It was her second-grade year at Reid Elementary School and Sarah Newland needed something for show-and-tell.
So Newland brought her devastating fastball. And she made her mother, Karla, come in to catch.
In the years after, Newland had plenty to show from her blazing fastball. But she had to do it with a different catcher.
“My mom probably gave up about fourth or fifth grade (trying to catch me),” said Newland, Springfield South’s lone four-time, first-team All-Ohio selection in any sport. “Dad even didn’t hang around for too much longer.”
Newland, a 2002 South graduate, returns to Springfield tonight for another show-and-tell moment: Her induction into the Springfield High School Hall of Fame. She joins her father, Greg, a coach who was inducted in 2012 as South’s all-time career wins leader in softball.
“I’m definitely honored and humbled by it,” Sarah Newland said. “For me to go in behind my dad with the legacy he built there. He really built that program and it makes it even more special to be in the Hall of Fame along with him.”
Newland is joined in the 2017 Hall of Fame class by Myra Gaskins (South Class of 1977), Bucky Vance (South, 1983), Jim Picolo (North, 1982), Steve Victoria (North, 1989) and coach John Blackwood.
The class will be honored prior to the boys varsity basketball game against Centerville. The induction ceremony will be held in the Springfield High School library at 6 p.m.
“I’m still really good friends with a lot of the girls I played with,” Newland said. “A few of my teammates will be there. You never forget those moments or those experiences. Those moments are for a lifetime and the relationships that form because of them. It really becomes a part of who you are.”
Newland’s softball career at South included 88 career wins, 62 career shutouts, 20 shutouts in a season, 10 consecutive shutouts, 83 consecutive shutout innings pitched, three perfect games in a season, 22 career no-hitters and three consecutive no-hitters in a season. While proud of those accomplishments, it’s often what happened before and after the games that Newland fondly remembers most.
Team meetings took place in front of South’s massive window’s that overlooked the softball field.
“We used to call it The Windows. We’d sit down before and after the game in The Windows and (my dad) talk about so much more than softball,” Newland said. “He’d put it into perspective how this will impact our lives and to not take it for granted. The relationship with the team, the camaraderie, it’s something I take with me to this day.”
Newland is looking forward to reuniting with former classmates, and on this night, one in particular. The Columbus resident isn’t able to attend Springfield events, so she’s excited to watch Isaiah Carson coach the Wildcats against the rival Elks. Springfield (13-2) holds a one-game lead over Centerville (10-5) in the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division.
“To be there for a game like that — I know what those South and Centerville games are like and a league title game like that — that’s what makes it even more special to be honored. Isaiah has his guys contending for a league title so that’s pretty exciting as well,” Newland said. “It just shows the impact South athletics had on us all. He grew up around it like I did. Once you’re there you’re a lifer.”
Springfield High School’s Class of 2017 Hall of Fame
(Bios courtesy of Springfield High School)
Sarah Newland, South High School Class of 2002
Sarah Newland graduated from South High School in 2002 where she was a four-year letter winner in both volleyball and softball.
It was on the softball field that Sarah made her mark. Under the direction of her father, fellow Hall of Fame Head Coach Greg Newland, Sarah would compile one of the finest careers in Springfield City Schools history. As a pitcher, Sarah would lead the Wildcats to 2 WOL titles in 1999 and 2001, and to the District Finals in 2001 and 2002. During her senior season, the LadyCats Softball team won the 2002 District Championship and advanced to Regionals.
During her career from 1999-2002, Sarah would establish many school and district records and rank among the career leaders in Ohio softball history in several statistical categories. Some of her records include:
• 88 career wins- 12th all time in Ohio
• 62 career shutouts- 4th all time in Ohio
• 27 wins in 1 season- 10th in Ohio
• 20 Shutouts in 1 season- 9th in Ohio
• 10 Consecutive Shutouts- 8th in Ohio
• 83 Consecutive Shutout innings- 5th in Ohio
• Lowest Career ERA (.15)- 5th in Ohio
• Perfect Games in a season(3)- 10th in Ohio
• No Hitters in a season(9 in ’01)- 4th in Ohio
• No Hitters in a season (7 in ’02)- 9th in Ohio
• Career No Hitters (22)- 3rd in Ohio
• Consecutive No Hitters(3)- 4th in Ohio
Sarah was named 1st team All WOL for 4 consecutive years and was the Clark County Player of the Year in 2000 and 2002. She is the only athlete in Springfield City Schools history to be named First Team All Ohio for 4 straight years. She would cap her Junior and Senior seasons by being named as a HS All American in 2001 and 2002.
Sarah continued her career at Northern Kentucky University where she would compile an 18-0 career record. Her team would set an NCAA record with 55 wins and advance to the NCAA Final Four twice.
John Blackwood, coach
John Blackwood was a 1942 graduate of Bellefontaine High School, where he played Varsity Football, Basketball and Varsity Baseball.
His college and athletic career at Ohio Northern University was interrupted by World War II. John was on of the thousands of young men who waded ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day. As a Staff Sergeant with a medical division, John worked his way across Europe, part of the division, which liberated two of the Nazi concentration camps.
After the war, he returned to Ohio Northern University where he played Varsity Football and Varsity Baseball as permitted, participation on the undefeated 1949 ONU baseball team. In 1949 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education, specializing in Health and PE, History and Biology.
After college he spent two years teaching and coaching at Westville High School, now part of the Graham District.
In 1952 he joined the staff at Springfield High School. Over the years he taught Biology, Health and various History classes. He was an Assistant football coach and scout during the 50s and 60s and for several years coached the 10th grade basketball team. He served as Assistant and Head Baseball Coach for 30 (??) years, leading the team to at least four district championships until he retired in 1983.
