Up until 1991 Chagrin had won only one team state title, which had been 20 years prior with the boys cross country team. However, a group of young women would not only bring another state championship home, they would set the foundation for a program that has been revered throughout the state these past 25 years. Coming off a 6th place finish at the 1990 OHSAA State Cross Country Championship, the girls coach Pete Olah and boys coach Dave Kirk would set up a challenging season and some grueling practices. The varsity squad consisted of Seniors Elizabeth “Tiggy” Hopkins, Amy Michel, and Sarah McGuire; Juniors Courtney Michel, Jennifer Priem, Lori Fisher, and Kerry Schoelch; Sophomores Marie Irvin, Beth Wurster, and Christie Grano; and freshmen Casey Abley and Cortney DeGross. This line-up dominated throughout the fall and in Columbus. They placed 1st at Wadsworth, Cunra, & Sim Erich Invitationals, 2nd at Malone College, and 3rd at Kirtland. In addition, they were undefeated in non-league meets and were co-champions of the CVC with Twinsburg. At the 14th OHSAA Girls Cross Country Championships, the Lady Tigers amassed 90 points easily outdistancing runner-up Findlay Liberty Benton who had 120. Of the 17 teams and 161 runners, Courtney Michel would lead pace for the Tigers finishing 19th overall. Although they would lose three key seniors, they would go on to finish as runners-up in 1992. As of 2016, the Lady Tigers cross country team has made it to the state championships 11 times in the 39 year history of OHSAA girls cross country. Since 1982 there was only a five year stretch when the OHSAA fielded just two divisions compared to three. This period was from 1989-93, which makes the Lady Tigers success during this time even more impressive.
Pete Olah was the Head Varsity Cross Country and Track Coach from 1988 – 2000, a period which saw our women’s program come to be a dominant force in Ohio. The team broke out in 1990 at the OHSAA State Cross Country Championships with a 6th place finish. The following year the runners would easily outdistance the competition and earn Chagrin its first team title in 20 years. In 1992, the Tigers returned to Columbus and finished as Runners-Up. Over his 22 seasons his teams earned 3 district championships, 3 district runner-up finishes, and 4 CVC titles. Individually Pete helped to guide 189 Regional Qualifiers, 36 State qualifiers, and 20 State placers. With the success came many honors including being selected CVC Coach of the Year four times (1991 – 1994), Geauga Times Leader Geauga County Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year (1990), Geauga Times Leader Coach of the Year (1991), Ohio Association Of Track and Cross Country Coaches District 2 Coach of the Year (Girls Cross Country in 1991). Pete was also an integral part of the wrestling program in his role as Assistant Varsity Coach during the 1980s & 1990s. The program produced a Regional Runner-Up team finish, over 20 state qualifiers including 9 placers and 2 runners-up. In addition, Pete had a distinguished career as an industrial arts teacher for 34 years at Chagrin.
Dave Kirk laid at lasting impact to a generation at Chagrin both in the classroom as an English teacher and as coach to our Tiger runners. He led the Track and Field program from 1990-2014 and Boys Cross Country Team from 1990-2010. Under his tenure, 80 athletes earned All-Ohio recognition and 19 athletes qualified to the National Championships. His teams also won a State Championship and two State Runners-up titles. Additionally, Dave has played an integral role in the writing, organization, and implementation of the “Ohio Plan” as it is referred to by the United States Olympic Committee Paralympic Division which has become a national model for other states looking to provide opportunities for disabled athletes to compete in track & field. He was inducted into the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2012, He continues to volunteer his time to the Department of Defense Warrior Games and has worked with both the Marine Corps and the Army in hosting this event that promotes the successful recovery and reintegration of our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans through adaptive sports competition. A published author, including an article in Olympic Coach, Dave has presented at the USOC National Leadership Conference as well as participated in the National High Performance Summit held by the USOC at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Mario Gerhardt began the Varsity Boy’s Soccer Team in 1970 and is now in his 46th season as its Head Coach. He is the winningest boys high school soccer coach in Ohio with 504 wins entering the 2015 soccer season. The teams Mario has coached continue to have success in the postseason with one State Runner-Up finish (2003), 5 Final Four trips, 11 District titles, and 26 Sectional championships. His regular season includes 18 conference titles. He has coached 59 Academic All-Ohioans, 32 All-Ohioans, 11 Regional All-Americans, & 1 All-American. 45 of his players continued on to play varsity college soccer. He has also been recognized by his peers by being selected as the Ohio Coach of the Year 3 times, Greater Cleveland Coach of the Year 6 times, and Conference Coach of the Year 10 times. In 2004, he was selected as a NSCAA Regional Coach and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year. Mario has previously been inducted in the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame (1993) & Ohio North Youth Soccer Hall of Fame (2003). He has also been honored for with the NSCAA Robert W. Robinson High School Long-Time Service Award (2009), OSSCA Pinsenschaum Sportsmanship and Ethics Award (2010), and the OHSAA Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Award (1997-1998).
