Aurora — A planned change in athletic conferences in 2015 and an impressive tournament run by the Greenmen varsity baseball team highlighted local sports news in 2013.
Also, Greenmen fall sports teams won six Chagrin Valley Conference championships.
TO SUBURBAN LEAGUE
The local Board of Education made it official Sept. 23 — the district will join the Suburban League starting with the 2015-16 school year.
The Suburban League has been around since 1949, mostly functioning as a one-division, eight-team league.
Current members are Cloverleaf, Copley, Highland, Nordonia, Revere, Tallmadge, Wadsworth and Green, but the latter is pulling out to join the Canton area Federal League, and Cloverleaf has announced intentions to join the Portage Trail Conference.
Under the likely setup, 16 schools will be divided into two, eight-team divisions according to enrollment.
Aurora will be in the small school division with Barberton, Copley, Highland, Kent Roosevelt, Revere, Tallmadge. Cloverleaf’s late year announcement about joining the PTC leaves league officials facing the task of finding a replacement in the small school division.
The large school division will include Cuyahoga Falls, North Royalton, Nordonia, Hudson, Stow-Munroe Falls, Twinsburg, Wadsworth and Brecksville-Broadview Heights.
“After actions prompted by members of the Chagrin Valley Conference, which decided to change their affiliation and create a new league — thus removing Aurora and Kenston — Aurora has been active in discussions with neighboring schools to try to create a new league and to talk with presently established leagues like the Suburban,” said Superintendent Russ Bennett.
“The Suburban is a good fit for Aurora, with schools having a similar makeup and sharing the same ideals in academics, the arts and athletics. The league also matches up our middle school programming so travel can be minimized.
“Our middle school teams will cross over divisions and play schools in close proximity so we can get those students home earlier from competitions since all contests are on weekdays.”
BASEBALL TEAM ROLLS
The Greenmen assumed the role of David against Goliath (Cincinnati Moeller) in a Division I state semifinal baseball game, and was hoping to continue its postseason success against much larger opponents.
It was the first time Aurora advanced to the state tournament in school history. The game was played at Huntington Park, home of the Class AAA Columbus Clippers, a minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
Having beaten Austintown Fitch 13-5, North Canton Hoover 7-5 and Mentor 2-1 in its three previous contests (district finals and two regional games), the Greenmen again were the underdogs against a school which has had tremendous success in many sports for decades.
In fact, Moeller, which went on to earn its seventh state baseball title with a 7-1 victory over St. Ignatius, had previously made 10 appearances in state semifinal games and was ranked No. 2 in Division I in Ohio in 2013.
Although Aurora’s boys were confident they could pull off another upset and advance to the state title game, their hopes were dashed as Moeller (30-2) struck early and often on its way to a 13-1 victory.
“Despite some adversity early in the year, we had a great season [28-5 record],” said Aurora head coach Tim Deering. “Today just wasn’t our best game.”
The adversity Deering referred to was a controversial change in coaches, when veteran George Snider was not awarded a supplemental contract to guide the team last season.
FALL SPORTS SUCCESS
The football team’s CVC Chagrin Division co-championship with Chagrin Falls (both teams 6-1 in the division) is the one which received the most attention since it is the sport which attracts the most fans during the fall season.
But the boys soccer unit posted a 6-0-1 mark in the CVC, good for a title, and finished 12-3-4 overall. The girls soccer unit claimed an outright CVC crown with a 5-0-1 mark (12-5-1 overall).
The girls cross country earned top honors in the eight-team Chagrin Division meet for only the second time in school history, while the boys golf team repeated as overall Chagrin Division champion, going 7-0 in dual matches and winning the preseason and postseason tournaments.
The girls tennis team earned its fifth CVC crown in a row, going undefeated in regular season dual matches and again won the conference tournament.