In 2003 John passed away from complications related to mesothelioma. He is survived by his wife, Sue; his daughter Linda and son-in-law Gary Bodey; his son John and daughter-in-law Anna (Iowa City, Iowa); grandsons Justin and Juweon Blackwood, Todd and Tara Bodey, and Kip Bodey; great-grandchildren Joshua, Luke and Kendra Bodey.
Tim “Bucky” Vance, South High School Class of 1983
Tim “Bucky” Vance is a 1983 graduate of South High School, where he was a member of the Football and Track teams for 3 years and also played 1 year of basketball. As a senior, he was a member of the Homecoming Court and was selected by his peers as the Outstanding Senior Male Athlete.
Bucky excelled on the football field for fellow Hall of Famer, Coach Mickey Hannon. The 1982 Wildcat team finished the season with a record of 7-3 behind the running of Vance. As a senior, he was selected as the News-Sun Clark County Offensive Player of the Year, the Western Ohio League Back of the Year, and First Team All Southwest District. He would cap his senior season by being named First Team All Ohio as a Running Back.
A gifted sprinter for the Wildcat Track Team, Bucky was the lead off runner for the 4x100 relay team that recorded the fastest time in Ohio in 1982. Vance was the also the South HS record holder in the 100m for a number of years with a time of 10.7
Following graduation, Bucky attended Hutchinson Community College where he started at Running Back for 2 years and was named to the NJCAA PreSeason All American Team in 1985.
Bucky is the proud father of 3 children: Josh, Oni, and Asha, and is the grandfather of Emmanuel and Isaac.
Steven Victoria, North High School Class of 1989
Steve Victoria is a 1989 graduate of North High School where he played Football and Basketball for the Panthers in addition to running 1 year of Track. Steve was a 3 year letter winner in both Football and Basketball for Hall of Fame Coaches Rick Robertson and Don Henderson.
On the football field, Steve was a captain and MVP as a senior. He was named First Team All Clark County as a defensive end, and was also named First Team All Area, First Team All Dayton Daily News, First Team All WOL, and First Team ALL Southwest District. He was named 2nd Team All Ohio as a senior as he led the Panthers to their first appearance in the OHSAA playoffs.
As a member of the Panthers basketball squad, Steve was a 2 time MVP for Coach Don Henderson. During both his junior and senior seasons, Steve was named First Team All Clark County, First Team All Area, First Team All Dayton Daily News, and First Team All WOL. As a senior, Steve earned Honorable Mention on the All Southwest District team.
Steve accepted a Football Scholarship to the University of Louisville where he was a member of the Cardinals team for 2 seasons. He remains active as a Youth Sports Coach and enjoys helping young athletes develop their skills. He and his wife, Carmen, are the proud parents of son Steven II and daughter Aaliyah.
Jim Picolo, North High School Class of 1982
Jim Picolo graduated from North High School in 1982 where earned a Varsity letter in Football and 3 letters in Wrestling.
It was on the wrestling mat that Jim made his mark. He was a 3 time City Champion, a 2 time Sectional Champion, a 2 time WOL Champion and a 2 time State Qualifier. As a Senior, Jim was named as Co- Wrestler of the Year in Clark County following a season that saw him win the WOL, Sectional, and District Championships. He advanced to the OHSAA State Championships with an undefeated record and finished 3rd in the State.
His finish is the highest placement for a Springfield City Schools wrestler and his 39-1 record stands as the best record in Springfield Schools history.
He was an alternate to the 1981 Elite Jr. World Team and was the AAU Grand National Runner-up the same year. In 1982, Jim won the Joliet International tournament, was National Sports Festival Champion, and again finished as AAU Grand National Runner-Up. Jim was selected to the USA Elite Jr. World Team and finished in 4th place at the Jr. World Championships.
Jim attended the Ohio State University, where he was a 4 year letterman and starter on the Varsity Wrestling Team for the Buckeyes. He earned degrees in Criminology, Russian, and International Business from Ohio State. Jim proudly served in the Ohio National Guard from 1985 – 1990 and in the US Army Reserves from 1990-97.
Jim is a certified Financial Advisor and currently resides in Columbus with his wife Amy, and their 3 children, Luke, Nicholas and Alexandra.
Myra Gaskins, South High School Class of 1977
Myra Gaskins graduated from South HS in 1977 where she participated in Volleyball, Basketball, and Softball for the Wildkittens. The daughter of Lawrence and Mary Tolliver Gaskins, Myra attended the Springfield Schools for her entire academic career.
As an athlete, Myra was a standout on the court for Coach Pat Manness. She was her team’s leading scorer in basketball and was a leader on both the Volleyball and Softball teams. She helped lead the Cats basketball team to a District Runner up finish in 1976. Myra was an outstanding student and received a scholarship to play basketball at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. She would finish her college basketball career at Central State University, where she majored in Physical Education.
Following college, Myra embarked on a career in the United States Army, where she resumed her basketball career as a member of the All Army Basketball Team. She was honorably discharged from the Army after 15 years of loyal service.
Myra returned to Springfield where she began to serve her community through her involvement with youth programs sponsored by the Springfield Metropolitan Housing Authority and the Parks and Recreation Department.
She has actively mentored the youth of Springfield as a coach at Hayward Middle School, the Springfield YMCA, and at South High School. She continues to be an advocate for youth who volunteers wherever she is needed.
Myra would like to offer this bit of advice to the youth of our community: “ Keep a positive attitude and believe in yourself. You can and will achieve if you can stay positive and believe”