Leslie Cikra has had the most successful volleyball career in Chagrin Falls Schools history. The MVP of the Chagrin Valley Conference, she was selected as an Under Armor All-American and was ranked as the 11th best player in the nation. Leslie would go on to be a four year letter winner at the University of Tennessee. During that period the Lady Volunteers had four straight NCAA Div. 1 tournament appearances and were the 2011 South Eastern Conference Champions. She was on the SEC Academic Honor Roll all four seasons, a First Team All-SEC selection in 2011, and twice was the SEC Player of the Week. She earned an All-American Honorable Mention Honor as well as All-South Region. After college, Leslie was a professional volleyball player in France and South Korea. She earned MVP honors in the South Korean Volleyball League and was second in total points during the 2015-16 season. Additionally, Leslie has been a USA Volleyball Women’s National Team Practice Player. Leslie’s passion for volleyball has continued in her role as a coach of a nationally recognized youth program in Colorado.
Selected by his classmates as “Most Artistic,” it is not a surprise that Rob Crombie has become one of the most sought after oil painters in our region. However, Rob took a break from the brush for nearly 30 years for a career in the print world and to raise a family. Once he returned to his passion, he would find joy and an opportunity to give back. He travels quite a bit to small villages in France for inspiration. His work is on display in Cleveland, St Remy France, South Carolina as well as in Summer shows around the region. While garnering success as an artist, Rob has gone above and beyond to open the world of art to adults and children throughout Northeast Ohio. He is a popular instructor at the Valley Art Center and gives considerable time to art groups as well as students in public schools to support their efforts to learn to paint. Rob has also made it a priority to work in our most underserved schools in Cleveland and Akron where children may be most inspired and helped.
Dr. Bill Albers was an orthopaedic surgeon for over 30 years. For 23 years he had a private practice in Lynchburg, Virginia. During that period, Bill volunteered as a coach in both basketball and softball at his daughter’s school, Holy Cross Regional School. The school earned three state titles in girls’ basketball and four in softball. Bill was voted the “State Coach of the Year” on three occasions and the school would later name their athletic field area, “William E. Albers Field.” For nearly a decade, he successfully juggled a number of roles when he and his wife moved to Tennessee where he joined Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics. In addition to his work as a surgeon, he wrote three chapters in what is regarded as the preeminent text on orthopaedic surgery, Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics. Bill also taught 2nd year residents trauma surgery at the University of Tennessee Methodist Hospital and was voted as the “Teacher of the Year” by the residents.
Community Service Award Honoree
John’s first career was as an educator. He taught 1st grade at Orange, worked as a school psychologist for the East Shore Regional Resource Center and for 20 years, was a school psychologist for Mayfield Schools. For 6 years he taught a course for CSU entitled, Working With Parents of Exceptional Children.His second career was as a volunteer. For 15 years John was active as a trustee for the CFHS Alumni Association serving on the Scholarship and Athletic HOF committees. For many years he chaired the Athletic HOF and was Master of Ceremonies at the Banquet. John was inducted into the Athletic HOF in 2013 with his teammates who never lost a football game throughout their 4 years of high school. John and his wife Mary, have participated in 25 summer work camps with the Federated Church youth group—most recently in Puerto Rico. For many years John helped Mary run the youth lacrosse program expanding it from a 7th and 8th grade program down to the 3rd and 4th grades. John served as the President of the Cleveland BoyChoir for four years. John was selected as the Chagrin Valley Jaycees citizen of the year in 2017, has been President of the Chagrin Falls Historical Society Board of Trustees for 10 years, the emcee for the Alumni Choir Memorial Day concert, the Village of Chagrin Falls 4th of July celebration and is the Judge Advocate General for Chagrin Falls American Legion Post 383, where he has the privilege of being the Master of Ceremony for Memorial Day services at the cemetery. John was a member of the Bentleyville Village Council for 10 years, serving four years as president. John also was an active participant in the Win-Win campaign.
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.
The Chagrin baseball program has had a rich history and arguably one of the best that has donned the Tiger uniform is Matt Crawford. During his freshman year, he was brought on as a varsity starter, a role that he would not relinquish. Matt would find tremendous success at the plate, on the field, and on the mound. His greatest achievements came during his senior season where he helped lead the team to their best record, 26 – 3, and a regional finalist finish going 9 – 0 on the mound. During this 2001 season, he set the school record for hits in a season at 53 and runs batted in with 41. With this success came several honors including being a two-time 1st Team CVC member. Matt was selected All-Ohio and 1st Team News Herald. Additionally, he was a Plain Dealer All-Star, which at the time covered the best 10 players in northeastern Ohio. His career batting average of .478 is the highest in Chagrin history and he still holds the Chagrin record of 119 career hits. Matt’s .558 batting average his senior season is 2nd all-time in Chagrin history. Matt would continue his baseball career at Wright State University. He was a four-year varsity letter winning pitcher and co-captain of the team during his senior season. He was also selected Horizon League Pitcher of the Week.
