Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Bicentennial Moment: 'Traveling Through Time' Fairport Athletic Sketches

Fairport Athletic Trivia:
  • The Maloney Sheriffs(local team) beat the Globetrotters in professional basketball in 1942 in the Fairport gym.
  • Esco Sarkkinen played guard on the 1934 Fairport team, was an All-American End for OSU, and coached linemen from 1946-1978 for legendary Buckeye coach Woody Hayes.
  • Despite not having a track, Skipper Mike Thomas set a state meet record of 14.3 seconds in the high hurdles in 1965.
  • Two other Fairport Hurdlers, Mike Lipscomb and Dave Urban competed in the state meet that same year.
  • Fairport was the first of only three Lake County boys basketball teams to reach the state tournament since its inception in 1923.  That team was the 1941-42 squad.
  • Tom Orosz '77 punted for the NFL Dolphins & 49'ers in the 1980's.
  • Fairport has produced state championship teams in baseball, track, basketball and football dating back to the early 1900's.
  • Hali Butler earned All-Ohio honors in football and girls basketball in 2011-2012.  She is also a member of the track team. 
Elmer 'Yatch' O'Janpa - Class of 1937 This Hall of Famer worked at Harding High as a custodian until 1980.  He coached championship football in Fairport as well as in the Cleveland Muni League.  His nephew Alan ('50) was quarterback and a part of the Class B championship team that year.  Elmer was a self taught basketball player and was a member of the team that beat the Globetrotters in 1941.

Baseball in 1907 - Fairport had a championship baseball team in 1907 and 1908.  Games were played on the field at the corner of East and Second.  Many members of that team went on to professional success.  John Cooper later played with the White Sox. Arthur McCrone played with Duluth and the Red Sox.

Chet Rojeck - Spent ten years at Fairport beginning in 1956. He was a football and track coach and led the Skippers to three state championships in his tenure.  He also taught at Orange and Euclid before retiring in 1979.  As a retiree, he took a job with Mini-gym and designed his own workout machine - the pull-up trainer.  Chet is also a member of the Harding Hall of Fame.

Esko Sarkkinen - Class of 1934  A Harding Hall of Famer, 'Sark' was an All-Ohio guard at Fairport, All-American end at OSU, and coached linemen for legendary Buckeye Coach Woody Hayes from 1946-1978.

First Professional Ball Team -  Fairport's first Trolley League entry, 1904, played on the south shore of Lake Erie from Buffalo to Toledo.   The team played on Sunday afternoons and were once even arrested for violating Sunday Blue Laws.

Paul Kapostasy - Class of 1966  This multiple sport Hall of Famer earned a scholarship to Ohio University and was a member of the 1969 Tangerine Bowl squad.  He coached, taught, and served as an administrator for 38 years in Euclid and Perry.

Cecile M. Hazen - The first girl's basketball coach at Harding High.  The team went 13-4 in its inaugural year and won a championship in 1923.  Some members of that team included Mary Royal, Martha Braski and Margaret Chanfordy.

Colgrove's Marinettes -  Sponsored by the local Drugstore owner, Colgrove's community girls basketball team was formed in 1925.  The team traveled throughout the counties and earned several championships.

The 'Skippies' -  This bantam weight football team was formed in 1956.  Mel Fundermark '49 was the first coach.  Other coaches included Paul Locotosh, Elmer O'Janpa, Bob Myers and Denny Steinback.  The team won a national championship in New Jersey in 1960.

Today's blog is but a brief sampling of Fairport's athletic history.  Its success is lengthy and this little town of approximately 3000 residents has a history of being at the forefront of athletic excellence.  A Bicentennial Program will be presented on March 22nd at 7pm in the Harding High Auditorium.  School History and Athletic Profiles will be the topic.  Alum Mike Thomas will be a featured presenter.  All are invited.

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