Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011

Patrick Newell

The World Series heads back to St. Louis for game six on Wednesday night. In any other year, I would have have already discussed the current series with Bob McNitt a couple of times. In addition to our normal e-mail communication with his weekly column, we would exchange banter on the sports headlines of the day. Although he was a Yankees fan, I think Bob would have enjoyed seeing “new blood” such as Texas in position to win a world championship. Our easy flow of communication was just one of many memories of Bob that I will miss. He was the type of guy that when you came across an interesting news or sports item, you wanted to share it with him to get his take. And I did that countless times. So many little things cross my mind every day that remind me of Bob, and whenever I make an outdoors jaunt in the future, I think (or hope), Bob’s spirit will guide me through my little journey safely

So what is in the water at Greene? For a relatively small school, it sure is enjoying a great deal of success throughout its athletics programs. I have already documented their achievements earlier this season, and I asked head football coach Tim Paske why he believed the sports are so successful in the fall for the Trojans. “I would say around 70 percent of the kids (in high school) are playing sports on some level,” Paske said, who added that 70 percent may be a conservative number. “Obviously the kids are willing to do it, and it all starts with the community and the families. The kids are brought up with (sports), and if you look across the board, the coaching staffs have been there for a lot of years. There is a stability in the program, and the kids know the philosophies and expectations of the coaches.” Among the current varsity coaches at Greene, only varsity soccer coach Brandy Stone has less than 10 years of coaching experience at Greene. Stone, though, has been a part of two Greene MAC championships, her first as an assistant to Randy Smith, and the second coming last year as head coach.

Last week, Harvard University announced that J.P. O’Connor would join the wrestling team as an assistant coach. O’Connor graduated from Harvard in 2010, and won a national championship his senior season. Before that, he won 238 matches at Oxford (believed a school record) capturing five Section IV titles and four state titles. Since his college graduation, O’Connor has moved forward with his next goal: A berth on the 2012 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. O’Connor said he was making nice progress, but an injury early this season sidelined him for several months. He is now back in training and preparing for an Olympic trials qualifier next month. O’Connor is confident he will earn a spot at the trials, and believes it is not an unrealistic goal to reach the Olympics. “I don’t think I would be chasing this goal if I didn’t think I was capable,” O’Connor said. “Most of the guys in my class I’ve wrestled and beaten at some point. The guys I have not been able to beat, it really is about wrestling my match, being healthy, and peaking in April (the Olympic trials). If I do that, I can be the guy to represent the United States.”

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