DARKE COUNTY – A pair of seniors who competed at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state championships are The Daily Advocate’s winter sports athletes of the year.
The Daily Advocate’s 2015-16 winter sports athletes of the year are Mississinawa Valley boys bowler Joe Teeter and Versailles girls swimmer Lexi Fliehman.
Teeter won the first state championship in Mississinawa Valley history when he won the OHSAA Division II boys bowling title. The MV senior rolled games of 216, 276 and 256 for a 748 series, the highest ever for Division II and second highest in state tournament history.
“It’s just been fantastic,” said Mississinawa Valley bowling coach Joe Teeter, who also is Teeter’s father. “It’s certainly a coach’s dream to have a boy that performs as well as he has. He did a lot of growing this year from last year in his self-control, which was a really big plus in his performance.”
Teeter bowled well throughout the entire season with an average of 195.7 per game. He finished fourth in the sectional tournament to qualify for districts and finished sixth at districts to qualify for state.
“He just did so well all the time,” Coach Teeter said. “It’s just been a joy to watch him bowl here the last half of the season. Once he settled in and got comfortable with his game, it’s just been great.”
Teeter was a three-time district qualifier, but he really improved his game this year, Coach Teeter said, because of a new-found confidence.
“His self-control, self-confidence, it was just a tremendous difference,” Coach Teeter said. “You wouldn’t know he was the same kid in some respects just because of how much he’s grown.”
Teeter was welcomed home from his state championship victory with firetrucks, an ambulance and about 50 to 60 cars. He credits his family, school and community for helping him reach his lofty goals of winning state.
“He tells them that it’s their championship, not just his,” Coach Teeter said. “He says that because of the great amount of support he got. The outpouring of support was tremendous.”
For a fourth consecutive season Fliehman qualified for the state swim meet. This season she finished 12th in the state in the 100 yard freestyle, was part of Versailles’ fifth place 200 yard freestyle relay team and was part of the 15th place 200 yard medley relay team.
“Being named an OHSAA all-Ohio swimmer is an extremely high honor, and Lexi has received this honor for the past four years,” Versailles swim coach Penny Cromwell said.
To be named all-Ohio, swimmers must place in the top 16 of their event at the OHSAA state meet. The Versailles senior also was named an all-Lima area swimmer in each year of her high school career.
Fliehman was a freestyle sprinter who focused on the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle this year.
At the Coldwater Invitational, which is the unofficial Midwest Athletic Conference meet, she broke the meet record in the 100 yard freestyle and the 200 yard freestyle. She broke her own school record in the 50 yard freestyle at the state preliminary meet. She also was on the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay teams that hold school records.
“Her dedication to the sport of swimming is admirable,” Cromwell said. “Lexi is a hard worker and never complains about practicing. Watch for Lexi next year at Miami University as she will be a part of the girls swim team there. We will miss Lexi next year.”