Fairmont High School’s run to the 2009 Division I baseball regional final was Kent Drake’s first as the Firebirds head coach. Fairmont upset Cincinnati Elder, then top-ranked Lakota West before falling to Cincinnati Moeller.
“That was a heck of a way to start your career,” reflected Drake, who resigned this week as Fairmont’s baseball coach.
Drake, 41, is married to former Fairmont girls head basketball coach Lacy (Romine) Drake and cited a growing young family as the main reason for his resignation. He’ll remain at the high school as a business teacher.
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Fairmont was a combined 158-151 under Drake, a graduate of small-school football, basketball and baseball power Convoy Crestview. Fairmont tied Beavercreek and Centerville for the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division title in 2016, which also was the Firebirds’ last winning season (19-10). He also was Bellbrook’s head baseball coach and the Fairmont JV coach.
“I think the program will be left in good hands,” Drake said. “Almost all of the assistant coaches are former (Fairmont) players. There’s no better complement than that; guys want to come back and work here and give back to the school district.”
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Fairmont was had a spike in coaching turnover in recent years. Soccer coaches Gregg Klein (girls) and Neil Craft (boys) are in their first seasons as head coaches. Kenny Molz succeeds Blair Albright as Fairmont’s boys basketball coach for this coming season and Jeremy Finn enters his second season as the girls basketball coach.
“We certainly had success with that (baseball) program and we’re excited about the next phase of what Firebird baseball will look like,” athletic director Chris Weaver said. “It’s always exciting to find the next Frank Baxter.”
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Baxter is among the dean of Fairmont coaches, having served as the head wrestling coach for more than 20 seasons. The Fairmont baseball position has been posted internally and with the Ohio High School Athletic Association job openings. Contact Weaver for more information.
• Springboro’s Jordan Gilkison has made a strong start to the boys golf season. The junior defended his Lakota East Invitational title on Monday and followed up by being the medalists of the Oakwood Invite on Tuesday.
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Gilkison shot a 3-under 69 at Wetherington Country Club in West Chester to top the Lakota East field. Tying for second was Centerville’s Will Owen (70). Moeller (288) won the team title, Centerville (299) was third and Springboro (315) was ninth.
Gilkison torched Dayton Country Club for a 5-under 65 and medalist honors in the Oakwood Invite. Lakota East won the event (292), Springboro was third (306) and host Oakwood Blue was fourth (309).
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Gilkison is the younger brother of former Springboro golf standouts Jake and Josh Gilkison. Jake Gilkison wrapped up a four-season career at the University of Dayton last fall. Josh Gilkison is a junior player at Kent State.
• The Beavercreek girls soccer team continues to reap recognition. The defending Division I state champion, Beavercreek was listed No. 4 in the nation this week by Topdrawersoccer.com, a national ranking site.
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The Beavers were one of six Ohio teams to be listed among the top 50. Other ranked Ohio teams were Twinsburg (No. 13), Medina (No. 15), Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit (No. 24), Lakota West (No. 27) and Cincinnati Country Day (No. 49). Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) was No. 1.
Beavercreek completed a 24-0-0 season by defeating Strongsville 4-2 and winning the D-I state title at Columbus last season, a first for the Beavers. Senior Ella Bianco scored twice. Other Beavercreek goals were by juniors Diana Benigno and Marcella Cash.
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Benigno is verbally committed to the University of Dayton and Cash to Mississippi State. Steve Popp is the Beavers’ veteran head coach.
Ohio’s girls and boys soccer preseasons began last week. The season openers for most teams are Friday and Saturday, Aug. 16-17.
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• The area’s top senior high school baseball players were scheduled to be featured in the 19th annual Bob Ross Classic on Thursday at Fifth Third Field, home of the Dayton Dragons. The game traditionally serves as an exhibition for college recruiters and scouts by the area’s best returning senior players (Class of 2020).
Coaches for the Red team were Jordan Kopp (Newton High School) and Bronson Marlett (Fairborn). The Black team coaches are Chris Stratton (Fenwick) and Matt Morrison (Middletown Madison).
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