MANSFIELD -- We didn't get to see the area's top athletes this spring, but they put on a show for us the first two sports seasons this year.
Thanks to our friends at Richland Bank, we'd like to spotlight those individuals who earned top honors for their athletic accomplishments as the season unfolded.
Below, we recap the Athletes of the Week over 31 weeks and present the Athletes of the Year in each sport, as well as the Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
Athletes of the Week
Week 1: Taylor Huff, Madison: A junior and three-time All-American, Huff scored two goals and added an assist in Madison’s season-opening 3-1 win over Richland County rival Clear Fork. Huff would lead the Rams to the Division II state championship match and was selected Ohio’s Division II Player off the Year. She was also our Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year.
Week 2: Caleb Brown, Shelby: The senior set the table for a memorable cross country season with a dominant win at the Seneca East Tiger Cross Country Classic, winning the big-school division in 15 minutes, 18.15 seconds. Brown, who won Division II state championships in the 1,600 and 3,200 last spring, captured the Division II cross country title in the fall and finished third at the Nike Cross Country Nationals in Portland, Oregon in early-December. He will run collegiately at the University of Wisconsin. He was also the Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Week 3: Brienne Trumpower, Ontario: Just a freshman, Trumpower raced to an overwhelming victory at the Ashland Cross Country Invitational. Her winning time of 19 minutes, 19.1 seconds was nearly 30 seconds better than the runner-up. Trumpower finished 22nd individually at the Division II state meet.
Week 4: McGwire Albert, Shelby: A senior quarterback, Albert threw for 262 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-14 Week 2 win over Richland County rival Lexington. Albert threw for 2,086 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 626 yards and 9 TDs during the regular season, leading the Whippets to the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference championship. Shelby reached the second round of the Division IV playoffs before falling to eventual state champ Clyde in regional semifinals.
Week 5: Halle Hamilton, Lexington: A junior, Hamilton won an individual championship at the Galion Cross Country Festival in 18 minutes, 20.3 seconds. Hamilton placed third individually at the Division II state meet, leading Lady Lex to its third straight state team title. A week earlier, Hamilton won the Tiffin regional title in 17 minutes, 55.10 seconds. She was also our Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Week 6: Marek Albert, Shelby: A junior defensive end and the younger brother of Shelby quarterback McGwire Albert, Marek had six sacks in a 42-7 win over Ontario. He led the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference with 14 sacks during the regular season and was an All-Ohio first team pick in Division IV.
Week 7: Angelo Grose, Mansfield Senior: A Michigan State recruit, Grose caught 10 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns and had 13 tackles, including a pair of sacks, in Mansfield Senior’s 21-14 regular season win over Sandusky. The teams would meet again in the Division III regional finals and Grose scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Ohio’s Division III Defensive Player of the Year, Grose led Senior High to a state runner-up finish. He was also our Offensive Football Player of the Year.
Week 8: Nicole Jones, Shelby: A sophomore, Jones carded a 77 at the Division II district tournament at Sycamore Springs a week after shooting a 65 for medalist honors at the Valley View sectional. She was seventh at the Division II state tournament with a two-day total of 146.
Week 9: Trevor Dials, Lexington: The junior shot a 3-over 75 at the Division I district tournament at Sycamore Springs, earning one of the two individual state tournament berths up for grabs and becoming the first Lexington boy to qualify for state in more than 30 years. Dials carded a two-day total of 168 at state, tying for 48th.
Week 10: Mandy Ruminski, Lexington: The junior shot a two-day 144 at the Division I girls state, good for sixth place. Ruminski moved to Lexington after leading Shelby to the Division II state tournament as a freshman and sophomore. She finished second at both the sectional and district tournaments. She was also our Girls Golf Athlete of the Year.
Week 11: Chesney Davis, Madison: After scoring just three goals during the season, Davis scored two goals in Madison’s 4-3 win over Richland County rival Ontario in the Division II district final match in the rain and mud at Lexington High School. Davis would help the Rams reach the Division II state final.
Week 12: Braxton Tate, Galion: The senior finished third at the Division II state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway, crossing the line in 15 minutes, 45.8 seconds. A three-time state qualifier, Tate was ninth as a junior. He’ll run collegiately at Kent State.
Week 13: Blaine Bowman, Shelby: A sophomore receiver, Bowman caught three passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns as the Whippets rallied for a 31-21 win over Edison in the opening round of the Division IV playoffs. Bowman was Shelby’s leading receiver, hauling in 30 passes for 463 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season. His 15.4 yards per catch average ranked among the best in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.
Week 14: Tommy Zirzow, Lucas: The senior rushed for 257 yards and five touchdowns on 33 carries as the Cubs knocked off Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas 35-21 in the Division VII, Region 25 semifinals. He finished with 1,946 yards and 22 touchdowns on 308 carries, earning a spot on the All-Ohio third team and helping Lucas reach the Division VII state championship game.
