elsasser was the track and field coach at Steele High School from 1990 to 2005 and the boys cross country coach from 1994 to 1996.

He coached the 2001 boys track and field team to a state runner-up finish; and his 1995 boys cross country team to a fifth place finish at the state meet.

Five individual Division I state track and field champions were raised up under Elsasser’s leadership. Another 11 girls and two boys won individual regional championships, and 25 girls and 16 boys won individual district championships. His boys track teams were Southwestern Conference champs seven times and his girls track teams won three.

He is a 1985 inductee to the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame, a 1999 Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame inductee, and a 2012 Lorain County Track and Field Hall of Fame inductee.

• Percival was a wrestling standout at Steele from 1996 to 2000 and a four-time placer at the OHSAA state wrestling meet, including a state championship as a senior.

He finished third in 1997 and runner-up in 1998 and 1999. Percival was named the Asics top wrestler in the nation after his senior season, and took third place at the NHSCA Senior National Tournament in 2000. As a senior, he won titles at the prestigious Walsh Jesuit Ironman and Brecksville Holiday Tournaments.

He went on to compete collegiently at Ohio University, where he was a four-time NCAA All-American after finishing fourth in 2002, fifth in 2003, runner-up in 2004, and third in 2005 at the Division I wrestling tournament. Percival was a Mid-American Conference champion four times, a feat only six others have achieved. He was the MAC Wrestler of the Year three times, Freshman of the Year, and a three-time captain for the Bobcats.

Percival was inducted into the Ohio University Hall of Fame in 2010.

• Reichert was a softball, girls basketball, and volleyball star at Steele from 1996 to 2000, earning 10 varsity letters.

As a softball player, she was First Team All-Ohio in 1999 and 2000 and Second Team All-Ohio in 1998. She was First Team All-SWC, Lorain County, and Northeast All-Ohio three times. She was a World Fastpitch All-American, Lorain County Miss Softball, SWC MVP, Elyria Chronicle, Lorain Morning Journal, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Cleveland Indians High School Softball Player of the Year as a Senior. In basketball, Reichert earned Honorable Mention All-Ohio honors once and Special Mention twice. She was First Team All-SWC three times and First Team All-Lorain County three times.

She attended Youngstown State University to play softball and started a school record 198 straight games — that’s every single game in her career. She was Second Team All-Great Lakes Region in 2004 and a two time co-captain her junior and senior seasons.

• Detweiler was a cross country and track and field star at Steele from 1993 to 1997.

She was All-Ohio six times in cross country and track, a state runner-up in the 800 meters in 1995, finished third at state in the 1600 meters, and was a member of the sixth place 4×800-meter relay team in 1997.

She is one of only three female athletes from Steele to qualify for the state cross country meet all four years, and one of four from Steele to qualify for the state track meet in three events. She won the 1,600 meters at the Midwest Meet of Champions in 1997. Detweiler is one of just four girls in conference history to win an SWC individual cross country championship three times. She was a member of three SWC cross country championship teams. She was a conference MVP four times: once in track and field and three times in cross country.

Detweiler attended Bowling Green State University, where she continued her cross country and track and field careers. She finished in the top 10 twice at the Mid-American Conference Cross Country Meet, and won the All-Ohio Cross Country Meet in 1998. She was the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, and finished her career fifth in school history in the 1,500 meters and eighth in the 800 meters.

• Tutkovics was a baseball standout at Steele from 1985 to 1989.

He was the first Comets baseball player to be named First Team All-Ohio. He had a 17-4 career record and ranks third all-time at Steele with 192 career strikeouts.

He was twice named SWC MVP and First Team All-SWC. Tutkovics went on to compete for Kent State University, where he was part of three MAC championship teams. In 1993, he was named Honorable Mention All-MAC after finishing 14th in NCAA Division I with a 1.97 ERA. Tutkovics was a 2007 Lorain County Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

• Wilburn was a cross country and track and field standout at Steele from 1969 to 1973.

He was the 1971 state boys cross country champion and followed that up with a fourth place finish in 1972 at the boys state cross country meet. In track and field, he was All-Ohio twice, including a second place finish in the two-mile race. At the 1972 Lorain County meet, Wilburn won the 1,600 meters, setting a school record time of 4:13.7 that still stands today.

At Lincolnland Community College, Wilburn was the national champion in the six-mile run as a freshman at the National Junior College Championship. He followed that with a runner-up finish as a sophomore in the three-mile run and won the 1983 Cleveland Heart-A-Thon Half Marathon.

Wilburn was a 2013 Lorain County Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame inductee.

• The 1977 boys cross country team won the OHSAA state championship, the second team title in school history.

The team was coached by hall-of-famer Richard Cooley and consisted of Doug Drew, Rich Kapronica, Jack Malin, Scott Mudrich, Denis Schneider, Mike Sitton, and Jim Welte.

The team went undefeated (10-0) in dual meets on the way to the championship. At the state meet, the Comets placed four team members in the top 20 individually: Drew (third), Welte (sixth), Malin (12th), and Schneider (17th).

After high school, four members of the squad went on to compete at the Division I level. Malin and Drew were teammates at Kent State University, Welte ran at Indiana University, and Schneider ran for Ohio State.

For the News-Times