February 6, 2022
American singer and actor Frank Sinatra released a single of this song back in 1950 featuring the B. Swanson Quartet. Last week in NWI, WE LIVED IT!! After TWWWWOOOOOOOOOO days of winter storm, the roads were cleared, folks shoveled themselves out, and the Brickies finished the week STRONG in sports with IHSAA post-season competition on the mat and in the pool! Maybe next week ol' blue eyes will tell us how Hobart is "My kind of town"?
At any rate, I'm doing it Myyyyyyyyyyy Waaaaaaaaaayyyy ... and it's time for BricksCenter!
On Saturday, Hobart hosted the IHSAA Wrestling Regional for the 5th consecutive year.
The Brickies brought competitors in 12 out of 14 weight classes ... each one of them competing for a shot at advancing to next weekend's semi-state at East Chicago Central High School. In order to advance, a wrestler must finish in the top 4 places. There was a lot on the line for our boys Saturday. Not only were they individually trying to advance to next weekend, but also collectively compete for a team title ... a race that came down to 3 teams ... Portage, 3-time defending champion Merrillville, and our Brickies. Here we go!
Brackets for each weight class included 8 competitors - the top 4 place winners from last weekend's sectional competitions at East Chicago and Portage. A win in the 1st round would guarantee a trip to the semi-state! On Saturday, 10 of the 12 Brickies in action WON their 1st round match and advanced to next weekend!! The most exciting of which occurred at heavyweight where senior Alex Pickett defeated an enormous kid from Munster 1-0 in an exhausting, 3-period BATTLE! INCREDIBLE!! In the semifinals, 7 of those 10 WON AGAIN setting up a shot at an individual title! That's right ... DA BRICKIES had a wrestler in the championship round of HALF the weight classes! The most exciting was a COME-FROM-BEHIND 7-6 VICTORY by freshman Daniel Mata @ 120 lbs!! AWESOME!! With 7 wrestlers in the finals, Hobart stayed within reach of the team crown behind fellow area powerhouse Merrillville.
In the championship round held under the spotlight, OUR BOYS SHINED and came away with 4 REGIONAL CHAMPIONS!! At 113-lbs, senior Trevor Schammert won by PIN in the 3rd period and earned his 3rd consecutive REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Next it was freshman Aidan Costello at 152-lbs. Costello was FANTASTIC all day and won the title with an 8-0 major decision! At 182-lbs, senior Jake Simpson showed great poise and control as he WON his 3rd STRAIGHT REGIONAL TITLE with a 10-0 major decision! Finally, it was classmate Justin Sawyer's turn at 195-lbs. In a NAIL-BITER ... leading 3-2 late in the 3rd period ... Sawyer was able to hang on just long enough to outlast his Merrillville counterpart and when the buzzer sounded, WIN his 2nd CONSECUTIVE REGIONAL! UNBELIEVABLE!!
I'm exhausted just reliving it ... SO EXCITING ... WHAT A PERFORMANCE by our boys!!
10 Semi-state qualifiers ... 4 REGIONAL CHAMPIONS ... I'd say it was a FANTASTIC day to BE A BRICKIE! Merrillville actually crowned the most individual champions on the day with 5 ... 1 more than our boys ... and sent 11 on to next week's semistate to earn their 4th consecutive team championship with 198.5 points. The Brickies finished 2nd overall with 171 points ahead of 3rd place Portage (147 points). WHAT A DAY!
Here are your Brickie SEMI-STATE QUALIFIERS:
106 - freshman Seth Aubin - Regional RUNNER-UP
113 - senior Trevor Schammert - REGIONAL CHAMPION
120 - freshman Daniel Mata - Regional RUNNER-UP
126 - senior Donovan Ruiz - Regional RUNNER-UP
145 - junior Jonny McGill - 3rd place
152 - freshman Aidan Costello - REGIONAL CHAMPION
182 - senior Jake Simpson - REGIONAL CHAMPION
195 - senior Justin Sawyer - REGIONAL CHAMPION
220 - senior Ashton Battistella - 3rd place
285 - senior Alex Pickett - 4th place
The next stop on the #BrickRODE is the East Chicago SEMI-STATE!
To quote former White Sox announcer Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson, "DON'T STOP NOW BOYS!!!"
Check out what the NWI Times had to say about Saturday's IHSAA REGIONAL!
Merrillville wrestlers make it four straight regional titles
Swimming & Diving
GirlsWell folks ... this was SECTIONAL WEEK for the Lady Brickies! Valparaiso High School was the site for the IHSAA Sectional prelims and finals and all I can say is THESE GIRLS WERE ON FIRE!!!! (Thank you Alicia Keys)
The IHSAA organizes it's sectional competition into 2 sessions ... preliminary swimming heats are held on Thursday night to determine consolation and final races, which take place on Saturday afternoon. This year ... thanks to snowmageddon 2022 ... the meet was changed to a Friday-Saturday event. The diving competition occurs entirely on Saturday with each girl diving 8 times in the morning ... and then three more that afternoon to reach a total of 11 dives for their score. There are no "regionals" or "semi-state" in swimming, competitors that either place 1st in their event or achieve a qualifying time advance directly to the STATE FINALS held next weekend in Indy. For diving, the top 4 scorers advance to a mid-week regional ... also hosted by VHS ... and the top 8 from regionals move on to STATE.
