Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches

OATCCC Hall of Fame

Ed Barker Award Recipiants

Don "Red" Edwards (Ed Barker Award - 2012)
Don Edwards

The Ed Barker Award is given as acknowledgement to the individual who has shown the most exceptional service to the OAT & CCC and to the sports of track and cross country in Ohio. Don “Red” Edwards has given over fifty years of service to the sport of Track and Field in Ohio. He started coaching at Big Walnut in 1957. Except for a few years, he has remained involved. Red started both boys and girls cross country programs at the high school level. He also began the middle school programs in 1985. Red was the first member inducted into the Big Walnut Hall of Fame. For ten years, Red coached the Women’s division of the Ohio Track Club in central Ohio. In 1976 Red started the Sunbury Track Club in which he still remains active.

Perhaps even more than his coaching, Don “Red” Edwards is known for his outstanding collection of track and field memorabilia. After starting in 1954, Red’s collection has grown so much that he bought the house next door and now uses it for a museum. It is free to the public. The items are from around the world and the Ohio collection is an exceptional show case. Since 1985, Red has displayed many of these items at our clinic. They not only educate, but enhance the historic importance of track and field in Ohio. Anyone attending our clinic will certainly enjoy and learn from what Red has included.

The OAT&CCC recognized Don by dedicating the 2009 clinic to him in appreciation of his dedication. We are privileged to honor Don “Red” Edwards as our Ed Barker winner.

Carla Battaglia-Greene (2012)
Carla Battaglia-Greene

Hailing from Centerville High School, the versatility of Carla Battaglia at the State Championship level is singular in its accomplishments as she dominated the 1980 and 1981 seasons. District and Regional Championships in the 100HH, long jump, high jump, and 4 x 400M were followed up with a State Championship title in the long jump. Carla was a 5-7.75 high jumper, 18’10” long jumper, 14.7 in the 100HH, 26.2 in the 200, and a 56.8 split in the 4 x 400M. Her efforts helped Centerville High School take away the team State Runner-up title in 1980 and the 1981 State Championship. Also in 1981, she was named All-American.

At Indiana University, more events awaited her to conquer and Carla undertook the heptathlon. Her 178’10” javelin throw in 1984 was the Big Ten record. Her 4th place in the long jump and 5th place in the triple jump added to her Big Ten honors and her individual 26 point effort towards the team scoring was a Big Ten Record. For her all-around performance, she was named the “Athlete of the Meet.” Carla also won the 1984 Big Ten title in the heptathlon (5354) setting another Big ten record on her way to being an NCAA All-American. In 1985, she won the Big Ten title in the pentathlon earning her third Big Ten record.

At the national level of competition, Carla competed in the 1985 National Championships finishing 6th in the javelin. She also competed as a member of the National Sports Festival Team in 1983, 1985, and 1987.

Carla Battaglia remains one of the best all-around athletes to ever come out of Ohio. She currently resides in Beavercreek, Ohio.

Maureen Cogan-Speros (2012)
Maureen Cogan-Speros

Women’s cross country in Ohio was only in its third year of State Championship competition, but Maureen left an impression that guaranted it was here to stay. Hailing from Kettering Fairmont East, Maureen was the 1979 OHSAA State Champion and over the next two years of competition only lost once. In the 1600M, Maureen ran 5:02.5 and 4:59.36 in 1980 and 1981 respectively to win back to back Runner-up titles.

It was in college where Maureen set records of which most people can only dream. An Ohio State Buckeye, she currently holds six OSU records for Indoor Track and another four records in Outdoor Track including a 15:57.51 5K, a 9:14.4 3K, 4:45.11 in the mile, and a 10:06.1 two mile. In 1983, Maureen won the All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championship and the following spring was the Big Ten champion in the 5000M as well as recording major wins at Drake, Penn, Tennessee, Pitt, and Illinois. In the fall of 1984, Maureen was 1st Team All Big Ten and earned All-American and set the OSU Cross Country record for a 5K at 16:30.4.

Following college, Maureen continued her running career competing at the national class level for the Bob Schul Racing Team from 1986-1989. In 1986, Maureen raced in the Olympic Trials Exhibition 5000M. A true role model for young women distance runners in the 1980’s, Maureen was one of the first to establish the Ohio tradition of national level competitors in a time when the debate still raged over whether or not women could race at these distances.

Also a member of the Dayton Athletic Association Athletic hall of Fame, she now resides in California.

