Excellence in Athletics

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle Twelve former Grove City High School athletes spanning six decades were inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 25. Not pictured are Lori Rutan, who lives in Iowa and Mike Gregg, who passed away in 2005. His brother (third from the left on the bottom row) accepted the award of his behalf.
Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Twelve former Grove City High School athletes spanning six decades were inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 25. Not pictured are Lori Rutan, who lives in Iowa and Mike Gregg, who passed away in 2005. His brother (third from the left on the bottom row) accepted the award of his behalf.

With its rich history of athletic excellence, the members of the Grove City High School Hall of Fame committee had a monumental task before them as they debated which former student athletes to induct into the class of 2016.

For months, the committee held meetings and spent countless hours poring over the long list of accomplishments of each individual nominated. Chairman Tom Rutan said it was a challenge to select just a handful out of all of the nominees, but he feels as if they chose a very good class.

“This is an incredible bunch of athletes who truly excelled at their sport,” said Rutan. “They broke existing records and left school records in their wake.

“These individuals truly set the standards for other people to try to achieve.”

The athletes selected for the 2016 Hall of Fame Class are:

Dave Ball, who is considered to be one of the finest basketball players to play for the school. Ball scored 548 points in a single season and averaged 13 rebounds a game. He was even selected as the Most Valuable Player for the 1970 team which had a record of 22-1.

Mike Chinn, an accomplished wrestler who had an overall won-loss record of 83-3 during his time playing for the Greyhounds. As a sophomore, Chinn placed third in the district wrestling tournament and won the district championship as a junior and senior. He is also noted for becoming the first wrestling state champion at the school during his senior year.

Charisse Crews, who was dubbed the “First Lady of Basketball for GCHS” amassed a plethora of accolades during her time on the hardwood. She earned First Team All-Ohio honors in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and was named the Ohio Capital Conference and Central District Player in the Year in 1999 and 2000. She also helped lead her team to a district championship in 2001 and four consecutive league titles during her career.

Joe East, who is the school’s only two-time state wrestling champion. After a successful career at Grove City, East went on to wrestle at the University of Oklahoma and even became a member of the U.S. Pan American Greco-Roman Wrestling team in 1979.

Lorraine Ferret, who was the first All-Star girls’ basketball player at the school. In 1979, Ferret set the record for both points scored (44) and rebounds snatched (33) in a single game.

She went on to play professionally in Italy and Switzerland, where she won the Swiss scoring title four times and the Swiss Championship Swiss Cup Title in 1987.

Mike Gregg, a multi-sport star athlete who earned all-league and all-district honors in basketball, baseball and football during his time at the school. In his senior year, Gregg helped lead the Greyhounds to the District Championship in basketball and led the team in scoring and set a central district tournament record scoring 113 points in six tournament games.

Richard Hagedorn, a captain of the basketball team who led his team to their first league championship in the school’s history (1952-54). Hagedorn went on to earn an athletic scholarship at The Ohio State University after leaving his mark at Grove City.

Carol Miller, a three-sport athlete who earned four varsity letters in basketball, softball and volleyball and was even named captain in each of those sports.

Lori Rutan, a noted gymnast who also participated in cheerleading and track and field. As a gymnast, Rutan was selected as the All-OCC, All-District and All-State in her respective fields during her sophomore and junior years. She even qualified for the National Junior Olympics in both gymnastics and track and field.

Lou Willard, a noted four-year starter at tailback for the football team who earned a scholarship to play at OSU. During his time at GCHS, Willard helped lead the team to a 33-4 win/loss record with three playoff appearances.

Jim Workman, a basketball and baseball star who held the scoring title in the annuals of the school’s basketball lore for many years. Workman played in the first GCHS team to go undefeated (18-0 in 1960-61) during the regular season.

Pat O’Conner, a dual threat at basketball and baseball, was named the recipient of the inaugural Career Achievement Award for his long-standing work in Minor League Baseball.

Throughout his three decades working in the league where he held positions of Assistant General Manager, General Manager, and then President and CEO, O’Conner has overseen the successful negotiation of three successive Professional Baseball Agreements with Major League Baseball and helped define the relationship between the two entities.

Rutan noted that O’Conner also received the Allen H. (Bud) Selig Award for his work in the promotion of equal opportunities for minorities in the field of athletics and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the United Athletes Foundation for his work in making a positive difference to communities around the world.

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