Week 15: Ty’Lheir Grose, Mansfield Senior: A powerful 6-foot-3, 280-pound two-way lineman, Grose threw the key block for cousin Angelo Grose on the game-winning touchdown in overtime against Sandusky. Grose, who will play for Lackawanna Junior College in Pennsylvania, had five tackles in the state final against Trotwood-Madison and blocked a potential game-winning field goal at the end of regulation. The Tygers lost 14-7 in overtime.
Week 16: Riley Mounts, Lucas: Mounts caught the game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining as the Cubs rallied for a 15-12 win over Harvest Prep in the Division VII state semifinals. It was just Mounts’ second touchdown of the season and came on a play that Lucas coach Scott Spitler drew up during a timeout moments earlier.
Week 17: Carson Hauger, Lucas: An athletic senior jack-of-all-trades, Hauger set a state championship game record when he returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in Lucas’ 28-6 loss to Marion Local in the state finals. It was the first ever kickoff return for a touchdown in a Division VII state championship game. Hauger also had six tackles and an interception on defense and caught two passes for 22 yards on offense.
Week 20: Gabby Stover, Lexington: A senior, Stover recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee to lead Lady Lex to the Ohio Cardinal Conference championship. She averaged 13.3 points and 7.1 rebounds a game and was selected the OCC Player of the Year. She was an All-Ohio special mention selection in Division II.
Week 21: Josh Lyons, Mansfield Senior: A senior, Lyons won the 132-pound championship at the 58th J.C. Gorman Invitational. He was 5-0 on the weekend and capped it with a 6-5 win in the finals over defending champ Howard Williams of East Liverpool. Lyons was 44-3 on the season and qualified for the state meet, which was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Week 22: Lily Weeks, Lexington: The junior won two individual events and was on a winning relay team as Lady Lex took second at the Ohio Cardinal Conference swim meet. Weeks won the 200 yard individual medley and the 100 yard breaststroke and was a member of the winning 200 medley relay team. She’s also a key member of Lexington’s three-time defending state championship cross country team.
Week 23: Riley Gossom, Lucas: A 6-foot-3 junior shooting guard, Gossom scored 21 points in a 53-50 win over Ontario. For the season, Gossom averaged a team-high 21.3 points a game as the Cubs won their second straight Mid-Buckeye Conference crown.
Week 24: Avery Coleman, Lexington: A 6-foot-1 junior post player, Coleman was a big reason why Lady Lex won the Ohio Cardinal Conference championship. She combined for 29 points in a pair of wins as Lexington awoke from a mid-season slump with wins over Clear Fork and West Holmes. Coleman was an OCC first team pick.
Week 25: Roger Merrell, Mansfield Senior: Known primarily as a spot-up shooter, Merrell showed off his versatility in a 50-40 win over Mount Vernon with 16 points and four rebounds. Merrell averaged a team-high 15 points a game while connecting on 43 3-pointers as Mansfield Senior reached the district tournament.
Week 26: Jessie Grover, Lucas: A versatile 5-foot-8 senior forward and four-year starter, Grover scored 23 points in a 66-17 win over Mansfield Christian as the Cubs won a share of the Mid-Buckeye Conference championship. It was the first conference crown for Lucas since 1985. Grover averaged 16.5 points a game and is the program’s career scoring leader.
Week 27: Emma Randall, Shelby: The 6-foot guard scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Whippets upset previously-unbeaten Bellevue than added 19 points and 10 rebounds in a 51-38 win over Mansfield Senior. Randall averaged 13.6 points and 5.5 rebounds, helping the Whippets to the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference championship. She was an All-Ohio third team pick in Division II and our girls basketball athlete of the year. She was also our Girls Basketball Athlete of the Year.
Week 28: Andrew Hathaway, Lexington: A senior, Hathaway helped the Minutemen to a surprising eighth-place finish at the Division II state swim meet. Hathaway was a member of all three of Lexington’s podium-finishing relay teams and placed 15th individually in the 100 yard freestyle.
Week 29: Shaquan Coburn, Ontario: The 6-foot-2 senior guard scored 27 points as the Warriors knocked off Richland County rival Lexington 58-49 in the Division II sectional finals. Coburn was 8-for-14 from the field with three 3-pointers. He averaged 14.1 points a game.
Week 30: Nate Barrett, Madison: A junior, Barrett rebounded from a midseason injury to win the 160-pound title at the Division II Norwalk district and qualify for the state meet. Barrett finished the season 30-4 after the state wrestling meet was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Week 31: Ethan Wallace, Lucas: An undersized 5-foot-10 forward, Wallace scored 13 points as Lucas knocked off McDonald 47-45 in the Division IV regional semifinals at the Canton Memorial Field House. After a slow start, Wallace scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Cubs opened an eight-point lead going to the fourth. Lucas was the only basketball team in the area still playing when the season was canceled because of the coronavirus.
