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West Branch Hall of Fame inductees will be honored

September 12, 2012
Morning Journal News

BELOIT - The West Branch Hall of Fame Committee has announced the 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees.

Inductees include: Mike Kovach, teacher, coach, and longtime athletic director at West Branch; Larry and Joanne Miller, both West Branch graduates and longtime supporters of West Branch Athletic and Community activities; Lisa Dennis, girls basketball standout at West Branch and at Walsh University; Andy Lamancusa, outstanding state champion wrestler at West Branch who continued his wrestling career at Mercyhurst College; and Nathan Sharp, a two-time state wrestling champion in wrestling at West Branch, who also enjoyed a successful wrestling career at Mercyhurst College.

The Hall of Fame inductees will be announced before the West Branch home varsity football game on Friday versus Alliance High School. A reception in their honor is being sponsored by the West Branch Alumni Association immediately following the game in the Meiter Athletic Building. The event is free and open to the public. The Hall of Fame dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the West Branch High School cafeteria. Reservations are required. The induction ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the West Branch Community Auditorium in the high school. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

The West Branch Alumni Association will host a four person scramble at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Westville Lakes Golf Course. For information about the golf scramble or any of the Hall of Fame Events, contact the superintendent's office at 330-938-9324.

4MIKE KOVACH: Mike Kovach graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1970 and earned his master's degree from Kent State University in 1974. He began his teaching and coaching career in 1970 at West Branch Junior High. He served as athletic director at West Branch from 1988-2008. At West Branch, Kovach has coached football, started the junior high wrestling program, served as head varsity wrestling coach, and as head baseball coach. He was inducted into the Bedford High School Hall of Fame in 2006. He received the State Award of Merit in 2004 and the Sportsmanship Award in 2003. In his time as athletic director, Kovach coordinated the addition of several sports. These included junior high golf, boys and girls soccer, and cross country. He also oversaw the expansion of the West Branch Athletic facilities, with the addition of a varsity soccer field, baseball and softball fields, the new high school field house and the all weather track. Kovach spent his entire career at West Branch, retiring in 2008. He says it was a great honor to work with so many talented students and so many great colleagues. He and his wife Helen, also a former West Branch teacher, currently live in Florida.

4LARRY AND JOANNE MILLER: Larry Miller ('67) and Joanne (Burton) Miller ('69) are both graduates of West Branch High School. Since they graduated, they have been active participants in the life of West Branch Local Schools. They currently serve on the West Branch Alumni Association Executive Committee and give countless hours of service behind-the-scenes to such events at the Hall of Fame Activities, Alumni Scholarship Committee, and the new Alumni Holiday Event. Their two daughters (Heather and Jennifer) are also graduates of West Branch. Larry and Joanne Miller are also active in the Salem VFW, the Salem UTC, and the Goshen Ruritan Club. Larry is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in Vietnam. He and Joanne were long-time owners of the Quaker City IGA and always gave faithfully and graciously back to the West Branch Community. They are being honored tonight for over 40 years of continued service to West Branch.

4LISA DENNIS: Lisa Dennis is a 1985 graduate of West Branch High School and a 1990 graduate of Walsh University. At West Branch High School, Dennis earned 11 varsity letters (four in basketball and track and three in volleyball). During her basketball career, she was an outstanding basketball player, amassing 1,100 career points. She continued her basketball career at Walsh University where she was named an Academic All American. Dennis is an operations supervisor with the Social Security Administration and has worked for the federal government since 1991.

4ANDY LAMANCUSA: Andy Lamancusa graduated from West Branch High School in 2006. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2010. At West Branch, Lamancusa was a two-time state placer in wrestling. He holds the school record in season and career take downs and a high school record of 124 wins and 16 losses. While at Mercyhurst, Lamancusa was a three time All-American and a three time All Academic American with a college record of 119 wins and 45 losses. He holds the career win of 119 wins and the season win record of 37 wins, as well as the season take down record. In 2010, he was named Male Student Athlete of the Year at Mercyhurst. He is currently an intervention specialist and wrestling coach at West Branch Middle School.

4NATHAN SHARP: Nathan Sharp is a 2007 graduate of West Branch High School and a 2011 graduate of Mercyhurst College. At West Branch, Sharp was an outstanding football player and wrestler. He was named first team NBC, first team all district, and special mention all state. He was also named a North Ohio All-Star in the North/South All-Star Football Game his senior year. As a high school wrestler, he was a four-time state qualifier, three time state finalists and West Branch's only two-time state champion in any sport. Among his wrestling records are 30 pins in one season, 93 career pins, 43 wins in one season and a career total of 145 wins. He currently works for Hippley Excavating.



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