by Emily Armentrout
The Wabash County Red Cross is seeking volunteers, not only to donate blood, which is always a great need, but they also are looking for Disaster Action Team members. Tracy Fox, Communications Manager for the American Red Cross, and Heidi Vandermark, Community Outreach specialist at the North Central Indiana Chapter of the American Red Cross, talked with The Paper about the needs here in Wabash County and a few community members who should be commended for their donations.
The Paper contacted the American Red Cross, seeking out a few of our county’s top blood donors. Some of the top donors in Wabash County have given between 19-32 gallons of blood, over the average span of 37 years.
John Miller, born and raised in Wabash County, has been a regular blood donor over the past 30 years. He has donated 19 gallons of blood in that time, but he believes he still has a ways to go in giving.
“It’s been over a 30 year period; it should have been a lot more,” Miller told The Paper. “All you have to do is need a pint of blood at the hospital and then people will realize how great the need is,” added Miller.
Patricia Chekouras, long time Wabash County resident, has donated 157 pints over the past 30 years, which equals out to 157 donations, as the Red Cross takes one pint of blood per donation.
by Emily Armentrout
Former Manchester assistant coach and current Northfield football coach and physical education teacher Brandon Baker has been selected to coach Northfield’s varsity baseball team. Baker is also a former Northfield graduate.
Baker joins a completely new coaching staff, which includes Justin Branock, Cody Schell, Tory Shafer and Troy Vigar.
“The team is responding well,” Coach Baker said. “It’s a totally new staff; no one from last year is back and they’ve responded well to everything we’re trying to do with them.”
Not only did the Norse baseball team have a staff change up, they also lost multiple senior starters and the winningest pitcher in Indiana high school history. This year, the team is made up mostly of juniors and sophomores, with a lone senior.
by Gary Andrews
The Northfield varsity baseball team evened their season record to 3-3 Saturday with a double-header sweep over Marion.
The Norse rode the back of Shane Vigar in game one who was the winning pitcher striking out 13, while going 4 for 4 at the plate.
In game one, the Norse jumped on Marion in the first inning. Adam Roser led off with a single and was followed with a single from Brad Bever. Roser and Bever would then pull off a double steal with Roser scoring on a steal. Drake Richter then drove home Bever and the Norse led 2-0 after one.
In the bottom of the third, the Norse would tack on two more runs. Vigar started the inning with a single and was drove home on a Remington Monce double. Bryce Kendall was then hit by a pitch and followed by a Nate Hembree bunt single. With the bases loaded, Monce was picked off third but Joseph Mitchell loaded them back up with a single. Kendall would score on a wild pitch and the Norse led 4-0.
Marion would pick up a run in the fourth, and it was 4-1 in the fifth when the Norse struck again. Bryce Kendall started the inning with a double, but was thrown out at third. Nate Hembree then singled and was followed by a Mitchell walk. Both runners would advance a base on a wild pitch when Brown singled scoring Hembree and Mitchell to lead 6-1.
by Gary Andrews
The Southwood varsity baseball team hosted Peru in a double header Saturday, losing game one 5-4 before handing the Tigers their first loss of the season with a 9-8 victory in game two.
In game one, the first inning had plenty of action. In the top of the inning, Peru would strike first when Logan Brimbury hit a fly ball out to bring Cameron Beauchamp home. Richardson would then score on a Ray single for a 2-0 lead. The Southwood offense would waste no time answering the Peru opening. Jackson Blair led off the inning with a single and was followed by a Nathan Hollars single to put runners on first and second. Robbie Cole would then single and the Knights had the bases loaded with no outs. Brandin Frazier hit the fourth straight single, knocking in Blair and Hollars to tie the score at 2. On the next pitch Cole and Frazier pulled off a double steal with Jacob Lloyd making the Tigers pay with a 2 run single and the Knights led 4-2 after one.
Unfortunately for the Knights, the seeing eye hits they had in the first inning became a thing of the past the rest of the game as everything they hit went right at someone. The Tigers would chip away at the Knight lead, scoring 2 runs in the third to tie the game and scored 1 run in the 5th to take a 5-4 lead which held up for the game one win.
by Emily Armentrout
History Hunters holds monthly events hosted by the Wabash County Historical Museum, which allow people to come in and enjoy presentations on history by people who were actually a part of it. For the month of January, basketball legend Clyde Lovellette visited the History Hunters. Lovellette recounted events from his past about playing high school basketball in Indiana, fulfilling a prophecy at Kansas University, winning gold at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, success in the NBA and reaching kids here in Wabash County while working at White’s Family and Residential Services.
Lovellette entered the Wabash County Historical Museum the morning of his presentation, towering over everyone in attendance, standing 6 foot 9 inches tall. One can only imagine what it would be like facing a man with a presence like that on the basketball court, but Lovellette had a smile that let you know he was happy to share his story with the audience.
Lovellette began reminiscing about high school. As a freshman, he stood 6 foot 4, which was unusual back then, according to Lovellette.
“I don’t think there was a kid 6 foot when I was in high school,” Lovellette told The Paper.
With that type of size difference, Lovellette was an awkward teen. Basketball did not come naturally, even with his height.