Megan Anderson was a 3 sport star at Chagrin, earning 12 Varsity letters (volleyball, basketball, softball). Megan was a captain for all 3 sports her senior year. She would earn CVC 1st Team honors in volleyball (’96), basketball (’96), and softball (’96). Megan was a 1st Team All-Ohio selection (’96), All-District, and earned News-Herald Player of the Week honors. During her senior basketball season, she helped lead the 1997 team to a state runner-up finish. Megan would continue her basketball career at Wake Forest University.
During her career at Chagrin, Katie achieved so many awards that it is impossible to recount them all here. She was a member of the first girls state championship soccer and basketball teams, All- Ohio in 3 sports, and an All-American selection as goalkeeper. Katie is still the CFHS record holder in the shot put, an event that she participated in all four years in Columbus. In basketball, she scored over 1000 points and was a key player on the 1998 State Championship Team and 1997 State Runner- up Team. It was in soccer that brought the most notoriety to Katie’s athletic skills. A 4-year starter in goal, she still holds the state career record for shutouts at 52 and was selected the Div. II Player in her senior year. Her soccer career continued at Clemson University where she set several school goalkeeping records. In 1999, she led the nation in Div. I collegiate soccer for shutouts. Katie was drafted in the Women United Soccer Association, but her illustrious career was sidelined by injury.
Jimmy would finish his Chagrin athletic career with 11 varsity letters [Soccer (2), Football (2), Basketball (3), Baseball (4)] and All-CVC honors in each of the four sports. He would earn 1st Team CVC in Baseball & Football (’97) & 2nd Team in Basketball (’98, ’99) & Soccer (’96). Although he would gain Honorable Mention All-Ohio as Wide Receiver in football (’97), he would garner his greatest success on the baseball field. Jimmy is still the CFHS record holder in Home Runs, RBIs, Doubles and Complete Games. His baseball career continue at Baldwin Wallace College. As a 4-year starter, he was selected for the Outstanding Freshman Award (’00), “Big Stick Award” (‘01) and “Gold Glove Award” (‘03). He would be selected 3-time All Mideast Region, 1st Team All-Conference, & All-Academic Ohio Athletic Conference in Baseball. He is the BW career leader in games (143) & Assists (404), and Season Leader in Assists (128).
Katie was a 3-sport star at Chagrin earning 11 varsity letters [Soccer (4), basketball (4), & softball (3)]. She started all four years on the soccer squad that included a state title, four state final four appearances and four conference championships with an overall record of 75 – 6 – 6. During Katie’s senior soccer season she would earn 1st Team All-Ohio and MVP honors from the News-Herald, Sun Newspaper, Chagrin Valley Conference, All-Greater Cleveland. In basketball, Katie would be a 3-year starter for a program that won a state title, finished as state runner-up and made the state final four all 3 seasons. The basketball team went 85 – 18 over her four year high school career. Katie would also earn All-District, 1st Team All-CVC and 1st Team News-Herald honors. Katie would further her soccer career at the University of Maryland where she was a 4-year letter winner and 2-year starter. Her teams qualified for three NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournaments, and Katie earned ACC All-Academic honors from 2001 – 03.