Ross Deye (2012)
Ross Deye

A 1972 alumnus of Sylvania High School, Ross came home to guide Sylvania Southview and Sylvania Northview to statewide prominence. Between the two schools, he piled up 32 Northern Lakes League titles in both girls and boys cross country combined. Ross’ teams racked up 17 District Championships and 12 Regional Championships while coaching Southview’s boys and girls, and four District Championships and one Regional Championship while at Northview.

At Southview (1983-1997) is where Ross developed one of the most dominate teams of the 80’s and 90’s as his boys went on a 11 year streak of qualifying to the State Meet, winning DI Championship titles three of those years (’87-’91-’92) and Runner-up titles in three others (’88-’89-’93). Not to be outdone, his girls also went to State Meet eight of those years and won their own state Championship in 1994. At Northview—from 1998-2009— Coach Deye continued his tradition of excellence taking the boys cross country teams to the State Meet six of his twelve years.

In track & field, Ross’ teams won six Northern Lakes League titles between the two schools

Ross was the 1993 Coach of the Year for Ohio and in 2010, he was inducted into the Sylvania Schools Athletic Hall of Fame. That same year that he won the Fred Dafler Career Coach of the Year Award from the OATCCC.

Ross may have retired from teaching in 2010, but not coaching. Re-locating to Michigan, he remains active in coaching working with the Traverse City West boys’ cross country program.

Team totals: District Champions: 21 District Runner-up: 10Regional Champions: 13 Regional Runner-up: 4State Champions: 4 State Runners-up: 3 State qualifying teams: 23
Mike Hallabrin (2012)
Mike Hallabrin

The 1980 1600M race may still be one of the most competitive races ever run in State Championship history. Featuring four other State Championship and Hall of Fame athletes (Ricky Pitman, John Zishka, George Nicholas, and Jason Fox), it was Mike Hallabrin who won the day by defending his 1979 title in what many still refer to as the “dream mile.” Mike’s 4:07.3 from that race set a State Record which stood for eight years when it was broken by future Olympian, Bob Kennedy. Mike finished his high school career by winning the Midwest meet with another outstanding race of 4:10.31.

Following graduation from Mansfield Malabar High school, Mike attended Miami University of Ohio where he continued his career as the consummate middle distance runner. In cross country, Mike was the 1984 league MVP as he led Miami to the MAC team title. He also and qualified to the NCAA Championships—his second trip having also qualified in 1982.

In track & field, Mike won the 1984 MAC 5000M title in 14:20.39 and was the runner-up in the 1500M. That same year, Mike qualified to the NCAA Championships in the 5K and finished 10th in the 1500M. Mike set records in the Indoor 1500M and 3000M. In Outdoor track & field, he set records in the 5000M and in the 1500M. His 3:41.77 1500M still stands.

Mike currently resides in Cardington, Ohio.

Brian Hesson (2012)
Brian Hesson

Brian Hesson of Caldwell’s Class of ‘93 remains to date one of Ohio’s most decorated cross country and track athletes. A 17 time All-Ohio athlete, Brian was the premiere distance runner in the State of Ohio from the fall of 1990 to the spring of 1993. Winning eight individual State titles and earning All-American status three times at the Kinney (now Footlocker) National Championships, Brian helped Caldwell High school teams to a winning streak of eight consecutive State Championship titles in cross country—still the record regardless of gender or division.

From Caldwell to the University of Alabama, Brian wasted no time making an immediate impact on the Crimson Tide program. By making the 1994 US Junior National Team.

From that point on, he continued to be a vital part of the Alabama distance program, attaining All-SEC honors in cross country and track and was a three time NCAA Championship qualifier. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of his career was in the 1997 SEC Championships. Over the three days of competition, Brian placed in the 10K (30:24) on Friday, the steeplechase (9:19) on Saturday, and the 5K (14:31) on Sunday. Following the 1997-1998 season, Brian was recognized by the University of Alabama with the Career Achievement Award.

Brian still lives in the Caldwell area (Macksburg, OH) and continues to be an inspiration to the Caldwell tradition of State Championship competition.

Dave Kirk (2012)
Dave Kirk

Coach Kirk began his track coaching career as a volunteer coach at Galion HS, coached three years overseas, and then returned to Brunswick HS for two years as an assistant before arriving at Chagrin Falls HS in 1990. Over the next twenty-one years, Dave helped Chagrin teams reach the State Meet in cross country five times, winning State Runner-up honors with the 1992 girls and the 1993 boys as well as the girls State Championship title in 1991. In 2005, the boys track and field team garnered a 6th place team finish in Division II. In cross country and track and field combined, 69 athletes have earned All-Ohio honors including three individual State Runners-up. Additionally, one athlete has run for Ohio in the Mid East Cross Country Meet, four athletes have competed in the Midwest Meet of Champions in track and field, one athlete qualified to the Nike Indoor National Championships, and four have qualified to the Nike Outdoor National Championships. Two individuals have won State Champion titles in Indoor Track.

