Looking back at area’s 2023 sports headlines


Beavercreek soccer icons pass

John Guiliano and John Ankeney, a pair of notable figures in the Beavercreek soccer community, died this year.

Guiliano, 78, died in February after a battle with brain cancer. As the coach for the varsity team at Beavercreek, he was fifth all-time in OHSAA history with 427 wins with a career record of 427-110-85 in nearly 30 years as the school’s coach, including a state championship in 2017. The Beavers captured 16 league titles, 11 district championships and went to the state semifinals seven times.

Ankeney, 79, was thought of by his peers as a “founding father” for the growth of organized soccer in Beavercreek and the surrounding areas. He formed the Beavercreek Soccer Association in 1975 and created the John C. Ankeney Soccer Complex located just off of U. S. 35 on South Orchard Lane in Beavercreek. He died in September.

Fairborn football’s history making season

Getting to the dance is the end dream for every team, but no Skyhawks group has ever gotten to experience what the 2023 squad did.

Fairborn made the OHSAA football postseason as a qualifier for the first time ever. Not even getting to participate in the 2020 year in which every team was automatically entered, it could be excused if the community thought the team had some sort of curse to it applied.

The same group which had the opportunity taken away as freshman ended up earning one as seniors as Fairborn won its final game of the regular season in the final seconds to secure its spot. It only takes one year for a culture shift to occur, and now that the Skyhawks made the playoffs and know exactly what it takes to get there, it could become a more regular occurrence in future years.

And with a new stadium coming in 2024, Fairborn will certainly want to take the next step soon to be able to show it off in the late October season.

The Fairborn community also lost a member of its football program when former head coach Roy Thobe died in October.

Thobe, 60, headed the program for 14 seasons and during his time in charge won a GWOC title and was the league’s co-Coach of the Year in 2011.

Group of Rams conclude run

The Class of 2023 at Greeneview High School had a multi-year buildup to its exciting senior year. The Rams have been successful in multiple sports for several years, but something felt different with this group of boys heading into their final chances.

Football and boys soccer in the fall were ready to affirm their spots atop the league and did so. The core of basketball players got to the next level and made a tournament run, while wrestling had multiple state qualifiers. But it was baseball in the spring where the magic happened.

Greeneview exceeded expectations and produced a memorable season in which they dominated the OHC, set the school record for wins and won the school’s fifth district championship, eventually making the regional finals all while getting to play close to home during its tournament run.

It was a tremendous culmination for a group of seniors which never stopped “putting in the work” and made the most of their high school athletic careers.

Soccer taking over county

When trying to decide what Greene County may be becoming best known for, soccer certainly has to be near, if not at the top of consideration list.

Greeneview girls capped off a stellar year in the district round. Beavercreek girls after a slow start got things rolling and the boys gave one of the country’s top teams everything it could handle.

Bellbrook boys won another league title and the girls went unbeaten in the regular season. Legacy Christian had both of its boys and girls teams make the district finals for the first time and did so with stellar performers entering into the state record books for goal scoring.

This all coming off a year where Yellow Springs had its boys team make the state semifinals.

Stadium gets a face lift

Doug Adams Stadium is not finished with its two-year renovation plans yet, but the completion of Phase I in time for the 2023 football season was celebrated by the community and brought a new feel to the facility.

With new lighting fixtures constructed and the grandstands on both sides of the field rebuilt and enlarged, as well as flipping the home and away sides, DAS got a shiny new coat that noticeably increased the intimacy for anyone who had stood on the field before the changes and after they were finished. A new video scoreboard was added during the fall to further the enhancements.

Phase II will start in 2024 around the same time its first phase got underway and will put the finishing touches on the stadium renovation project.

Wrestling boom continues

The area has for several years has continued to develop its local scene with the Beavercreek and Xenia programs on the rise, girls officially becoming a recognized sport by the OHSAA, all while a local power established itself as one of the best in the state.

Legacy Christian won its third consecutive team championship in Division III. This one was a runaway with the Knights having the most individual qualifiers of any school at its level to place on the podium. That included Dillon Campbell becoming a three-time champion himself and Eli Campbell and Boede Campbell both finishing as runner-up. A chance at a four-peat in the coming year are realistic possibilities for both Dillon and LCA.

Girls wrestling is only in its infancy stage. Greeneview already had a state champion from the initial tournaments put on by the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association, but got to join the history books with its first state recognized winner when Eve Matt prevailed at the Schottenstein Center during the first ever OHSAA girls wrestling state championships. Matt has her banner hanging in the Greeneview gymnasium alongside Karlie Harlow. The banners are the first of what could be many more to come for girls in the area as the sport continues to grow in popularity.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @Steven_Wright_.

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