Youth grid group

officers unveiled

The Aurora Youth Football Association has named new board members for 2017, including some who played and coached at the Division I, II and III college levels, were All-Americans, have countless years of coaching local youths and are executives and entrepreneurs.

The board includes: Tim Courtad, president; E.J. Nemet, vice president football; Tara Bultrowicz and Jenn Collis, co-VPs cheerleading; Tom Courtad and John Gallucci, co-VPs non-contact; Josh Trook, treasruer; Jeff Freemont, secretary; J.R. Papesh, league and community director.

Greg Unverferth, operations director; Bob Mihalik, high school rep; Mark Abramovich, middle school rep; Lisa Perez, Brandi Geyer and Cheryl Radvansky, co-special events directors; Nick Courtad, equipment director; Mike Acomb, safety director; and Phil Quinn, past president adviser.

The AYFA manages Aurora's youth tackle football grades 3 to 6, non-tackle football grades pre K to 6 and cheerleading grades 3 to 6. It recently donated an adjustable steel shute and a new cutting edge blocking sled to the high school program.

It also is working with the schools to improve facilities. All proceeds from fundraising efforts are used to help promote community programs.

For information, visit or email Tim Courtad @ Registration will open April 1. Follow the AYFA on twitter @AuroraAYFA and Facebook @ Aurora Youth Football & Cheer.

Harmon girls win

The seventh-grade girls basketball team stayed undefeated (12-0) last week with victories over Kent Stanton 32-27 and Cuyahoga Falls 34-25. The eighth-grade girls were 8-4 heading into this week's action after victories over Kent Stanton 35-26 and Cuyahoga Falls 39-30.

Powers is lauded

At its Jan. 24 monthly meeting, the Ohio High School Athletic Association's board of directors recognized Aurora High Athletic Director Paul Powers as the recipient of the 2016 National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association's State Award of Merit. The annual award is provided by the NIAAA for recognition of meritorious dedication to high school and middle school athletics.

Franek is joining

U of A as a coach

The University of Akron's track and field and cross country programs have tapped Crestwood High's best runner of all time to be a coach.

Akron announced Jan. 25 that 2006 Crestwood graduate and multiple state champion Bridget Franek will join the Zips as a women's distance and cross country coach. Her hiring is pending an anticipated approval by the university's Board of Trustees.

"We are very fortunate to have a person with the status and significant experiences of Bridget Franek joining our program," Akron track and field head coach Dennis Mitchell said. "She can make an important impact on our program and our team is looking forward to working with her."

Following her legendary high-school career, Franek became an NCAA champion, All-American and Big Ten champion at Penn State in the steeplechase -- an event she would qualify to compete in during the 2012 London Summer Olympics. A bid for the 2016 Olympics fell just short for Franek.

"Throughout my life, track and field has made such a significant impact in my life, the incredible people I've met, places I've been, and the inspiration it has given me to pursue my personal potential," said Franek. The chance to join such a nationally renowned team like the one here at Akron is a huge honor for me."

After college, Franek moved to Eugene, Ore., to run for the famed Oregon Track Club, where she became a two-time national runner-up in 2011 and 2012 in the steeplechase. She rose to as high as No. 17 in the world in the event.

KSU men, women

11-10 on the year

Kent State's men's basketball squad stood 11-10 overall and 3-5 in the Mid-American Conference following a victory over Northern Illinois 73-66 and an overtime loss to Cenral Michigan 105-98.

Against Northern Illinois, Jimmy Hall had 18 points, Kevin Zabo and Jalen Avery 16 each and Deon Edwin 11. Against CM, Hall had 28 points and 12 rebounds,Edwin added 23 points, Mitch Peterson had 19 and Jaylin Walker had 13.

In KSU women's action, the Golden Flashes defeated Bowling Green 80-78 to go to 11-10 overall and 5-4 in the MAC. Megan Carter hit a last-second shot to give KSU the win. Carter had 13 points, while Larissa Lurken poured in 31 points, Jordan Korinek had 18 and McKenna Stephens had 14.

The men will travel to Miami of Ohio on Feb. 4 and host Bowling Green on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. The women will host Miami tonight (Feb. 1) and Eastern Michigan on Feb. 8, both at 7 p.m. and will travel to Buffalo on Feb. 4. Heading into this week's action, Akron was leading the MAC East with an 9-0 record (18-3 overall).