Darke County’s top sports stories of 2015


By Kyle Shaner - kshaner@aimmedianetwork.com



Christopher Bell won the NASCAR truck series race at Eldora Speedway.


Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

Versailles alumnus Craig Stammen missed almost the entire 2015 season with an injury.


Photo by Tony Firriolo/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Private First Class Micah Donthnier surprised his sister, Greenville girls soccer player Moreah Donthnier, by returning home from Afghanistan.


Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

Greenville softball player Ally Russell earned all-American honors.


Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

Versailles’ Kyle Ahrens competed against the nation’s top high school dunkers.


Chuck Runner|For The Daily Advocate

Tri-Village graduate Clayton Murphy won a gold medal at the Pan American Games.


Photo courtesy of Dennis Mitchell, University of Akron

The Greenville boys basketball team won its first league championship in 60 years.


Advocate file photo

For the first time in school history Tri-Village fielded a high school football team.


Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

The Versailles girls basketball team won the Division III state championship.


Chuck Runner|For The Daily Advocate

The Tri-Village boys basketball team won the school’s first state championship.


Dale Barger|For The Daily Advocate

DARKE COUNTY – This past year was full of big sports stories in Darke County. Here are 10 of 2015’s biggest sports stories:

1. Tri-Village boys basketball team wins state

The Tri-Village boys basketball team won the first state championship in school history by defeating Canal Winchester Harvest Prep 48-46 in the Division IV championship game. Senior Colton Linkous made the game-winning basket on a fade-away jumper with just 1.2 seconds left to complete the Patriots’ undefeated season.

2. Versailles girls basketball team wins state

A year after falling short in the championship game, the Versailles girls basketball team won the Division III state championship with a 49-46 win against Ottawa-Glandorf. Senior Taylor Winner blocked two shots in the final 13 seconds as the Lady Tigers hung on for the win.

3. Tri-Village starts a high school football program

Tri-Village added football to its high school sports offerings during a public announcement in January. The Patriots, under the direction of veteran coach Jason Schondelmyer, played a junior varsity schedule during their first season of high school football and in September recorded their first victory, a 55-12 win over Northridge.

4. Greenville boys basketball team wins GWOC North

For the first time in 60 years the Greenville boys basketball team won a league championship. The Green Wave won the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division with a 9-1 record. Junior Clay Guillozet was named the GWOC North boys basketball player of the year after leading the GWOC in scoring with 22.4 points per game, and Mike Bashore was named the GWOC North boys basketball coach of the year.

5. Clayton Murphy wins gold at Pan American Games

In the first international competition of his career Tri-Village graduate Clayton Murphy won gold in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:47.19 at the Pan American Games in Toronto. Murphy, who is a junior at the University of Akron, also went on to represent the United States in the 800 meter run at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Track and Field Championships in Beijing, China.

6. Kyle Ahrens competes in national dunk contest

Versailles’ Kyle Ahrens competed against some of the country’s best dunkers on national television in the American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk Championship. Ahrens, who now is a freshman on the Michigan State basketball team, won an online vote to earn a spot in the competition at Carmel High School in Indiana.

7. Ally Russell named an all-American

Greenville senior Ally Russell was named a second team all-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, becoming the second player in Lady Wave history to earn all-American honors. Russell, who also was named a third team all-American in 2013, was one of just 48 players across the nation to receive the all-America honors. Russell, who now plays softball at Wright State, helped lead the Greenville softball team to a No. 1 ranking in the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association poll and within one game of the state final four.

8. Soldier surprises sister

Private First Class Micah Donthnier surprised his sister, Greenville girls soccer player Moreah Donthnier, by returning home from Afghanistan prior to a Lady Wave soccer game in October. After both teams’ rosters were announced, Micah Donthnier walked on to the field for the Star Spangled Banner. His sister, who was standing at midfield, sprinted across the field and embraced her brother as the public address system announced his return home after seven months in Afghanistan with the United States Army.

9. Craig Stammen’s injury

Versailles alumnus Craig Stammen had his season cut short in April after he torn the flexor tendon in his right forearm, which required season-ending surgery to repair. It was the first time in Stammen’s seven-year Major League career that he had to go on the disabled list. Following the season the Washington Nationals declined to offer Stammen a contract, making the relief pitcher a free agent.

10. Eldora Speedway’s big year

There were numerous big stories at Eldora Speedway beginning with the death of Earl Baltes, the founder and longtime promoter of Eldora, at age 93 in March. Christopher Bell won the third annual NASCAR truck series race in Rossburg in July, and in November NASCAR announced it would continue the nationally televised NASCAR race in Rossburg through 2020.

Christopher Bell won the NASCAR truck series race at Eldora Speedway.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Eldora-WEB.jpgChristopher Bell won the NASCAR truck series race at Eldora Speedway. Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

Versailles alumnus Craig Stammen missed almost the entire 2015 season with an injury.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Craig-Stammen-WEB1.jpgVersailles alumnus Craig Stammen missed almost the entire 2015 season with an injury. Photo by Tony Firriolo/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Private First Class Micah Donthnier surprised his sister, Greenville girls soccer player Moreah Donthnier, by returning home from Afghanistan.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Donthnier-WEB.jpgPrivate First Class Micah Donthnier surprised his sister, Greenville girls soccer player Moreah Donthnier, by returning home from Afghanistan. Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

Greenville softball player Ally Russell earned all-American honors.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Ally-Russell-WEB.jpgGreenville softball player Ally Russell earned all-American honors. Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

Versailles’ Kyle Ahrens competed against the nation’s top high school dunkers.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Kyle-Ahrens-WEB.jpgVersailles’ Kyle Ahrens competed against the nation’s top high school dunkers. Chuck Runner|For The Daily Advocate

Tri-Village graduate Clayton Murphy won a gold medal at the Pan American Games.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Clayton-Murphy-WEB.jpgTri-Village graduate Clayton Murphy won a gold medal at the Pan American Games. Photo courtesy of Dennis Mitchell, University of Akron

The Greenville boys basketball team won its first league championship in 60 years.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Greenville-WEB.jpgThe Greenville boys basketball team won its first league championship in 60 years. Advocate file photo

For the first time in school history Tri-Village fielded a high school football team.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Tri-Village-football-WEB.jpgFor the first time in school history Tri-Village fielded a high school football team. Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

The Versailles girls basketball team won the Division III state championship.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Versailles-WEB.jpgThe Versailles girls basketball team won the Division III state championship. Chuck Runner|For The Daily Advocate

The Tri-Village boys basketball team won the school’s first state championship.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/12/web1_Tri-Village-WEB1.jpgThe Tri-Village boys basketball team won the school’s first state championship. Dale Barger|For The Daily Advocate

By Kyle Shaner

kshaner@aimmedianetwork.com

Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.

Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.