Dave presently serves as the OATCCC District 2 representative for all high schools in Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lake Counties. He has been a member of the OHSAA State Rules Advisory Committee since 2007 and has served on the Games Committee for the State Track & Field Championships on three occasions. Coach Kirk is the editor of the state coaches’ association newsletter, The Runner, as well as a pollster for girls cross country in DII. Dave is also the Ohio coaches’ representative to the United States Olympic Committee Paralympic Division and the liaison on behalf of the organization to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The 2006 Fred Dafler Career Coach of the Year, Dave presently coaches indoor/outdoor track and field at Chagrin Falls HS, and cross country at James A. Garfield HS (Garrettsville).

Team totals: District Champions: 8 District Runner-up: 10 Regional Champions: 2 Regional Runner-up: 2 State Champions: 1 State Runners-up: 2 State qualifying teams: 5
Milt Place (2012)
Milt Place

Over the past 36 years in track and field and 28 years in cross country, all Milt Place has done is win. A former runner under the renowned national coach, Joe Vigil of Adams State, Milt was a part of the 1971 National Championship team in cross country. In 1980, he began the women’s cross country program at Tiffin Columbian HS and guiding the Tornadoes to a Regional Runner-up title in 1982 as well as 13th and 15th place finishes at the 1982 and 1983 State Meets. Milt directed the Tiffin Cross Country Carnival that has become one of the biggest high school events in the nation. In 1983, Coach Place served as an assistant coach on the 1987 Mid East Championship squad.

In 1992, when he came to Medina, he did it all over again. Milt began the Medina Festival as a way to continue promoting cross country in Northeast Ohio. As the boys head cross country coach, Milt’s teams have won numerous District and Regional titles. Medina has gone to the Cross Country Championships the past eight years consecutively earning State Runner-up honors in 2010 and winning the State Championship in 2007. Also in 2007, Medina was invited to compete in the Nike Team National Meet where they finished 12th in the country.

Milt has numerous coaching awards including the Cleveland Plain Dealer Coach of the Year in 2007. Significantly, Milt has won the Distinguished Service Award in two separate Districts: District 6 in 1992, and District 3 in 1996 for his contributions to the sport.

Milt continues to be a part of the OATCCC and will be the head boys coach for the Mid East Meet in 2012 and 2013.

Team totals: District Champions: 6 District Runner-up: 2 Regional Champions: 3 Regional Runner-up: 3 State Champions: 1 State Runners-up: 1 State qualifying teams: 10
Lou Slapnik (2012)
Lou Slapnik

Before coming to Collinwood High School, Lou spent nine years as the coach at Patrick Henry Middle School where his teams won eight consecutive MS Cleveland City Championships. Named head coach at Collinwood in 1994, Lou created a dynasty leading the Lady Railroaders into the limelight and drawing national attention to his athletes.

Collinwood won the Jesse Owens Cleveland City Championships in each of Lou’s seventeen years in a streak that may never be broken. Eight times they won District Championships with seven District Runner-up titles. At the Regional level, Lou’s teams won eight Regional Championship titles along with six Regional Runner-up titles.

Most significantly, Coach Slapnik’s teams won nine State Championships (eight in Division I and the 2010 title in Division II) along with one Runner-up title in 2007. Collinwood dominated OHSAA competition winning five of those championships consecutively between 1997 and 2001 as well as three in a row between 2004 and 2006. Collinwood became synonymous with the State Meet as they scored 10 or more team points in each of the seventeen years of Lou’s tenure.

Under his guidance, Collinwood won State Championship honors in forty-one individual events along with numerous state records, some of which still stand. On the national level, Lou has coached Nike HS Outdoor National Champions in seven events and Collinwood relay teams have been a fixture in these races throughout his career.

Lou retired at the end of the 2010 track and field season.

Team totals: District Champions: 8 District Runner-up: 7 Regional Champions: 8 Regional Runner-up: 6 State Champions: 9 State Runners-up: 1 OATCCC Indoor State Champions: 5 OATCCC Indoor State Runners-up: 1

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