It’s been some 20 years since I’ve covered any athletic events as an employee of the Galion Inquirer. I did that for maybe 15 years, ending sometime around 1995. I don’t miss the long weekends. But I do miss the players, coaches and even some of the fans.
I’ll soon be covering some games, or matches, or meets because it’s that time of year once again. I just have to remember how to do that.
A lot has changed since 1985. A lot more has happened in the local sports world I graduated from Galion High School in 1978.
The football stadium at Heise Park has changed a lot. The cinder track I ran on is now all-weather. It’s now called Unckrich Stadium, named after Ferd Unckrich, who for years was president of the Galion athletic boosters club and spearheaded money-raising campaigns to help Galion’s athletic teams. Ferd also was the man behind Galion’s Pickle Run Festival and was known as Mr. Pickle to many.
A new sprinkler system will help keep the stadium grass green and luxurious. The inside of the stadium has been enlarged and has received a major makeover or two since 1978. The high school wrestling team even has a practice facility in the stadium. Compared to when I first entered that stadium in the mid-1960s when my dad was a coach, and later taped ankles before every game, it is quite luxurious.
But some things never change. The smell of a football lockerroom — it’s hard to describe — will never change.
A new pressbox is partially complete and should be in play by Week 4, when the Tigers play their second home game of the season. That pressbox will not only serve the football and track teams, but also the baseball team. New lights were installed a few years ago at the stadium and the interior has received a complete makeover.
The tennis courts between the Heise Park pool and Gill Avenue have been removed and that area is now a parking lot. The new tennis courts are across the street from the baseball fields, on Payne Avenue.
The golf team still plays at that course across from Amann Reservoir. What used to be Galion Country Club is now Sycamore Hills Golf Course. But the course is still one of the finest around. There also is a girls golf team at Galion High School.
The cross country teams still have their meets at Amann Reservoir. And Galion still plays host to one of the most successful cross country invites in Ohio. The Galion Crosss Country Festival has been know to include more than a 1,000 runners and some out-of-state teams.
Are you still stuck on Amann — instead of Amann’s — Reservoir? So am I. Apparently, I’ve been saying it wrong for decades. But so have most who live around here.
An old friend, John Renock, stopped in the Inquirer a couple weeks ago to say hello and to give me some story ideas. He also informed me that the official name of that body of water off Ohio 309 is Amann Reservoir. I’m told the name has been changed on the sign out there. And it is called Amann Reservoir on the City of Galion website. So …. I guess I’m going to start calling it Amann, too. Although I promise I’ll revert to my old ways a time or two.
Galion’s volleyball program remains a success. The thing I notice first is the players dress a lot better today than they did in 1978, and 1995 for that matter. The player positions have different names, and each team now includes a libero, or a defensive specialist. And yes, I had to look up the definition of libero. The game played when I was in high school has only a passing resemblance to the faster, more powerful game played today.
One big difference today is the addition of soccer to the list of sports Galion High School offers. This is the first season for soccer in Galion, and there are boys and girls team. As Galion does not have a soccer field available yet for home matches, this year they will play all matches on the road. Their practice facility is the green space between Galion High School and Galion Middle School.
Now, what else hasn’t changed?
George Guins is still Galion’s cross country coach. To say he loves what he does is an understatement. George has been coaching runners for 48 years. His first year in Galion was my senior year in high school. He had been at Bucyrus High School before that. I doubt there are any coaches in Ohio with more tenure than George.
The only other coach still around from my high school days is Bob Roesch, who is coaching the girls tennis team. I first met Bob when I was a freshman in high school. He was my football coach. Bob has coached a lot of sports and a lot of teams since he came to Galion.
George and Bob are two of the finest men I’ve ever met. Thanks for what you’ve done for Galion City Schools and this community.
Galion’s head football coach is Matt Dick. He comes from Fredericktown and replaces Chris Hawkins, now coaching at Ontario. I don’t know a lot about the football team, nor its new coach, but judging from the first practice I watched, these players are going to be in shape.
The boys soccer team is coached by John Stewart, the girls by Eric Palmer.
Bryce Lehman is the boys golf coach. Mark Barrier is the girls coach.
Jamie Valentine is the volleyball coach.
Guins coaches both cross country squads.
You can learn more about Galion’s fall athletic teams in an upcoming special insert to the Inquirer.
And when you get the opportunity, get out and support these student/athletes as often as you can.