by Eric Stearley
It was better late than never for Ryan Driscoll as he won Grand Champion Crossbred Classic Boar on Aug. 17, the final day of the 2014 Indiana State Fair.
I knew he was pretty good, but not that good,” Driscoll said about his six-month-old prizewinning boar. His pedigree was pretty nice, and his bone size for being how young he is.”
The 15-year-old said he’s been showing pigs for as long as he can remember. Son of Matt and Angie Driscoll, Ryan is the youngest of four children.
In addition to first and second place barrow, Ryan showed the Reserve Grand Champion Gilt at this year’s county fair. He’s seen success at the state fair in past years, picking up first places each of the last three years and showing the Division 2 Champion Crossbred Guilt in 2012. This year’s state fair, however, was his first time showing boars.
“The State Fair is the best show I’ve ever shown at easily,” said Driscoll, “and yes, it’s intimidating, because you’re going up against the best of the best.”
Driscoll’s Grand Champion sold to Crossroads Genetics, a boar stud. With a change of name by the new owners, he is now known as Young Gun, but when he won it all at the State Fair, he was Johnny Legend, a name Ryan came up with.
by Eric Stearley
Years of hard work are paying off for two young Manchester Aquatic Club swimmers. Halle Briner, 10, and Grant Dale, 11, are headed to the Natatorium in Indianapolis this weekend to compete in the three-day Indiana Age Group State Swim Meet, which begins Friday, March 14.
A fifth grader at Manchester Intermediate School, it will be Halle’s second trip to the state competition. She is the daughter of Craig and Nikki Briner. Craig is also the Manchester Aquatic Club head coach.
A fifth grader at Sharp Creek Elementary School, it will be Grant’s third appearance at state. He is the son of Greg and Rhonda Dale. Greg is the Wabash High School Swim Team head coach.
If it weren’t for their size, one could easily mistake Grant and Halle for high school swimmers. During practice, they’re focused, moving smoothly and swiftly through the water with near perfect form. At the pool’s edge, however, it doesn’t take long to realize that the two are simply young kids with exceptional talent. They joke and play around between sets, splashing each other occasionally, doing the things that 10 and 11 year olds do in a swimming pool. Laughter comes easily when they’re not trying to catch their breath, but when Coach Craig says, “go,” it’s back to business.
“It’s a long season, and a lot of kids anymore just don’t have the dedication or work ethic to do it,” said Craig. “It’s tough coming in six straight months, three or four times a week.”
Briner knows firsthand the dedication that it takes to be a top-level swimmer. A state competitor in high school, he still holds the 200-yard freestyle record for Manchester High School, a record he set as a freshman in 1990.
“They’re getting older, swimming some more 200s and a few 500s,” said Briner. “If they’re not swimming 4000-4500 yards, they don’t have the endurance to do it.”
Late in the season, the young athletes start to see their three-mile practice regimen pay off. Both swimmers will be competing in multiple events at the competition this weekend. A bit of luck comes into play with Age Group swimming, as birthdays determine the competition groups. Halle got lucky, as her 11th birthday falls the week after state. She will be competing in every event offered against the best 9 and 10 year olds in Indiana.
“It’s really fun, because I win a lot,” said Halle.
Grant is not so lucky. He turned 11 just weeks before this year’s state competition, pushing him into the much stronger 11-12 year old division. Still, he was able to qualify for state in three events, the 50 yard butterfly, 50 yard backstroke, and 50 yard freestyle.
“It’s tough because you’re not used to them,” said Grant. “You’re always used to winning a lot of your events, and it’s really tough to do that now.”
Qualifying for state as a barely-11-year-old means that Grant will likely be a top competitor when he competes as a 12 year old. At the last state swim meet, Grant made it to the medal podium, finishing 8th in the 100 backstroke.
Swimming at the Natatorium in Indianapolis is an exciting experience for any young swimmer. Several U.S. Olympic Team Trials have been held at the massive facility. Both swimmers remember their first time swimming in the iconic pool.
“It was really big,” said Halle.
“It was pretty cool, because Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps, that’s where they got into the Olympics at,” added Grant.
The two young swimmers enjoy traveling around the state to compete throughout the year. They particularly like the pool at Fort Wayne’s South Side High School. Grant’s favorite pool is in Huntington, where he got his first state cut, swimming faster than the minimum qualifying time. They’re both excited to see the new MAC record board put up in the Strauss-Peabody Aquatic and Fitness Center, where the club holds practice. Halle will have six records on the board, while Grant will have two. Right now, however, the only thing they’re focused on is state.
“We just want to meet our goals,” said Grant.
Being at the top of her age group, Halle is looking for a spot on the podium. Grant knows that at his young age, he probably won’t be a top competitor this year, but he’ll be able to get more experience competing in his new age group. In addition to state cuts, both swimmers have qualified for the Zone competition in the past, a multi-state event that brings swimmers from more than 13 states together in competition.
Spending as much time together as they do, Grant and Halle have become good friends. They are also very competitive. After asking Grant if Halle ever beats him, a debate quickly unfolded.
“Only in the breaststroke,” said Grant.
“Oh, sure!” Halle shot back.
