Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches

OATCCC Hall of Fame

Ed Barker Award Recipiants

Nancy C. Beattie (Ed Barker Award - 2011)
Nancy Beattie

It is with great pleasure that we name Nancy Beattie as this year’s Ed Barker award winner, the highest award our association gives. Coach Beattie has been a tremendous leader both locally and statewide in track and field. More importantly, she has been a role model for all coaches to emulate.

Ohio recently celebrated 100 years of track and field, but it has been less than 40 years for women’s participation. In this brief time, Coach Beattie has ascended to the top of the ladder in service and excellence. Nancy Beattie was the first woman to serve as President of the Central District Track and Cross Country Coaches Association. She encouraged many of us to be active in our coaches associations to make our sports the best possible . Nancy then became the first woman President of the OATCCC. Over the years, Nancy has served our association in any way necessary. She has been a most valuable part of our group. She is especially proud that she was a proponent of girls’ pole vault. Nancy wrote the report that the association took to the OHSAA.

Ms. Beattie’s accomplishments at Thomas Worthington High School are many. Her athletes are not only outstanding in the sport, but her young female athletes present themselves with confidence and dignity. Both on the field and as an association member, Nancy Beattie has truly earned the Ed Barker award.

Polly Barga (Slonkosky) (2011)
Polly Barga

Polly Barga competed under the guidance of Hall of Fame Coach Katie Horstman. She had an outstanding career. While at Minster High School, she was part of 3 State record setting relay teams including the mile relay, (4:04.7) the 440 yd. relay (50.1) and the 880 medley relay. Polly also set a school record in the 400 in 57.4 and the 200 at 25.7. At the State meet, Polly competed in 15 of the 16 possible events over four years. She earned 7 gold (2 individual), 4 silver (1 individual), 2 bronze, 1 fourth, and 1 sixth(individual). Her team won the State title all four years.

Polly attended Miami University and participated in the 400 and 1600 relays. She was injured as a freshman and competed as a sophomore but gave up her scholarship to concentrate on school.

Ms. Barga is married and has six kids (three that are currently running for Minster.) She returned to teaching last year after 21 years of raising a family . This will be her 3rd year of coaching J.H. girls along side her former J.H. coach Diane Voskuhl.

Jody R. Grove (2011)
Jody Grove

Jody Grove has served as the head girls Track & Field coach and the boys distance coach for 30 years at Colonel Crawford High School. She has also served for 17 years as the head boys and girls Cross Country coach.

During this time, Jody has received special recognition as the Fred Dafler Career Coach of the year, been named 3 times at the District 6 Coach of the year, and was recognized at the Colonel Crawford Teacher of the Year.

Under Ms. Grove’s guidance every girls’ track and field school record has been broken. She has had 44 girls participate in the State Track meet. Thirty-five athletes and relays have received All-Ohio honors. Thirteen individuals or relays have been State Champions including Carson Britton (1600 M), Jesse Armbruster (1600 M), Nate Siler (1600 M), and Erin Ebner (100 M. hurdles). Coach Grove has also coached 23 boys and girls who participated in the State Cross Country meet.

Ms. Grove has led her teams to 3 girls State Championships and the 1 State boys Champion team as the distance coach. With an outdoor track record of 226 - 50 and a cross country record of 51 - 19, Jody Grove is most deserving.

Bob Kennedy (2011)
Bob Kennedy

When most coaches think of world class distance runners from Ohio, the first name which comes to mind is Bob Kennedy. This is for good reason. Bob attended Westerville High School where he was guided by Irv Christenson. He set a course record at Worthington of 14:53. Bob further won State championships in 1986 and 1987. Bob was also the Kinney National Champion in 1987. In the USA Juniors, he took home the gold in the 1500 with a time of 3:47.69. His best times in high school include 4:05.17 in the 1600 and 8:38.0 in the 3K. The Mid-East Cross Country meet is proud to have had Bob as its first winner.

