On prep sports: Fort Frye Cadets continue to excel athletically

An amazing year in sports for Fort Frye High School just keeps on going.

After unforgettable fall and winter seasons, the spring sports teams have kept the trend going as the Cadet baseball, softball and track teams are all enjoying success so far in 2013.

Fort Frye softball, led by head coach Barb Sleek, is currently undefeated after defeating River 6-0 in an OVAC semifinal game Tuesday. The team features one of the best pitchers in the state as senior Victoria Mimken has a record of 17-0 and has routinely struck out double-digit batters game after game.

Seniors Lexi Huck and Abby Baker have each provided some pop in the Lady Cadet lineup to make the team an offensive threat as well.

On the baseball diamond, Sonny Bidwell’s squad is also playing well this season. The Cadets are 14-6 overall and in contention for PVC and OVAC championships.

At the plate, Fort Frye is led by Spencer and Chandler Lang at the top of its lineup and Drew and Derek Layton in the middle.

Pitching has been the Cadets’ biggest strength, as Spencer Lang, Casey Hall and Caden Brooker are all capable of shutting down any opponent on any given day.

Don’t sleep on Fort Frye track, either. Coming off of a quad meet at Waterford Tuesday in which both the boys’ and girls’ teams finished second, the Cadets have several athletes who possess the potential of making a regional and even a state appearance.

While these teams are just scratching the surface of their 2013 campaigns, several Fort Frye teams have already made gargantuan accomplishments this school year.

Starting in the fall, Fort Frye football posted an 8-2 record, claimed a share of the PVC championship and even made a Division III state playoff appearance for the first time since 2000.

It was a magical season that included an overtime, one-point victory over Caldwell and a comeback win over Rosecrans in the final week of the season.

The Cadets were led by the Lang brothers and Max Alsbach in the backfield, as well as top receiving targets Justin Massey and Tyser Shilling. The Eric Huck-coached team also featured one of the top offensive lines in the Mid-Ohio Valley, led by senior Dylan Bowman.

Huck will be coaching the Ohio squad in the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis all-star football game this summer against West Virginia.

The fall season also saw the Fort Frye volleyball team, led by head coach Sam Skinner, claim the school’s first ever volleyball sectional title.

The red, white and blue netters would bow out to West Muskingum in district play but enjoyed a season unlike any the school had ever seen.

On the golf course, Aaron Nesselroad-led Fort Frye saw four athletes earn All-District honors this season. Shon Smith and Maggie Huck were each first team in their respective divisions while McCaul Schilling was second team and Brennan Schilling was honorable mention.

Rounding out the fall season, the Cadet cross country program, coached by Alaina Cunningham, celebrated a first as the boys’ team of Jordan Anderson, Jon Anderson, Matthew Cheeseman, Ford McElroy, Matthew Roush and Quintin Webb was runner-up at the regional meet to qualify for state. It was the first time a boys’ cross country team at Fort Frye has ever qualified for the state meet.

Perhaps the peek of the year for Fort Frye athletics came this winter when the Dan Liedtke-coached Fort Frye girls’ basketball team defeated Johnstown in a Division III regional final contest to make the Final Four.

The Lady Cadets were absolutely dominant all season long, winning 25 of its first 28 games and claiming outright PVC and OVAC crowns.

The Fort was finally taken down at Value City Arena in Columbus when Africentric held on for 43-40 victory to go to the state championship.

Liedtke’s squad was led by third team All-Ohio selection Deidra Combs as well as seniors Taylor Buchanan, Morgan Liedtke, Micayla Hupp and junior Brooke Borich.

The boys’ basketball was no slouch, as first-year head coach Eric Henniger led his team to a share of the PVC title.

The team was eliminated in a sectional final game by Martins Ferry, but was very competitive all throughout the season.

First team all-stater Shon Smith averaged 20 points per game to lead the charge for the 15-8 Cadets.

In a small town like Beverly, the community often lives and dies with its prep sports teams.

Whether a team is playing just across the Muskingum River in Waterford or all the way in Columbus or Kirtland, you can bet the Beverly fan-base will be there in full force.

For them, and the athletes, of course, the 2012-13 school year will always be one to remember.

Jordan Holland is a Marietta Times sports writer and can be reached at 376-5449 or at jholland@mariettatimes.com