Coming off a Runner-Up finish in the 1970 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships in 1970, the boy’s cross country team would end up one place higher in 1971 when they scored 94 to outdistance Coshocton by 9. The finish would be the first team state title for Chagrin Falls. Although John Hurst never took a coaching course, when he arrived at CFHS in 1963, he was “appointed” cross country coach. It didn’t take long for the program to take off. The program was only in its 9th year in 1971, but had a 58-8 record in dual meets and in the previous 7 years in the CVC, Chagrin won 5 league championships and never finished below second. In 1971, the team finished 7-0 in dual meets. Not only did they have a perfect 7-0 dual meet record, they recorded the lowest score a team can accomplish twice, which is 15. That meant the top 5 runners finished 1st – 5th place. In the other meets, they never totaled over 20. They would win 4 large regular season meets that season – Warrensville, Gilmour, Chagrin, & CVC. The JV squad also had a tremendous season going 7 – 0 in dual meets and won three large meets – Gilmour, Chagrin, & CVC. Coach John Hurst ‘52 would later be a Chagrin Falls Schools Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 1995 inductee. Those that earned a varsity letter that season included Glenn Bomback ‘72, Mark Freemantle ‘72, David Hart ‘72, Mark Lodwick ‘72, Dan Miller ‘72 , Dwight Woodward ‘72, John Brandon ‘73, John Jackson ‘73, Todd Gardenier ‘73, Sam Narten ‘73, James Nelan ‘73, Rick Pamer ‘73, and Alan Streater ‘74.
Even without a girl’s golf program at Chagrin Falls, Kristin excelled on the links on our Boy’s Varsity Golf Team. In the postseason she was the 1987 State Runner-Up at Ohio High School Girls Golf State Championship with a 6th place finish in 1986. Kristin would compete in the summer touring around the country. Highlights from the summer competition were qualifying for the 1987 & 1988 USGA Junior Girls Championship and the 1987 Junior World Golf Championships. Kristin would go on to letter 4 years at Penn State University and was selected Captain by her teammates in both her junior and senior years. She was selected to the Eastern College Athletic Conference All-Conference Team in both 1990 & 1991. She continued competing in the summer and won the Cleveland Women’s Golf Association in both 1991 & 1992; the Cleveland, Greater Cleveland, Akron Tri-League Championship (1988), the Atlantic International Golf Championship in Bermuda (1989), and was Runner-Up at the Ohio Women’s Amateur Championship in 1991. Even with a demanding golf schedule Kristin would continue to carry her leadership role into other avenues from being Student Council Vice-President and OABR Director at CFHS and was a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Board at Penn State.
Christine has one of the most distinguished athletic careers at Chagrin that earned her All-Ohio honors in three sports: Cross Country (2001), Swimming (2000-2003), and Track (2002 & 2003). She set school records at CFHS in 1600M & 3200M in Track and 100 Yard Breaststroke & 200 Yard Freestyle Relay in Swimming. In her senior year she placed 4 times at the State Swim Meet (6th in 100 yard backstroke & 200 yard IM and 2nd in 200 & 400 yard Freestyle Relays) & was 3rd in the 1600M race in the State Track Meet. Most notable was Christine’s selection as one of six national finalists from over 20,000 applicants for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, which honors seniors that have excelled in athletics, academics and community service. She took her talents to Denison University where she was a NCAA DIII National Championship qualifier in both cross country (2004 & 2005) and track (2005), North Coast Athletic Conference Champion (individual and team), and NCAA Academic All-American (XC 2006). Christine also is the school record holder in the Steeplechase.
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.
Jocelyn was a successful 3 sport athlete for the Tigers in track, swimming and volleyball. A 3 year state qualifier in track, she was a 1986 State Qualifier in the 400, 800 & 1600 meter relays & 300 low hurdles. Her time in the 300 low hurdles still stands as the CFHS record. In the pool, Jocelyn qualified for the state swim meet her junior and senior years. She also earned 2 varsity letters in volleyball.
Jim’s entire 39 year teaching career was spent as physical education and health teacher at Chagrin Falls Middle School. He was the 1st Athletic Director at Chagrin Falls Middle School holding the position for 23 years. He started many of the athletic teams at CFMS, including being the first coach for track, wrestling and gymnastics. He spent over 30 years coaching football holding the positions from Head Varsity to Middle School coach. For 17 years, Jim was also the Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach. Jim continues his dedication to Chagrin athletes by currently serving in the athletic department.
During the 1980s Chagrin was graced with tremendous speed and athleticism from the Bello sisters. When Lolita ’85 graduated, middle sister Alexandra ’87 didn’t have to look far for a replacement on the relay teams. The baton was now passed to Vanessa, which resulted in State Track Meet finishes of a 4th in the 4 by 100 Meter Relay in 1986 and a 6th in the 4 by 200 Meter Relay in 1987. Vanessa would eventually become the first Chagrin athlete to be a four time state placer when she earned a 5th in 1988 and a 4th in 1989, both in the 200 Meter sprint. Additionally, she holds the most amount of CFHS Track & Field records, 4. She still claims the 100 Meter (12. 5 seconds) and 200 Meter sprints (25.75) and was on the 4 by 100 Meter (50.27) and 4 by 200 Meter relays (1:44.97). Bello also earned varsity letters with success in both volleyball and basketball as well as in track. Vanessa was twice selected 1st Team CVC in Volleyball.
Wrestling came to Chagrin in the 1958-59 school year and soon followed was the decade of the 60s, where there was great success for our Tiger matmen. The wrestler that set the standard for all those that would don a Chagrin singlet was 3-time state qualifier Reed Carpenter. During that time, the sport only offered one division and only two spots could qualify from northeast Ohio for the State Tournament, which makes Reed’s accomplishments of 3 trips to states even more impressive. By his sophomore year, the 120 pounder had already claimed titles at the Aurora and Hiram Invitationals. He would earn another Aurora title and a remarkable County Invitational Tournament title in his senior year. It is no wonder why Reed earned such a nickname as “Nails.” Carpenter kept busy throughout the year by playing fullback and punter on the football squad and putting on a mitt for the Tiger baseball team. Reed was a part of Coach Quesinberry’s last season as a head coach and the only squad Quiz had that was undefeated.