“I whip her in everything else,” Grant continued.
“I’m still beating you by 1/100th (of a second) in the 50 breast,” said Halle.
As a small team from a small town, Manchester Aquatic Club doesn’t have the depth of the state’s larger programs. At this point in the season, they have about a dozen swimmers at any given practice. Teams in Indianapolis consistently have more than 300. Swimming, however, is an individual sport, and team size and strength doesn’t hold swimmers back. Briner has high hopes for the swimmers down the road.
“If you’re looking at doing something in college, swimming is still a sport that, if you’re very good, you’ve got a really good shot at having a college look at you,” said Briner. “If you just want to have it be on you, swimming is the way to do it.”
When asked if they would swim in high school, Halle quickly said, “yes,” while Grant answered, “questionable.” As a future Northfield student, Grant would be only the third Norseman to represent his school in the water, and would likely practice with another team.
But high school and college are still a long way off for the young swimmers. For now, they’re focused on preparing for this weekend’s Age Group State Swim Meet.
by Emily Armentrout
On Saturday, Aug. 23, Wabash City Schools held the inaugural induction ceremony for the Wabash City Schools Hall of Distinction, inducting 13 former graduates and four non Wabash High School graduates. These members were inducted “in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in life, dedicated service to others, enriching the history of Wabash City Schools and maintaining the highest standard of conduct and character.”
“The committee felt like there have been people who have had incredible influences, like Mark Honeywell, that should be in the Hall of Distinction. We span 145 years of our history. John Olsen graduated from Northwestern University but he didn’t graduate from high school. If you said we were only going to honor those who graduated from the high school then I think we were going to limit some people,” explained Wabash City Schools Superintendent, Jason Callahan.
With the long history of Wabash High School and the recent creation of the Wabash High School Athletic Hall of Fame, WCS felt like they were missing people who had profound influences on the school and the city of Wabash in only honoring athletics.
The ceremony began with a welcome from WCS Superintendent Jason Callahan, with the National Anthem sung and a performance by Symphonic Voices. The ceremony was followed by a reception and tour of Wabash High School.
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of nine articles outlining each of the proposed projects included in this year’s Stellar Communities application. With all nine projects scheduled for completion within the next four years, there are a lot of changes coming to Wabash in the near future. We wanted to look into each of these projects to better explain what the Stellar Communities designation means for Wabash.
by Eric Stearley
Wabash is now a Stellar Community. With the wait over and the anxiety gone, there is a lot of work to be done.
“We realized as soon as we exhaled that the real work was starting,” said Marketplace’s Patrick Sullivan following the announcement.
Some of the first changes residents are likely to see will be streetscape and connectivity improvements coming to downtown.
“These improvements will activate underutilized public space and restore aging streetscape through new pavement, curbs, and sidewalks,” the Stellar application outlines.
The project will focus on Market Street, part of Canal Street, and Allen Street, which connects the two near Paradise Spring Historical Park. The biggest change will be the conversion of Market and Canal Streets east of Wabash Street into two-way streets.
“One of the issues we have with fully utilizing Paradise Spring Historical Park and the museum and some other opportunities down there is the fact that it’s so difficult for out-of-towners to find because of one-way streets,” said Economic Development Group CEO Bill Konyha. “You’ll actually be able to turn right on Market Street and go to the museum, instead of having to make three right turns; same with Paradise Spring. You can go to Paradise Spring by going down either Market or Canal Street, and you’ll be able to leave Paradise Spring by taking either Canal or Market Street.”
by Eric Stearley
In this year’s election cycle, both Manchester Community Schools and the Metropolitan School District of Wabash County have open seats on their school boards. Manchester has 4 of 7 seats open, and MSD has two seats open on its board of five. When the deadline came and filing closed on Friday, Aug. 22, there were eight total candidates, four from each district.
There is some competition for positions on the MSD school board, which will see a new face in at least one of its two seats up for election. Vice President Ryan Rosen from the Northwest District is not seeking reelection, and two candidates, Todd Dazey and Jeffrey N. Snyder, hope to take his spot. President Matthew P. Driscoll from the Northeast District has filed for reelection, with Bradley A. Fleck looking to take his seat. Seats held by Troy Baer (Northwest District), John Gouveia (Northeast District), and Kevin Bowman (Southern District) are not up for election this year.
School board election rules prohibit more than two board members from a single district. With Gouveia and Baer already on the board, there is only one seat open for candidates from each district. This breaks the four-man field into two head-to-head races. Dazey will battle Snyder for the Northwest District seat, and Fleck will challenge sitting President Driscoll for the Northeast District seat.
In North Manchester, it appears this year’s election will be little more than a formality, with four incumbents running unopposed. President Sally Krouse filed to run in the Chester District, and Secretary Nathan Trump will run in Pleasant District. Timothy McLaughlin looks to once again represent the Town District, as does Brian Schilling. Seats held by Vice President Steve Flack, Byron Brunn, and Brady Burgess are not up for election this year. Barring any unforeseen developments, the Manchester school board will emerge from the Nov. 4 elections unchanged.
Polls open at 6 a.m. on Nov. 4 and will be open until 6 p.m.