Bob Kennedy attended Indiana University. He was the NCAA Cross Country National Champion in 1988. In 1990 Bob earned another National Championship in the 1500. He was 4 times US Outdoor National Champion in the 5,000 and 2 times in cross country. This outstanding runner held two American records with 7:30.84 in the 3,000 and 12:58.21 in the 5,000. Nationally, Mr. Kennedy was an Olympian in 1992 and 1996 in the 5,000 M.

Kevin Schlitt (2011)
Kevin Schlitt

Kevin Schlitt was a member of the Marion Catholic track team from 1986-1989, where he was coached by Bob New. Kevin was a 3X Class A State Champion in the pole vault, along with a 4th place finish his freshman year.

Kevin won numerous pole vault championships, including 3 Central District Indoor Titles, 3 Central District Outdoor Titles, 3 Mount Gilead Invitational Titles, 3 Mid-Ohio Conference Titles and 3 Regional Meet Titles. Besides his pole vault accomplishments, Kevin was strong in the hurdles and various sprint relays.

Kevin led Marion Catholic to the Class A State Team Championship in 1989 with a 1st place in the pole vault, 3rd in the 110 M HH and 4th in the 4X400 Relay.

Mr. Schlitt attended Georgetown University in Washington DC. His best pole vault performance was 16’. Competing for the Hoyas, Kevin won 2 Big East Titles in the pole vault and broke both the Indoor and Outdoor Big East Records in 1991. This outstanding athlete was also named to the Big East Academic/Athletic First Team from 1990-1992.

Wilfred "Bill" Schnier (2011)
Wilfred Schnier

Bill Schnier began his coaching career at Trotwood-Madison High School. Four of his athletes who became college All-Americans include Lamar Preyor (double State Champ), Jeff Dils, Tom Rapp, and Gary Loe.

Mr. Schnier has been the head coach of both Track and Cross Country at the University of Cincinnati for 30 years. He has coached 2 Olympic medalists --David Payne won silver in the 2008 hurdles and Mary Wineberg was a member of the 4 x 400 gold medal relay . Under Coach Schnier’s guidance were 6 NCAA Div. 1 All-Americans, 8 Bearcat alums who qualified for the 2008 Olympic trials, and 12 Champion Conference team titles. Coach Schnier was named Conference USA “Coach of the Decade” in both track and cross country. Bill was also Conference Coach of the Year 15 times as well as Ohio Cross Country Coach of the year 2 times. His winning percentage in track is .793 He has coached 131 individual conference champions and 21 NCAA Div. 1 qualifiers. In cross country , his record is 155 - 61.

Coach Schnier has done all of this with few scholarships (and now none!) He teaches his team that scholarships don’t make winners-- character and practice do.

Bill attended Capital University. As a member of the track team, Bill still holds the 800 M record set in 1966. He is also a member of the 4 x 800 relay team which holds the Capital school record. In 2010 Coach Schnier was inducted into the Capital University Hall of Fame.

Criss Somerlot (2011)
Criss Somerlot

Criss Somerlot has been active and quite successful in the area of track and field for nearly all his life. As an athlete, Mr. Somerlot was two -time Ohio class A Discus Champ and school record holder at Ohio University in the hammer. In the NCAA, his achievements include a three- person record in the hammer in 1968, reset in 1969 and held until 1974.

Coach Somerlot is known for his outstanding accomplishments while coaching at Centerville High School. His 1981 girls track team won the State. In dual and triangular meets, his teams have a record of 114 - 9 with only one loss since 1979. They have also earned 215 invitational victories. Coach Somerlot is proud to have coached 14 All-time Ohio record holders. Outstanding athletes under his guidance include Alan Phillips-hurdles, Kristen Jumer-State champ in the 1600 and 800, Lisa Haws in the mile, and Kelly Greenlee- 2 time State champ in the 800. Criss has coached at least one athlete who has placed in every event at the Ohio State Championships.