“In eighth grade, I wasn’t very good, and my freshman year wasn’t good, but I worked all summer long. I was clumsy. Coach had me jumping rope and dancing, which I never liked to do. Anything to get you more agile, on your toes, more like a boxer rather than flat-footed. So my sophomore year was pretty decent,” continued Lovellette.
Junior year was when Lovellette had finally come into his own on the court. He led his basketball team to the state championship, only to lose out to Shelbyville.
His size and ability on the court made waves in the college basketball-scouting universe, and being from Indiana, Indiana University seemed like the choice college for Lovellette. Kansas University Coach Phog Allen had a different plan though. Allen attempted to contact Lovellette multiple times before Lovellette finally gave in and visited the university.
“He gave up a speech in St. Louis to come to me. I was all set to go to IU. I avoided him so much,” said Lovellette.
At one point, he even attempted to convince his parents to lie to Allen when he made a visit to their home.
“Dad and Mom, they wouldn’t lie for me. I went out there and he shared the prophecy… I went out there and met the guys. They were down to earth, the town was beautiful, and I decided to go there.”
The prophecy Allen shared was that if Lovellette joined the team, they would win a NCAA championship and go to the Olympics and win a gold medal, but that story will come a little later.
Lovellette was ineligible to play basketball as a freshman at KU, but he stuck around Lawrence, Kan. the entire year to work on his skills with his teammates. One skill that seemed to come naturally was his hook shot. Time Magazine has called Lovellette’s hook shot “unstoppable.”
“I just had a real knack of looking where the basket is and releasing the ball and just had that nice touch that was pretty accurate and that’s all I shot in college,” Lovellette told The Paper.
Though Lovellette spent almost all of his time at the university, one thing he says he kicks himself for is not applying himself when it came to his education.
“I had to get my education after I got done playing. I received my master’s degree at Ball State and I learned to study more in my master’s program than in my undergraduate classes. I think I wanted to be there and I got grades, and I went to class but I didn’t really apply myself as I should have.”
All his hard work paid off in 1952. The Kansas University Jayhawks won the 1952 NCAA championship, fulfilling the first part of Allen’s prophecy. Lovellette was and is the only basketball player to lead the nation in scoring and win the NCAA championship in the same year.
After winning the championship, Lovellette was playing amateur ball when he and six of his KU teammates were selected to compete in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
“I fault the Olympic committee now for taking all the pros. We played against national teams. Every team we played was supported by their country. They’ve got the pros in there and that reduces the chance for an amateur ball player to win the gold or play in the Olympics,” said Lovellette.
The Americans ended up facing and defeating the Russians for the second time in the games, clinching the gold medal for the United States, and completely fulfilling Allen’s prophecy.
“If you take all of what I have done and all the awards I have won, I think that tops the list. You are representing the United States, not a team or a state, the whole United States. There is no better reward but to represent the United States,” Lovellette said of winning Olympic gold.
After the Olympics, Lovellette was drafted by the Minnesota Lakers, a team with which he won his first of three NBA championships and became the inaugural member of basketball’s “Triple Crown Club,” an accomplishment that never even crossed Lovellette’s mind. The Triple Crown Club is made up of seven basketball players who have won an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, and an Olympic Gold Medal.
“That reward and you buying me a cup of coffee would be the same to me. It’s good to get rewards and be recognized, don’t get me wrong, but winning the gold medal for the United States, that’s important.”
Lovellette also joked that Kobe and Lebron can make all that money, but they’ll never be apart of that club, but awards and accomplishments like the triple crown club or being the only basketball player to lead the nation in scoring and win an NCAA championship in the same or his three NBA championships, his 11,947 points in the NBA or being inducted into multiple hall of fames do not compare to winning a gold medal for the United States in Lovellette’s eyes.
“Gold medal is the best. I keep coming back there,” added Lovellette.
When Lovellette decided to retire, he found himself in multiple job positions before finding his second calling. He went into radio and television announcing, was sheriff of Vigo County and even moved to Massachusetts where he taught history and coached girls’ basketball for a year. Finally, Lovellette ended up at White’s Family and Residential Services. Lovellette found his second calling working with the kids at White’s.
“The greatest experience at White’s is just like the scripture says, you plant seeds. I think the greatest thing we can do is plant seeds for kids who have never heard about the Lord. Their one mindset is bad, but to change a kid around, and you won’t really know. There were a lot of kids who would accept Christ, but you don’t know.”
There is one reward, other than his gold medal, that Lovellette holds in high esteem.
“The greatest reward is when a student calls you down the road and says, ‘Coach, I’m married now, I have kids, I go to church, and I love the Lord.’ That’s the reward later down the road.”
Working with the kids at White’s and his own personal experiences as a student athlete allows Lovellette to leave current students with this advice,
“If you don’t do your academics before basketball, you’re doing an injustice to two things: your family and yourself,” said Lovellette. Basketball is something that is not going to be with you all your life, but the education is going to make you more valuable to society than basketball.”
Lovellette retired from White’s in 1995 and currently resides in North Manchester, where can frequently be seen attending Manchester University basketball games.