"Congratulations to all the athletes. You have worked hard and excelled. You've made our community proud!" - The Team at Richland Bank
Athletes of the Year
⭐ Co-Athlete of the Year for Boys Golf: Spencer Keller, Galion: A junior, Keller helped power Galion to a sixth-place finish in the team standings at the Division II state golf tournament, Keller carded a two-day 157, good for a tie for 10th and a spot on the All-Ohio team.
⭐ Co-Athlete of the Year for Boys Golf: Matthew McMullen, Galion: Also a junior, McMullen matched teammate Spencer Keller with a 157 at the Division II state golf tournament and a 10th-place finish.
⭐ Athlete of the Year for Girls Golf: Mandy Ruminski, Lexington: Ruminski was our Week 10 Athlete of the Week. Read her bio above.
⭐ Athlete of the Year for Boys Cross Country: Caleb Brown, Shelby: Brown was our Week 2 Athlete of the Week. Read his bio above.
⭐ Athlete of the Year for Girls Cross Country: Halle Hamilton, Lexington: Hamilton was our Week 5 Athlete of the Week. Read her bio above.
⭐ Athlete of the Year for Boys Soccer: Ryan Parker, Lexington: A junior midfielder on Lexington’s state semifinal-qualifying boys soccer team, Parker scored 33 goals and added 20 assists. The Minutemen reached the Final Four in Division II for the first time since 2011 and Lexington’s 21 wins set a program record. Parker was an All-Ohio first team pick and an United Soccer Coaches All-America selection.
⭐ Athlete of the Year for Girls Soccer: Taylor Huff, Madison: Huff was our Week 1 Athlete of the Week. Read her bio above.
⭐ Athlete of the Year for Volleyball: Taylor Keeran, Galion: A 6-foot-1 middle hitter, Keeran led the Galion volleyball team to its third straight Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and its first district title since 2005. Keeran had 280 kills and 78 blocks. She will play at Division II Carson-Newman University in Tennessee.
⭐ Athlete of the Year for Football on Offense: Angelo Grose, Mansfield Senior: Grose was our Week 7 Athlete of the Week. Read his bio above.
⭐ Athlete of the Year for Football on Defense: Anthony Hawkins, Mansfield Senior: A 6-foot-1, 285-pound two-way lineman, Hawkins was a dominant force along the defensive line as Mansfield Senior reached the Division III state championship game. The senior had 74 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and five sacks. He will play collegiately at Division I Bowling Green State University.
⭐ Athlete of the Year in Wrestling: Caden Hill, Crestview: An athletic senior, Hill was the top-ranked 285-pound wrestler in Division III and was a favorite to win a state title has the state tournament not been canceled because of the ongoing health crisis. Hill was 45-1 on the season, his only loss coming to an out-of-state wrestler at the prestigious Walsh Jesuit Ironman Wrestling Tournament in mid-December.
⭐ Athlete of the Year in Boys Basketball: Logan Niswander, Lucas: A 6-foot-3 senior, Niswander combined with Riley Gossom to make up the most prolific scoring combo in north central Ohio. Niswander averaged 19.7 points a game during the regular season and passed 2000 graduate Elijah Foss to become the program’s career scoring leader during the postseason. He’ll graduate with 1,335 points and was an All-Ohio first team pick in Division IV.
⭐ Athlete of the Year in Girls Basketball: Emma Randall, Shelby: Randall was our Week 27 Athlete of the Week. Read her bio above.
"Congratulations to all the Athletes of the Year. You excelled at the highest levels, and made our community proud!" - The Team at Richland Bank
Female Athlete of the Year
🏆 Taylor Huff, Madison: A junior, Huff raised the bar even higher last fall, leading the Rams to the Division II state championship game. Madison fell to Kettering Alter 2-0 in the state final at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus. Huff matched her career high with 34 goals and established a new career single-season mark with 26 assists. In three years, Huff has scored 99 goals and has 66 assists. She is on pace to become Madison’s career scoring leader and the state’s career assists leader. She is a three-time All-American and was selected Ohio’s Division II Player of the Year last fall. Huff qualified for the Division I state track meet in the 400 meter dash last spring, her first varsity track season. She already has committed to play soccer at the University of Tennessee.
Male Athlete of the Year
🏆 Logan Niswander, Lucas: A senior, Niswander will graduate as arguably the best three-sport athlete in Lucas history. He quarterbacked the football team to the Division VII state championship game and was an All-Ohio first team pick in Division VII as a defensive back. He was an All-Ohio first team pick in Division IV during the basketball season, leading the Cubs to the regional championship game before the rest of the tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. With 1,335 points, he is the basketball program’s career scoring leader. He will play football at Division II Ashland University.