Brooke was a success on the tennis court at Chagrin and during her college years at Kenyon College. She was 1st team all-conference during all of her high school and college years. The highlight of her high school career was a state runner-up finish in her senior year. Brooke was further recognized as the Plain Dealer “Player of the Year.” She was also a 4-year starter on the softball team and had the CVC highest batting average during her senior season (.786). Her tennis career continued at Kenyon where she earned many honors: Div. III All-American in (’02), North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year (’02) and Newcomer of the Year (’99). Brooke is tied for 11th in career singles wins with 70. She finished her collegiate career with a singles record of 70 – 29, a winning percentage of .707. Her doubles career record of 64 – 30 (.681) places her 9th in the Kenyon record books. She also qualified for the NCAA Div. III Tournament in 2000 & ’02 in singles.
Kelly was a 3-sport star at Chagrin earning 12 varsity letters (volleyball, basketball, & softball) and captaining each of the teams in her senior year. She would earn CVC 1st Team honors in all three sports: Basketball (’95, ’96, ’97), Volleyball (’96), & Softball (’97). In basketball, she would further earn 2nd Team All-Ohio (‘97), Honorable Mention All-Ohio (‘95, ‘96) and CVC & News-Herald Basketball MVP (’97). During her senior year, she would score her 1,000th point and help lead the 1997 squad to a state runner-up finish in girls basketball.
Andrew finished his high school running career as one of the most decorated runners in Chagrin history. He was a state runner-up in the 3200M run (9:32.02) and in cross country in 1989. The latter race produced the 2nd fastest time of all divisions. Andrew would go on to represent Team Ohio in the Mideast Meet of Champions in cross country placing 2nd overall, which qualified him for nationals. At the Kinney National Championships, Andrew would finish 23rd in the country. He would also find the podium with a 4th in the 1600M (4:20.58) and a 6th in the 3200M (9:37.26) in 1990. Andrew’s time of 15:31 for the 5000M race still stands as the school record at Chagrin.
Debi is being recognized for her significant contributions to tiger pride and Chagrin athletics over many years. Being a member of the first 8th grade cheerleading squad, she not only continued on in high school cheerleading, she has been an assistant coach and varsity head coach. From 1982 – 2005, Debi coached many girls that were selected “All American” and over a dozen continued their cheerleading into college. Throughout the years, she has organized school-wide pep rallies and overseen the decorating of the high school in orange and black. She has also been an integral part of the school system working as a secretary at the various schools.
Cortney has been one of the most significant members of the storied Chagrin cross country and track teams. Besides being a member of 1991 State Champion Team and 1992 State Runner-up Team in Cross Country, she qualified for states in all 4 years. She earned All-Ohio honors twice and was 1st Team CVC for all 4 years. While in track, she was the CVC champion in the mile, twice all-conference in the 2 mile run and a 3 time all-conference honoree in the 4 by 800 relay.
Karis was not only a dominant tennis player in the conference but at the state level as well. She successfully qualified to the state tournament during all four years and earned the state runner-up title in singles tennis her senior year. Karis earned many honors including being selected the MVP of the CVC three times and to the Plain Dealer All- Greater Cleveland Dream Team. Her achievements continued on in college. While at Miami University of Ohio, she was a Conference Champion in both singles and doubles. She placed at the MAC Conference Tournament in 1994 – 1996.
Frank taught social studies and served as the Department Chairman during his years at Chagrin Falls High School. During this time he served as the varsity girls basketball head coach and varsity boys golf coach. His teams won a state championship in 1998 and runner-up finish in 1997. Over a period of 23 years, his teams at Chagrin Falls and Vermillion won 348 games. Frank was twice selected the State Coach of the Year in basketball, was a National Coach of the Year finalist and is a member of the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In golf, he has coached the boys to multiple top-ten finishes at the state tournament.