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.
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.
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.
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.
Sean played a total of 41 games as a varsity Tiger football player. He started in every game including his freshman year. He was selected to the News Herald “All-Star” team all four years he played. As a sophomore, he was selected as the Fox 8 “Player of the Week.” Sean holds the CFHS record for the most rushing yards in a single season, and most career rushing yards on school records. He was voted 1st Team All CVC running back each year: ’96, ’97, ’98 and ’99. His diligence and attitude allowed him to be recognized by awards such as; All CVC and all Ohio all four years of his high school career. As a senior, Sean earned Division 4 Ohio offensive player of the year, Geauga County Touchdown Club MVP, winner of the Cleveland Touchdown Club most valuable player of the year, News Herald MVP, Chagrin Valley conference MVP and was named an All American. Sean’s College football opportunities were many. Teams interested included Penn St, Michigan, OSU, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan State, Boston College and Maryland to name a few. He chose Penn St, where he played for 4 years being named captain by his peers his Sr. year, along with winning the Hall Foundation award for outstanding senior player. Sean was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. He also played for the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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.
Lauren has been a phenomenal swimmer at both the high school and collegiate level. She was a 4-time State Champion – 100 Freestyle (2000- 2003) and 2-time winner in the 200 Freestyle (2001, 2002). In both events Lauren set state records. She was also on the state runner-up 200 & 400 Freestyle Relays. Over her high career she was a 7 Time High School All-American – 100 Freestyle (2000 – 03) & 200 Freestyle (2001 – 03). The media took notice by naming her the News Herald Swimmer of the year (2001, 2002) and Plain Dealer Female Winter Athlete of the Year (2001-2002). Lauren would make her mark in college first at Penn State University before finishing at Case Western Reserve University. She would earn NCAA All-American status in 4 events in both 2005 (PSU) & 2007 (CWRU). Overall, Lauren set or still holds multiple records in individual or relays at CFHS (5), PSU (2), & CWRU (5). In addition, she was selected as the CWRU Female Athlete of the Year (2006-2007) and for the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Award for outstanding academic achievement (2008).
Jeff has maintained his passion for basketball from his days playing in a packed CFHS gym to coaching over 400-plus victories as boys and girls varsity basketball coach in Pennsylvania. Both in high school and at Dickinson College, he was a two-sport standout. At Chagrin, Jeff captained the 1968-69 basketball team to the CVC crown, which would earn him recognition on the prestigious Plain Dealer Dream Team. He earned all-MAC mention in both sports, and was the recipient of the MacAndrew’s trophy, as the outstanding Dickinson athlete in 1972. Jeff was selected the MVP of the 1972 Sun Coast Classic where he tallied 28 points and 22 rebounds in the championship game versus Brandeis. He is one of two players to average a double-double for their career. Jeff still holds the single season rebounding record at the college. He is also the only Dickinson College basketball player to amass 300 points and 300 rebounds in two different seasons. Since his collegiate days, he has been a varsity head coach for both boys and girls in the state of Pennsylvania. In a nearly 40 year coaching career, he has numerous titles and over 400 victories. He has led teams to district playoff wins in all four classifications – A, AA, AAA, & AAAA.
Tim participated in the unique combination of football, wrestling, and tennis while at Chagrin. His greatest success came in football where he was a standout during one of the greatest eras of Tiger football. As a starting offensive guard and linebacker during his junior and senior years, he helped lead the Tigers to a 19 – 1 record where they were CVC Co-Champs in 1971 and undefeated and CVC Champs in 1972. He earned numerous honors from 1st team CVC, MVP in the CVC, All-Ohio and the Cleveland Touchdown Club recipient in football. He would take his talents to Rose-Hulman University in Indiana. Tim would play four years and would be selected as captain during his senior year playing middle linebacker. Even forty years since graduating from Rose-Hulman, he is still on the top ten list for unassisted tackles in a season with 71.
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.
Ben was a two-sport star at Chagrin in baseball and soccer. He was converted to goalie for his last two years where he would be selected 3rd Team All-Ohio, 1st Team All Greater Cleveland, and 1st Team CVC. During his senior year, the team finished with only two losses, which were to eventual DIII State Champion Hawken, and DII State Runner-Up Walsh Jesuit in the District Finals. In baseball, Ben holds CFHS baseball career record for runs scored (104) and walks (70) and ranks in the top 5 in four other categories. He also has 3 single season records: Average – .570, Home Runs – 9, & Runs – 55, while also ranking in the top 5 in 5 other single season categories. His 55 runs in 2001 is tied for 8th in Ohio. His impressive play earned him numerous awards from 2nd Team All-Ohio, CVC M.V.P., and to the all-star teams by the Plain Dealer, News Herald and Sun Press in baseball. His senior year, Ben would lead the Tigers to a CVC title and to the regional title game, the furthest the baseball program has made it in postseason play. He would later sign to play for Division 1 Cleveland State Vikings where he would be a four year starter at shortstop. His collegiate honors included being selected to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team (2002), All-Horizon League Championship team (2003), and Horizon League Player of the Week (2004). Additionally, he would receive the Paul O’Dea Scholarship for “the player who best exemplifies the dedication to baseball and sportsmanship as Mr. O’Dea.” Ben was a prospect of the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals before being sidelined from a torn shoulder labrum. However, Ben was still able to recover to be the starting shortstop his senior year.
We have had a rich history of runners at Chagrin Falls and that tradition would continue when Chris entered CFHS. He would go on to earn 12 Varsity letters in cross country, hockey, and track. He accumulated many honors including 1st Team CVC all four years in cross country while finishing first in the CVC Invitational his junior year and 2nd place his senior year. On the ice Chris was a 4-year starter where he was selected to the Blue Division All-Star Team and was the team’s leading scorer his senior year. In the spring, Chris’ talents were evident on the track. During his sophomore – senior years in track, he garnered many 1st team All-CVC honors and was selected the CVC MVP in track in his senior year. In the postseason Chris finished 8th in the 1600M in his junior year earning All-Ohio honors and 12th place his senior year. He would take his talents to Butler University, a Division I program in Indiana. He would compete throughout his collegiate career in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. He was a member of the cross country team that was Horizon League Champions each of his four years and placed 4th at the NCAA Div. 1 Meet in 2004 and 25th in 2005. In indoor track, he earned 1st Place three of the years at the Horizon League Championships in the distance medley. Chris would also set Butler University’s 1000M record and also 4:10.88 mile at the Iowa State Classic. In outdoor track, he won the 1500M at the Horizon League Championships and was a NCAA Regional Qualifier (2005).
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).
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.
Professional bowling was one of the leading sports in America in the 1960s & 1970s, which is when Harry Smith ‘49 was considered one of the most outstanding bowlers. He began his career in his teens competing throughout Cleveland. He would eventually perform with a team in Detroit followed by a move to St. Louis. Through this time his reputation grew to a point where his competitors called him “Tiger” due to his fierce competitiveness. Harry would go on to win 12 Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) titles and 3 American Bowling Congress (ABC) championships. His play earned him All-American status in 1959-60, 1962-63, and 1964-65. Over his career he bowled 12 sanctioned 300 games and had an 843 series. He would average 199 for 25 ABC tournament appearances. Bowler’s Journal International Magazine selected the 100 best bowlers of the 20th Century and placed Harry 37th on the list. His illustrious career would garner many honors from being a charter member of the PBA Hall of Fame, ABC Hall of Fame, and Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame to name just a few.