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From an early age, sport can be a common ground between a child and a father.
The interest of the father is transmitted to the child and this can often open up a whole new world for him. This child may continue to play youth sports before moving on to high school and if things go accordingly, it may also lead to college and even professional sports. What may start as a weekend afternoon outing to games can become a livelihood.
The Mahoning Valley has had no shortage of successful father/son and father/daughter pairings in all high school sports over the past school year.
This Father’s Day, the Tribune Chronicle and The Vindicator have chosen to highlight some of these special connections.
JUST A FAMILY THING
Madison Angelo’s situation with Canfield softball was unique.
Not only did she have the opportunity to play for her father, Joe, during his high school career, but her mother, Erin, also coached the Cardinals.
“It’s kind of like a family affair,” Madison said. “It’s definitely an experience because playing high school is always a fun thing to do. Having your dad in the middle of it all – there’s a really good bond that formed between us and that’s kind of been a big part of our relationship. Just having that with him was special.
Now that Madison has graduated, Joe and Erin will no longer be coaching the Cardinals, but they still have a plethora of shared memories between them that they can always reflect on, including this season’s run for the district championship.
“It’s something we can look back on and remember and talk about for so long,” Madison said. “No matter how much time passes, these will always be vital memories that we will always have together. Not many people can say that and I’m really glad I had those memories with him.
During Canfield’s senior night and during the post-season team banquet, Madison gave a speech as one of the team’s seniors. She reflected on her high school career and the time she played for her father.
“She recognized me and all the time and years and effort,” Joe said. “When you hear your child recognize you that way, it was special.”
Not only did Joe coach Madison High School, but he also coached her travel team.
Last summer, before Madison’s senior season, her travel team won national championships in Space Coast, Florida. They haven’t lost a match all week and after winning the championship match, the pair had a chance to celebrate together.
“It was just a huge moment for everyone,” Madison said. “It was really special. I will always remember that look that happened between us at that time.
SEVEN YEARS TOGETHER
What started seven years ago culminated at the Jack Arvin Classic earlier this month.
Crestview football coach Paul Cusick has been ‘blessed’ to have the opportunity to coach two of his sons over the past seven years. It started with his oldest son, Gabe, who played linebacker for the Rebels from 2015 to 2018, and now his youngest son Anthony has just completed his final year as a quarterback for Crestview.
“Being able to see your son develop, grow and mature in the program means a lot and is very special,” said Paul. “Anthony has had a very solid career and Gabe has enjoyed his time as well. There’s a lot of pride you have when you coach your son.
On Senior Night against Champion at the end of the regular season, the Golden Flashes scored 10 unanswered points to force overtime.
Crestview’s attack got the ball with a chance to win the game. Before taking the field, Paul had a heart-to-heart conversation with his son.
“He pulled me aside and told me I had to score the game-winning touchdown,” Anthony said. “I will probably remember this conversation forever, just then.”
Anthony would go on to achieve that goal for the Rebels, leading them to victory in overtime.
“(It was) pretty special,” Paul said.
When Crestview’s season ended a few weeks later against Bellaire in the playoffs, both Anthony and Paul thought it would be the last time they would take the field together.
However, when the Game Director of the annual Jack Arvin Classic contacted Paul to gauge his interest in coaching the all-star Mahoning team, he saw an opportunity.
“I selfishly thought it would give me a chance to train my son once again,” Paul said. “It was a great atmosphere and a great game to go out. We haven’t had him for a few years, so I really appreciated the chance to coach him (again) for (these) two weeks.
Anthony ended up being named Mahoning’s team MVP for the game after going 21-for-31 for 273 passing yards and two touchdowns.
“It was such a blessing because we thought it would be all at the end of the regular season,” Anthony said. “Our last playoff game, we thought it would be our last playoff game together, so we were really excited (to be in this game).”
After 20 years of training in Division I college basketball, Bernard Scott wanted a change.
He had missed enough time with his family due to the time constraints of being a college coach. Thus, he took over the Ursulines women’s basketball program before last season. This allowed him to coach his daughter Lily, an Irish keeper.
“It was a great experience,” said Bernard. “When I was in college for as long as I was, I missed a lot of his games. So for us to be in the same team and to be able to be on the same touchline, that’s great for me. And I enjoy every minute. »
For Lily, having her dad at her games was a bit of an adjustment at first, but overall she’s grateful to have him there.
“It’s good for him to be here,” Lily said. “It’s a bit different because he definitely has higher expectations for me because he knows what I’m capable of, so he pushes me a bit more than other coaches.”
Attending her dad’s varsity games when she was young led Lily to take up the game herself, and she hasn’t looked back since — Lily was the second on the team to score last season as a sophomore, with an average of 8.9 points per game. She ended her season scoring 23 points in a District semi-final loss to Brookfield.
The Ursulines season opener in November marked a special moment for the pair, as it was their first game on the pitch together.
“It was my first opportunity to train her and be on the sidelines with her,” Bernard said. “Any time I can see her doing what she loves is a big moment for me.”
FROM TEE BALL TO
In Lakeview’s final softball game of the season against Niles, the team wanted to honor its two seniors, Kylie Imes and Raegan Schick, with a “last at bat” during the game.
First, Imes hit and ended up on base. So head coach Nate Schick called a time out to bring in a courtesy runner and allow Imes to get a standing ovation as she walked off the field.
Then, a few batters later, it was Raegan’s turn.
Raegan got hit, but Raegan sailed to right field and she circled the bases as fast as she could. As she rounded second base, tears began to well up in her eyes. She made it to third, where none other than her third base coach and her father Nate were waiting for her.
“It ended up being for a triple and I’m pretty sure it was his only triple of his high school career,” Nate said. “It was his last at bat and I coach third base, so it was a very cool moment. She and I were pretty much in tears as she approached the base. It was just a really cool way for her to hang out.
Nate’s introduction to coaching was unlike most others. He got involved “by default” because no one else was available to do the job.
It has allowed him and Raegan to learn and grow together in the game over the years. It started with 10U starter ball in the Lakeview recreational league and culminated in high school softball.
“I was constantly trying to improve myself as a coach and improve my knowledge of the game, and I had to do that with her,” Nate said. “So it was a great bonding experience for us.”
After that last game, Raegan wanted to show his appreciation for Nate and all he had done for her over the years as a father and coach.
So she wrote a touching note to her dad on social media, which read, “Dear dad, thank you. Thank you for taking risks. For pushing me to my limits. Thank you for learning to love this sport with me over the past 10 years. Thank you for always being my biggest fan and the most kick-(expletive) coach in the whole world. My heart feels really broken.
“And we may not have any more time together on the diamond, but I know that you will always continue to push me, always love me, always kick (expletive) with me, even if this ain’t from the third base line I love you