John won multiple letters in Football, Basketball and Track during his career at Chagrin. In 1956 he was named to the All-Cuyahoga Conference Team as both a running back and linebacker and was named the starting Fullback for the Cuyahoga County All Star Team. John also was a strong contributor on the storied 1956 Basketball team that advanced to the Class B Final Four under the leadership of Coach Dale Bruce. John continued his athletic career in college, ending up at Ohio Wesleyan, again under the influence of Coach Bruce. He played cornerback on defense and halfback on offense and was named to All-Ohio Conference Teams both years. John was President of the Senior Class at CFHS and was inducted into the CFHS Achievement Hall of Fame in 2002.
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.
Steve was a three-sport athlete competing for four years in football, wrestling and baseball. He received CVC honors for all three sports during his career. His main passion was baseball where he earned CVC honors for three years and his senior team was CVC champs in 1967. He went on to have a very successful four-year wrestling career at Ashland College where the team won 29 straight matches, which was not new to Steve for he was part of the Tiger squads that went unbeaten in 23 straight matches. In addition Steve has been involved in giving back to the school through his leadership in numerous projects including the varsity baseball grass infield and the Piai locker room and track storage project.
VANESSA BELLO WHITTAKER
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.
Brye had an illustrious soccer career at both CFHS and the United States Naval Academy. Playing for veteran coach and father Dr. Mario Gerhardt, Brye earned accolades at all levels. During his junior year he was selected 2nd Team All-Ohio, while his senior season he was tabbed for 1st Team. In his final two seasons, Brye was named Regional All-American. Also during the fall of 1996, he was recognized as the Greater Cleveland Division II Player of the Year and was the first Chagrin boys soccer player to earn All American honors. Gerhardt took a strong academic resume with his soccer skills to the Naval Academy where he played all 4 years. While there Brye was the leading scorer for 3 seasons. He finished his career 9th in points in Navy history (58) and 6th in assists (14). He was also selected to 1st team Patriot League during his senior season and 2nd team the previous year.
During her career at Chagrin, Jenny achieved so many awards that it is impossible to recount them all here. She was the captain of the first girls state championship soccer team, a 2 time All-Ohio selection and won numerous player of the year awards in both her Junior and Senior years. In addition she had the highest GPA in her class and was named the Outstanding Senior in the English Department, Outstanding Student in the Math Department, won the Neal Wheatcraft Senior Science award, was Vice-President of Student Council, President of the National Honor Society and a National Merit Commended Student. Jenny attended Princeton where she was a 4 year varsity starter. During her senior year she was the captain of Princeton’s 2000 Ivy League Co-Champion Team, 1st Team All-Ivy, Academic All-Ivy, Team MVP and was 2nd Team Mid Atlantic Regional All-American.
Bob taught social studies and served as the Department Chairman during his 25 years at Chagrin Falls High School. During this time he also served as the varsity football team’s defensive coordinator. Our teams were known not only for their tenacious defenses but also for the very innovative schemes, which our teams used. The “Deaner” created these after hours of film study of our opponents from which he created tendency charts. Our 1972 defensive team still holds a school record giving up only 17 points during the entire season while going undefeated. Bob was a former outstanding football player and captain of his team at Thiel College and was a fixture on the Chagrin Falls Varsity Football staff. He was also an assistant coach on one of our state qualifying girls’ basketball teams.