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Former high school stars inducted into the Lorain County Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame
Mike Beetler, Firelands (1985)
Looking at his stats and the honors he received, Beetler was a respected runner during his tenure at Firelands High School.
Beetler was a three-time All-Ohio in cross country and received the honor twice in track. He finished third at the state meet in cross country in 1982 and was second in the state meet in 1983 and 1984. In 1983, Beetler lost the Divison II state title in cross county by hundredths of a second.
“That was heart break for sure, I think I really would have won the race but I ended up getting a cramp before the first mile mark,” Beetler said. “The runner from Sandusky St. Mary’s closed in on me and I just didn’t have enough to beat him in the end. That would have been my best chance to win a state title right there. Next year I lost to the national champion that went to Sandusky Perkins.”
In 1984, Beetler received third team All-American honors. He competed in the Kinney Midwest Regional and placed third. Mike went on to race at the Kinney Nationals in San Diego and placed 11th.
“The experience, it was extremely incredible,” Beetler said. “I didn’t know it at the time (running nationals), but when I raced I had mono. I knew something wasn’t quite right, the strength I would normally have. It was one of those races where you just gut it out.”
Beetler gained exposure and got several interests from colleges. He went on to compete in cross country at Ohio University, in which he earned second All-MAC honors as a freshmen. Beetler added that in college, he had a series of illnesses and injuries and that high school was better part of his running career.
In track, Beetler placed at state in the 3200m event. In 1984 he placed fifth and in 1985 he placed second.
Tammy (Porte) Derrico, Elyria (1978)
Porte-Derrico was tough to beat when it came to racing her in the 100-yard dash.
Tammy was a two-time Division I state champion, which included the 100-yard dash in her senior season, with a time of 11 seconds. In her senior year, Porte-Derrico only lost once in the event. After winning the 100-yard dash, Tammy was in awe.
“Wow, that’s what I can pretty much say. I didn’t believe that I had won it because it was a close race and we were all neck and neck,” Porte-Derrico said. . “For never running the 100 yard dash, and I ran it my senior year, I never imagined anything like that. I was thrilled.”
Tammy credits the conditioning from the basketball season to her success as a senior.
“I contribute a lot of it to my basketball season that year. Pretty much running lines and the good conditioning that we did back then. I think that’s where it all paid off, conditioning for basketball and conditioning when I went in there for the track season.”
Porte-Derrico received the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame Achievement Award as a senior and went on to compete in indoor track at Lorain Community College.
“It was interesting because I never ran indoor track, so it was another experience that I added to my accomplishments,” Porte-Derrico said. “I was very proud of myself that I did get the opportunity to run at least one season to see how it was. “
Glen “Sonny” Wilburn, Amherst (1973)
In 1971, Wilburn won the state championship in cross country. The following year, he placed fourth at the cross country state meet.
The year Wilburn won state in cross country, his training regimen got him to the top.
“I had a 1,000 miles behind me for 100 days in the summer before my junior year,” Wilburn said. “I felt strong and confident, I went into it (season), I expected to get into the top five and that was it. I ended up winning it. I was in the right place at the right time I’d have to say.”
Wilburn was two-time All-Ohio in track, but was disappointed that he didn’t have the chance to run much his senior year.
“I had foot surgery and I missed out as a senior. I was hoping to be a lot better and improve on a lot of my times.”
Wilburn went on to run at Lincolnland Community College in Illinois and became a national champion in the 6-mile event.
“I came in coming off an injury my senior year in high school and I didn’t know how I was going to do,” Wilburn said. “The group of kids I ran with and the coach that I had, worked out well and I ended up becoming the national champion.”
Wilburn is currently the head coach for the North Ridgeville girls track team. He is also the coach for the girls and boys distance events.
Tarver “Cy” Perkins, Clearview (1940)
Perkins won the Ohio Class B Division title for running the mile as a junior and a senior. Tarver ran the mile as a junior with a time of 4:34.7. As a senior, he set the state record for running the mile with a time of 4:32.1.
In his junior and senior year, Perkins set records at the conference, duals and district meets. For the mile run, Tarver set the record for his school, a time that stood unbroken for over 25 years. Perkins went out to run track at Northern Illinois University Teachers College (Currently known as Northern Illinois University).
In 1948, at Olympic tryouts at Northwestern University, Perkins lost by fractions of a second for the third and final qualifying spot for the 800m event. In the same year, Perkins ran the mile with a time of 4:01 six years before Roger Bannister ran a sub-four minute mile.
Perkins was inducted the NIU Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and in the Lorain County Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
Anne (Densmore) Fox, Elyria (1987)
Densmore-Fox began her high cross country career as a freshman. She set records and won at the Buckeye Conference Meet and went on to win at sectionals and districts. Anne eventually went on to win the state cross country title as a freshman –the first Elyria runner to win a state title.
In her sophomore year, Densmore-Fox placed third at the state cross country meet. She also competed in the 800m, 1600m and 3200m events during the track season. Densmore-Fox went on to finish second at state in the 3200m with a time 10:45.59
In her junior year, Anne placed fourth at state in cross country. She also set district records in the 800m, 1600m events in track. Densmore-Fox went on to place fifth at state in the 1600m event.
Densmore-Fox was hampered by leg injuries and did not compete in track or cross country her senior year. She continued her athletic career at Ashland University, competing in swimming, cross country and track.
Marv Hougland, Clearview
As the track coach at Clearview, Hougland went on to win back-to –back state titles in track in the Class A Division (1978 and 1979). He also guided Clearview to second place in the Class AA Division in 1977.
Hougland coached six athletes that went on to win individual state titles in track. He also was defensive coordinator for the football from 1973-2001.
Last Updated: 4/18/2013 9:23:02 PM EST