Sixty-four out of 102 student-athletes received academic honors Wednesday at the Phoenix fall sports celebration.
Those students were recognized by Oberlin’s athletic boosters for being on honor or merit roll.
Forty-three of the 100 students received Patriot Athletic Conference All-Academic Honors for having a 3.5 GPA or higher.
Phoenix fall sports are losing 25 seniors this year. Athletic director Ty Stillman said this year’s group of seniors are excited and eager to take their talents to the next level.
“We’re breeding passionate student-athletes,” he said.
The Lady Phoenix earned their first PAC win in five years this season against Brooklyn, taking the Hurricanes in straight sets with six aces and 21 kills on the night.
“It’s such a great sport,” Stillman said. “It’s an exciting time to be in volleyball.”
Oberlin was able to have a junior varsity and varsity squad with 20 girls this season. Stillman said having a JV team really adds to the culture he’s trying to build at Oberlin.
One game that stands out in his mind was the girls’ Divison III district tournament game against the Wickliffe Blue Devils. The Lady Phoenix took the Blue Devils to five sets before falling in the final set.
“We’re a good team that’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years,” Stillman said.
The 10-member cross country team is one head coach David Hathaway calls a small but mighty group.
“Even with all the injuries this year, we had an outstanding year,” he said.
Three senior runners finished in the top 16 places at the district meet to advance to regionals. Simon Perales was the first-ever Phoenix runner to advance to states, finishing 41st at the Ohio Division III meet.
Perales earned a personal best record this season with a time of 16:35, which Stillman said is a school record.
Senior Jillian Doane was named the most improved runner after dropping her time by nearly three minutes by the end of the season, Hathaway said.
Noah Frantz was the team’s most valuable player, leading the Phoenix most of the season and ending with a time of 17:30.
Hathaway said freshman Thayer Preston was the fifth-fastest freshmen this season at the district meet, finishing with a time of 19:21.
The Phoenix finished the season 11-5.
“They’re that team that shows the other teams in the school what it takes to be great,” Stillman said.
He said the 17-member team practices year-round, gets in the weight room, and is hard working and determined.
“They really put in the work,” Stillman said.
Senior Jack McMillin was named the PAC boys soccer player of the year.
Oberlin beat Open Door to advance in the Division III district tournament before losing to Independence in the semifinals.
“I’m so proud of that team,” Stillman said. “I love watching them compete.”
The Lady Phoenix battled their way through a transitional year to end the season 4-12.
Lauren Garcia led the team with nine goals and finished her senior year with a goal and win over the Columbia Raiders.
Nearly every girl on the Oberlin team received academic honors. Assistant coach Brittany Leader was named the Lorain County Assistant Coach of the Year.
The girls are losing four seniors this year — Arianna Ambrosio, Serentiy Crowley, Rhiannon McKee, and Garcia.
“There’s a good base of girls returning that I’m excited about,” Stillman said.
CHEERLEADERS AND FOOTBALL
The Phoenix cheerleaders are losing four of their eight athletes this year to graduation but Stillman is excited to watch them grow.
He was impressed with first-year head coach Sara Schnider and believes she’s the right fit for Oberlin.
Oberlin’s athletic director does not think the football team’s record — 2-8 overall — truly shows how well the boys played this year.
“It’s disheartening they did not get more wins,” Stillman said.
The team is losing six main players to graduation this year, but the majority of their offense is returning next year.
Stillman expects the Oberlin boys to run the same type of offense again next year with quarterback David Payne returning as a senior. Payne broke 1,000 passing yards in the Phoenix’s second-to-last game of the season against the Brooklyn Hurricanes.
Stillman has to replace two head coaches for the 2016 fall season after volleyball head coach Mason Cooley and Law have announced they will not return next year.
Both coaches did a great job in building their teams, Stillman said: “I’m looking for someone to take us to the next level.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Elijah Bugg attempts to run around a Brookside defender.