Fort Frye girls, Kellar in limbo

As the fourth-quarter clock wound down in Fort Frye’s 49-31 regional triumph over second-ranked Portsmouth Notre Dame last Saturday night at Pickerington North, Cadet head coach Dan Liedtke was able to sub for the five starters.

When it came time for Kiersten Kesselring, Liv Schneider, Lexie Huck, Kenzie Dalton, and Hannah Archer to stroll off the floor to the bench, each was greeted with a hug by the FFHS boss and a standing ovation from their loyal fans.

Non-starters’ Riley Medley and Karlee Ross also got hugs and cheers.

Finally, there was the sound of the buzzer, ending the contest. Fort (26-2) was advancing to the Division IV Final Four at St. John Arena, and scheduled to play the two-time defending champion Minster Wildcats (22-5) in a semifinal at 8 p.m. March 12.

“It feels unreal that we’re one of four teams at state,” said Archer after the regional victory. “It’s unbelievable.”

Well… now, it’s both unreal and unbelievable that the girls basketball tournament and all the remaining winter tourneys, including wrestling, ice hockey, and boys basketball, have been postponed due to the crisis situation with the coronavirus COVID-19.

Also affected by this OHSAA announcement was undefeated Warren wrestler Peyten Kellar (48-0), who was slated to compete in an opening-round 145-pound match today at the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

With what’s going on in the nation with the spread of the virus — and all over the world for that matter — it’s a good call — a no-brainer really. It’s an old cliche, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

According to OHSAA, no timetable has been determined for possible rescheduling of the tournaments.

Does this mean that competition might resume in a couple of weeks? Next month? Two months from now?

Maybe never?

Nobody really knows for certain.

After Fort whipped Notre Dame in the regional championship game, Kesselring, the only senior on the Cadet roster, said, “I get to play another game. I’m not done. I’m so excited for that.”

If you listened to Kesselring’s haunting words on my tape recorder, you could get emotional in lieu of what has transpired during the last 24 hours.

But for Kiersten’s sake, I’m going to be optimistic and believe that she and her Fort teammates, who have worked so hard all winter, will somehow someway somewhere get an opportunity to play one and hopefully two more games this girls basketball season.

Same goes for Kellar in his quest to become the third boys wrestling champion in the school’s history.

Somehow, we’ve all just got to keep the faith — and hope and pray for the best.

Ron Johnston can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com


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