November 23, 2014

Medina
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55°F

Local hall of fame honors new inductees

MEDINA — Don’t let the age fool you.

The Medina County Sports Hall of Fame may be getting older, but it’s also getting better.

The reservoir of worthy inductees is still deep, as evidenced by the class of 2013.

The six-member class, which was announced Thursday, includes a little bit of everything and also a lot of one thing: star power.

It also is one of the most interesting and unique with the fact it includes a father-son combination and a female baseball player whose likeness is in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The class is made up of:

• Two Highland graduates in two-time state wrestling champion Ricky Burton and his father, Bob Burton, the recipient of the Al Thomas Award for his contributions to the sport.

• Lois Youngen, a product of the former LeRoy High School (now part of the Cloverleaf school system) who was a catcher-outfielder in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League 60 years ago.

• Medina product Michelle (Anderson) Beorlegui, a scoring machine in girls soccer in the 1990s.

• Tom Masters of Buckeye, who ran, jumped and scored his way into the record books more than 50 years ago.

• Bruce Miller, a former Brunswick boys soccer coach who also coached professionally in Cleveland and throughout the country, and played in the U.S. and Canada.

Voting for the class was at the Medina Community Recreation Center by a committee consisting of several members of the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis Club, the athletic directors of the county’s seven high schools and four representatives of The Gazette.

The class will be inducted at the hall of fame’s 28th banquet June 13 at 6:30 p.m. at The Galaxy in Wadsworth. It is once again being sponsored by the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis Club and The Gazette.

Also at the banquet, the All-Gazette teams from throughout the 2012-13 school year will be honored, as will the 1991 Black River baseball team that made it to the Division III state semifinals. In addition, the county’s two top Special Olympians will be feted.

Here’s a quick look at the class of 2013:

• Ricky Burton — The 1982 Highland graduate was the first four-time state placer in county wrestling history, finishing fourth as a freshman and sophomore before capturing Class AA state crowns in 1981 (126-pound weight class) and ‘82 (132). At the time, he was just the second two-time state champion in county history — hall of famer Don Tomko of Highland was first (1970-71) — and finished with a 104-15-1 record.

Burton’s 1981 state championship was particularly significant. He came back from a broken tibia to go 18-0, helping the Hornets earn the state team title. They were second in 1980, third in ’79 and fourth in ’82.

He went to on to wrestle briefly at Ohio State, becoming an All-American as a freshman before a knee injury ended his career.

• Bob Burton — He played football and ran track before graduating from Highland in 1959, being the county champion in the 100-yard dash, 220 and long jump as a senior to lead the Hornets to their fourth straight county title.

Burton made the Ohio State football team as a walk-on in 1959 and was a two-year captain on the wrestling team despite Highland not sponsoring the sport when he was in high school.

It was following his athletic career that he really made his mark. He helped found the wrestling program at Highland and served as an assistant coach in the 1960s and ’70s, guiding handfuls of All-Ohioans and multiple state champions. He still volunteers his time to coach wrestlers.

• Youngen — If you’ve seen the movie “A League of Their Own,” you know a little about this 1951 LeRoy graduate. Ignoring the fact girls weren’t supposed to play baseball, she learned the sport under the tutelage of her father, a pitcher for Kent State in the 1920s, and went on to play in the AAGPBL from 1951-54.

One of her managers was Jimmie Foxx. Like Foxx, she is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, being part of its permanent Women in Baseball display to honor the AAGPBL, of which she is now the president of the alumni association.

Baseball wasn’t her only sport, as in 1972 she became the first women’s track coach at the University of Oregon, now considered one of the elite programs in the country. She remains a beloved figure in Oregon, where she resides.

• Beorlegio (Anderson) — The 1998 Medina graduate scored a county-record 104 goals in her career, including eight in one game and 38 in a season. She was first-team All-Pioneer Conference all four years and a three-time All-Ohioan, helping the Bees make the state tournament her last three seasons. They were state champions in 1997 after having placed second the year before.

Beorlegio went on to star at Central Florida, becoming a two-time Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament MVP. She also was the ASC Player of the Year as a senior.

• Masters — He had an outstanding Class A state track meet as a senior in 1961, capturing the long jump and running the fastest leg on the title-winning mile relay to help the Bucks finish third. He was also a member of the state-qualifying 880 relay.

Masters was a running back in football, leading the county in scoring by a wide margin as a senior with 112 points as Buckeye went 8-0-1 and earned the Inland Conference championship. The Bucks averaged 41.6 points, which still ranks second in county history.

Masters also averaged 14.4 points in basketball as a senior before giving up athletics to become a highly respected cardiologist.

• Miller — The head coach of the Brunswick boys soccer team from 2009-12, he has had a long and accomplished career as a player and coach in the sport that dates back to 1967.

As a 17-year-old in 1975, he became the youngest player ever on the Canadian national team. He went on to play at Simon Fraser University and then professionally with a variety of teams before a staph infection in his knee prematurely ended his career in 1985.

Miller then began a 26-year coaching career, serving as the head coach of the Cleveland Crunch from 1995-2001 and guiding the franchise to two indoor league titles.

Contact Steve King at sports@medina-gazette.com.