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WRITER: Joe Simon

Jacobs retires from celebrated career at YSU

When Elaine Jacobs’ career in athletics began, female sports were more of an afterthought in the Mahoning Valley. Now that she’s finishing up, the role of women in athletics is as strong as ever, and Jacobs is part of the reason why. The longtime assistant athletic director at Youngstown State University retired on June 30, and she did so after blazing a trail of memories and accomplishments with the ...

Good with the bad

Cleanliness was taken to another level during the last few months, and Tani Blount couldn’t be happier about it. The coach for several gymnasts at the Youngstown Gymnastics Center in Boardman, Blount was as disappointed as anyone when the COVID-19 pandemic spoiled their postseason competitions — wiping out state and national events. The pinnacle moments of the season were taken away from the gymnasts, just ...

Bringing down the ’bus

One of the biggest organized basketball tournaments in the nation is about to get a whole lot of Mahoning Valley flavor added to it. Former Warren G. Harding Raiders Jesse Hardin and Shaheed Davis will be both be taking part in The Basketball Tournament, a 5-on-5, single-elimination tournament with a $2 million grand prize. The event begins Saturday in Columbus and will be televised live on ESPN. Ironically, ...

Living out her dream

Addy Jarvis has moved around quite a bit in her career. The former Hubbard High School softball star transferred to Mathews as a senior. The hard-throwing right-hander was dominant at both schools and eventually signed with Youngstown State University. Again, Jarvis was lights out — earning a 2.58 ERA with 218 strikeouts in 170 2/3 innings as a true freshman. The success sparked a dream for Jarvis, who ...

Flash of brilliance

The coronavirus pandemic has caused all sorts of problems for college athletes from the Mahoning Valley, and Michael Turner is certainly one of them. The former Champion High School star was entering his junior season at Kent State after a breakout sophomore campaign that vaulted him into one of the top 200 rated players going into the Major League Baseball draft. Then COVID-19 happened. Bye, bye junior ...

Girard brings in new boys coach

GIRARD — Damon LaRiviere was an assistant coach for the Girard High School boys soccer team last year, and the 52-year-old often would demonstrate some of the agility drills for the Indians. “One of my attributes is my quickness,” LaRiviere said, laughing as he told the story. “These kids are like, ‘Wow, coach, you’re 52? I hope I’m in shape like you when I’m 52.’ “I’d laugh, but ...

GC-360 Summit focusing on more than sports

WARREN — As Michael Engram attempted to put together the fifth annual GameChangers GC-360 Summit, he was faced with plenty of challenges. With the pandemic ruining any chance of bringing dozens of student-athletes together, as the event has done each year, Engram realized this year’s seminar would be drastically different than others. He also realized it might be the most important. “This, of course, ...

Jaws drop at move Howland makes

Jaw-dropping moments are pretty common in sports, and they come in all types. The last-second shot to win the game. The big hit or amazing catch in football. A walk-off hit or a diving catch in the outfield. Heck, they’re a big reason sports are so much fun. There are other shocking moments that have a similar effect but for a different reason (think LeBron James taking his talents to Miami). There ...

Canfield says goodbye to its seniors

Not having a 2020 baseball season was tough for Canfield High School coach Gary Knittle. Saying goodbye to his seniors was even tougher. Knittle was only in his second year as head coach at Canfield, but he was an assistant for five years prior to that, so he worked with this class from the time they were freshman to seniors. He recently brought them all together for a special ceremony and one last ...

Penguins can benefit from proposed move

The NCAA recently released a proposal that would give football teams an extra two weeks to hold walk-throughs and conditioning, and no one could use it more than Youngstown State. The proposal is to be voted on this week and is expected to pass. That’s good news to first-year YSU coach Doug Phillips, who was hired in February and only had a few weeks of in-person time with the Penguins. “If this proposal ...