Criss has been active as a speaker at many T & F clinics over the years in the areas of throws and developing a team. He has spoken in 36 different states and 7 foreign countries. He has further served as clinic director for the Gathering of Champion series coach/athlete clinics at Centerville HS that have had over 25,000 athletes and coaches attend over the past 25 years. Criss also served as clinic director for the USATF Super Clinic at the ’96, ’00, & ’04 Olympic trials. He further worked with Nike and designed a running shoe and 2 different models of throwing shoes.

Criss has been quite active nationally. He coached the 1991 Eight Nation Games held in Spain. He also coached in the US Olympic Festival in 1994. Criss served as assistant coach at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Maebashi, Japan in 1999. As an Olympic coach, Criss Somerlot served in 2004 in Athens, Greece, and 2008 in Beijing, China. He has further served as the USATF Director of Throws since 2002. He directs the development programs in conjunction with their personal coaches of the US elite men throwers in the areas of biomechanics, psychology, nutrition, and elite training with a goal of helping the US men prepare for the next Olympic and World Championship competitions.

Matthew "Mike" Thomas (2011)
Matthew Thomas

Matthew “Mike” Thomas attended Fairport Harding High School where he was coached by Chet Rejeck. His accomplishments were many. Mike led the “Skippers” to two State Track Meet championships in 1964 and 1965 earning the State Meet MVP in both years. He won both the High and Low Hurdle events setting the State Meet high hurdle record in 1965, placing 4th in the long jump and anchoring the Mile Relay to a 4th place finish. He further won the Mansfield Relays in the highs, (14.2) competing against 114 other hurdlers from 3 states. Mr. Thomas finished his senior year undefeated in the high hurdles. Three weeks after the State Meet, Mike set a Kent State University Track record (cinders) of 14.3.

While Mike Thomas’s accomplishments are great, they are even better when you consider that Fairport Harding had no track. They ran in the streets. For example, 220 yards was between 3rd and 4th Streets, ½ mile was around the block, and they set the hurdles on the football yard lines.

Mike went on to attend The Ohio State University. He ran the 400 IM hurdles, winning the All Ohio College meet and setting the track record at Ohio Wesleyan. In 1967, he was named All Ohio IM hurdler.

Otis D. Winston (2011)
Otis Winston

Otis Winston began setting the bar high at a young age. He won the State Meet in High Jump 3 consecutive years and qualified for the high jump, long jump, 110m hurdles and the 4x400m relay, taking home the title in both the high jump and long jump. Otis was the first athlete in the Ohio Valley to jump 7’ and in his pursuit of the 7’ mark he set several state records.

Track was not the only sport in which Coach Winston has set records. As a four time letterman, despite several injuries, Coach Winston still holds the Toronto career scoring record in basketball with an impressive 1453 points. His senior year, Otis led his team to a 19 game season record, was co-captain of the team and named Eastern District 1st Team, OVAC 1st Team, and District 5 Player of the Year. Otis had a High School career high of 46 points in a game and scored at least 20 points in 30 consecutive games.

Coach Winston’s pursuit of excellence did not stop in High School, and he went on to participate in both Basketball and Track & Field at The Ohio State University. Otis was an All-American in Track and Field. Still setting records in college, he continues to hold a school record of 7’41/2” in the high jump. His exceptional jumping ability awarded him the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Trials for Track & Field in 1996.

Otis’ athletic achievements continued in basketball as well. He was a starter his Junior Year as a defensive specialist, often times matching him with the opponents leading scorer. His senior year he was the co-captain of his team while scoring a double-double against Penn State and scoring a season high of 17 points against Michigan. After college Otis went on to play overseas in Russia.

Otis owns his own production company and is currently shopping around three television show concepts in Hollywood to major networks. Otis Winston has two beautiful children Promise Starr Winston 8 and Reign Dawan Winston 6 and he currently resides in Blacklick, Ohio.

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