This past summer, the sports writers from the Canton Repository and Massillon Independent looked back at the top teams, players, coaches and moments from the decade and recognized student-athletes who competed at championship levels from 2010 thru 2019. Led by J. C Colangelo and his 3 First Team selections, Flight101 had 30 athletes receive First Team or Honorable Mention recognition on the Repository’s 2010s All-Decade Teams.
A graduate of Canton Central Catholic and currently attending Princeton University, JC was named Canton Repository Outstanding Boys Athlete of the Year in 2016 and was a first team selection in Track and Field, Football and Baseball on the Repository’s All-Decade Team. The runner-up in the 100m at the 2015 Division III state meet, J. C. went on to help Central Catholic’s baseball team win a state championship on that same day. In 2016 he finished third in the 100m at state and was a member of the Crusaders’ 800m relay which placed fifth and the 400-relay finish eighth, respectively. JC currently holds the Central Catholic school record in the 100m (10.70 seconds).
A starter on 2015 state championship team and 2016 regional semi-finals team, J.C. was second team All-Ohio as a senior. He batted .447 with 14 stolen bases while not committing an error in center field. As a junior he batted .303 with 18 steals and 26 runs.
On the gridiron, he was a four-year starter for Central Catholic from 2012-15 and one of the key pieces to back-to-back Division V state championship game appearances for the Crusaders in 2014-15. He was a two-time first team Division V All-Ohio at defensive back.
Joining JC on the All-Decade Baseball team is another FlightTeam member and Central grad, Jake Vance. A four-year varsity letterman Central Catholic, Jake is tied for the most career wins (25) in Central history despite missing part of senior season because of suspension. One of those wins was the 2015 state championship game. An Ohio State recruit Jake has gone 6-8 with a 5.60 ERA in 38 career appearances and earned Academic All-Big Ten twice.
Joining J. C and Jake on the All-Decade Baseball Team was Drew Savage another Central Catholic grad.
Representing the FlightTeam on the First Team All-Decade Softball Team is Kassidy Troxell. A graduate of Perry High School, Kassidy was the Federal League Player of the Year as a senior, first team All-Federal League three times and All-Northeast Ohio three times. Kassidy set Perry’s single-season record for hits (52) and batted better than .500 each of her final three years at Perry. As a four-year college player at St. Francis University, she helped lead the Red Flash to the Division I tournament in 2017. She was named Second team All-NEC her first three years at St. Francis and on All-NEC Tournament.
Led by another Central Catholic grad and two-time State Champion Katie Mokros, the FlightTeam had a whopping 17 members represented on All-Decade Boys and Girls Track Team. As a junior, Katie swept the sprint events at the 2013 Division III state championship meet winning the 100 meters in 12.32 seconds and the 200 in 25.25. Despite running injured most of her senior year, Katie still managed to place 2nd at States in the 100m and 200m in 2014.
Joining Katie on the All-Decade Girls Track Team are Taylor Thompkins (Canton South, 6th 100m state champions) and Nina Grambling (Glen Oak, 3rd 4×100, 5th 100m.) Taylor and Nina went on to have stellar Track and Field careers at Youngstown State University. While attending YSU Nina dominated the sprinting events and she and Taylor helped to lead YSU to 4 Horizon League Championships.
In 2105 Nina was named the Outstanding Performer of the Meet and Total Point Champion at the Horizon League Outdoor Championships, winning the 100m, 200m and the long jump helping the Penguins claim their second straight league title and her third consecutive 100m dash league outdoor title.
Other former FlightTeam athletes named to the All-Decade Girls Track Team are Malia Turley (Massillon), Mikayla Dearing and Charlie Strickland (Perry, 4×400 state champions) Hannah Ohman (St. Thomas), Lindsey Robinson (Hoover) and Selena Pantoja (McKinley).
On the boys’ side, all 10 FlightTeam members were state qualifiers with 7 earning All-Ohio honors. Joining J C Colangelo on All-Decade Boys Track Team are Eric Thompkins (Canton South, 2nd 200m and 3rd 100m), Canton McKinley’s Charles Hall (2nd long jump), Clayton Tablor (5th high hurdles and 10th in the 300m hurdles) and Elijah Beach (8th 110m hurdles), Lepear Smith (Perry, 300m hurdles) Aaron Schultz (Lake Center Christian, 400m) and Jackson’s Matt Hendrix (8th 800m) Evan Akers (4×800 relay).
Stark County high school football from 2010-19 produced a state championship, six state runner-up finishes, several record setters, numerous All-Ohioans and already a few NFL players.
Using the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team as a guide, the Repository selected 53 players and three coaches for the All-Decade Football Team. FlightTeam members making the First Team All-Decade Football Team are Darien Terrell from Jackson and Adam Gregorie from Perry,
Terrell, a three-year letter winner for Jackson from 2009-11 and First Team All-Decade Team was selected third team Division I All-Ohio was credited with 83 pancake blocks during his senior season when the Polar Bears rushed for 2,583 yards and 30 TDs.
Perry’s Adam Gregorie was one of the players who made Perry’s wing-T offense go up front. A second team Division II All-Ohio selection in his senior season in 2015 as a junior, helped the Panthers rebound from an 0-10 season to go 6-5 and reach the 2014 Division I playoffs. His senior season saw the Panthers reach their first Division II state title game.
Joining Darien and Adam on the All-Decade Football Team are Jake Boccuti (Central Catholic), Kyle Kemp (Massillon) Dean Sarris (Glen Oak) and Ricky Spradling and Darien Terrell from Jackson.
The past decade from 2010 through 2019 was indeed a period of championship performances by local high school athletes. We’d like to congratulate all the young men and women whose performances were recognized by the Repository on the various All-Decade Teams. However, no athlete can reach their fullest potential on the track, the gym or the playing field with out the hard work and selfless dedication of their coaches and we’d like to also recognize those coaches selected as a part of the Repository’s All-Decade Teams:
- FOOTBALL: Jeff Lindesmith, Central Catholic; Nate Moore, Massillon; Keith Wakefield, Perry
- BOYS BASKETBALL: Tim Debevec, Jackson
- GIRLS BASKETBALL: Pam Davis, McKinley
- GIRLS TRACK: Randy Crawford, St. Thomas Aquinas
- BOYS TRACK: Tom Loy, East Canton
- BASEBALL: Bill Gamble, Jackson
- SOFTBALL: Jerry Goodpasture, Hoover
- WRESTLING: Dave Riggs, Perry and Rocky Laughlin, Louisville
Again, congratulations to all the coaches and athletes for 10 years of athletic excellence in Stark County.