GREENVILLE – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”…. Yes, I absolutely plagiarized Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities. I cannot think of a better line to describe how things are now! This year started out with a lot of promise, and then the Covid-19 virus comes along and turns everything upside down. Still, in all of this mayhem, there have been some good things happening. Although almost everything has shut down, it seems our manufacturers and others are coming up with ways to help. This shows the true American spirit! I am sure there are other examples out there, and it seems that now there is more of a coming together to whip this thing, let’s hope that this togetherness continues after all of this!
Everyone has had to sacrifice, but none more than our High School Students and athletes. Their graduations and seasons are postponed, and hopefully, not canceled completely. This is particularly disheartening for three fine young Darke County ladies who achieved a unique milestone this year. This year, Haleigh Behnken, Corina Conley and Maddie Downing were all First Team All-Ohio! This is the first time three Girls basketball players from Darke County have achieved this high honor. Out of forty total athletes across four basketball divisions, an amazing 7.5% are from here!
Haleigh Behnken, a 5’7” senior led the MVL in scoring with a 19.5 season scoring average. She was First Team All-League and she has signed to play her college ball for Edison State. Rachel Kerns was her coach. Coach Kerns said of Haleigh “It has been a lot of fun to be a part of Haleigh’s journey and to see how much she has grown as a player. What a huge award for Haleigh!”
Corina Conley, a 6”0” senior, averaged 20.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She was Cross County Conference Player of the Year. She has signed to play her college basketball for NCAA Division-II Kentucky Wesleyan University. Her coach was Abbey Moore. Coach Moore said of Corina, “Corina is a special kid, she’s had a special career here and I know it will continue at Kentucky Wesleyan”
Maddie Downing, a 6’1” senior, averaged 15.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She was on the 2019-2020 Cross County Conference first team. Maddie is also going to play her college ball at Edison State. Maddie’s coach was Brad Gray. Speaking about Maddie, Coach Gray said “She has been a kid that worked really hard her whole career……in my 14 years as the girls coach at Tri-Village she has exceeded expectations more than any other kid I have coached.”
Edison State’s Basketball future looks very bright by having Haleigh and Maddie play for them, and you can bet Kentucky Wesleyan will be able to continue their excellence (28-3 this year!) with Corina!
The Darke County Commissioners, Mike Rhoades, Matt Aultman and myself, were to have the girls and their coaches to our public session on Wednesday, March 18th for a presentation. We decided that because of the virus, we would postpone the presentation. The “Awards of Excellence” we have for them are still here, and we will be honored to present them as soon as we can. These ladies deserve to be honored. It is the least we could do. It isn’t much, but this award shows them how proud, not only we are, but the entire County and State are of them. We want you ladies to know that your abilities in athletics, and as students and people, are a shining example of the good here in our little corner of the world! Thank you for being the perfect examples of what people can accomplish using their God-given skills, along with hard work, determination, and dedication.
That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines.
Contributing columnist Mike Stegall a 27 year former OHSAA high school football official and current Darke County Commissioner