Ok, now that we've got the basics ... how did the Lady Brickies do? AMAZING!!!
Out of 12 teams in attendance, Hobart placed 6th OVERALL with a team total of 126 points!
Chesterton won 9 of the 11 swimming events to claim the title ... their 700th in a row I think.
Some highlights in the water from the 2-day competition include the Lady Brickie 200-yd Medley Relay team composed of freshman Brogan McDonald and seniors Meghan Horn, Bridget Chavez & Chelsea Chavez dropping 5 seconds off their season-best to place 9th, McDonald swimming an 8-second PERSONAL BEST in the 500-yd freestyle to finish 12th, and the 400-yd Freestyle Relay team cutting a RIDICULOUS 12 SECONDS off their previous best time to finish on the podium in 7th place!! The 400-yd Free Relay team includes Horn and classmate Brooke Blanchard, junior Hailey Blood and sophomore Marie White!
On the diving board ... where the Lady Brickies have SHINED all year ... junior Daeges Morgan qualified for the DIVING REGIONAL on Tuesday @ Valpo High School after placing 4th in the 1-meter diving competition!! This is her FIRST YEAR DIVING and will be her 1st trip to the REGIONAL! UNBELIEVABLE!! Senior Sydney Arias was fantastic and finished 5th ... just 0.05 pts behind Morgan ... and classmate Autumn Turley, after not diving last year due to injury, came all the way back and earned a podium spot in 6th place!! OUTSTANDING!!
What a PHENOMENAL performance by the Lady Brickies! Legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to say, "Be at your best when your best is needed." MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
GREAT JOB GIRLS! YOU MAKE US VERY PROUD!!
Here are results from the IHSAA Sectional:
200 yd Medley Relay - 9th place = freshman Brogan McDonald and seniors Meghan Horn, Bridget Chavez & Chelsea Chavez
200 yd Free - 10th place = McDonald
200 yd IM - 16th place = C.Chavez
1 M Diving - 4th = junior Daeges Morgan (REGIONAL QUALIFIER), 5th = senior Sydney Arias, 6th = senior Autumn Turley
100 yd Fly - 13th = C.Chavez, 15th = sophomore Marie White
500 yd Free - 12th = McDonald
200 yd Free Relay - 8th = McDonald, C. Chavez, Horn & senior Brooke Blanchard
100 yd Back - 16th = Horn
400 yd Free Relay - 7th = Horn, Blanchard, White & junior Hailey Blood
The boys had zero meets this past week due to the girls competing in the sectional. They will DIVE into their own IHSAA Sectional competition in about 10 days. GOOD LUCK BOYS!!
Junior Daeges Morgan is a REGIONAL QUALIFIER in the 1-meter dive!
The Brickie boys swimmers dressed as "The Phases of Coach Ken's Life" while cheering on the girls at the Valpo Sectional!
The Lady Brickies finished the regular season with a record of 11-11 ... their highest win total since the 2014-2015 season ... and were scheduled to begin IHSAA Sectional play last Wednesday night. Frosty the snowman had different plans and instead, our girls played the nightcap of a double-header on Friday against heavily favored Valparaiso, who entered the contest at 17-4 and ranked in the area's top 5.
Early on, each team was able to shake off any potential nervous energy as the 1st quarter went BACK & FORTH! A basket by junior Asia Donald and a pair of 3's from sophomore Emma Ortiz kept Hobart close early as Hobart trailed just 11-8 midway through the opening stanza. The Lady Vikings went on a 12-4 run to close out the 1st 8 minutes and led 23-12 at quarter's end. Over the next two quarters, the deficit remained in double-figures, but for the most part our girls played powerhouse Valpo pretty even and headed into the final frame with hopes of making a dramatic comeback! Unfortunately, despite giving a GREAT EFFORT, the Lady Brickies just couldn't quite cut the Viking advantage to less than 10 points and truly get within striking distance. Valpo scored the final 5 points of the game to win 62-42, thus ending the season for our girls. Donald scored a game-high 24 points ... Amarea and Ortiz each added 6.
Valparaiso lost in the semifinals to Merrillville, who will meet the host Crown Point Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday for the championship.
As for the Lady Brickies, they walked off the floor for the last time with their heads held high. It was a GREAT YEAR ... one that included a Holiday Tournament CHAMPIONSHIP, the 1st Northwest Crossroads Conference victory in 4 years, and 11 regular season wins for the 1st time in 7 years. All seasons are like a roller-coaster with highs and lows, but the Lady Brickies STAYED THE COURSE and ALWAYS represented H-town with PRIDE! The sectional loss hurts, but when our girls look back on the 2021-2022 season, they should smile knowing that they gave it everything they had and left it all out there on the court.
THANK YOU once again to our seniors - Melanie Leonard, Amarea Donald, Shanena Knight and Piper Logan - along with the coaching staff and every player for so much hard WORK WORK WORK over the last 4 months!
The boys cagers were scheduled to travel to NCC foe Kankakee Valley last Thursday, but the snow drifts and travel risks caused a postponement to Thursday, 2/24/2022. With no other contests planned, our boys got a chance to get some WORK WORK WORK done in preparation for the homestretch of the regular season ... one more month to get ready for post-season play. WE GOT THIS!!
When most people think of superheroes, particularly these days, names like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor & Spiderman come to mind. In the City of Hobart, we had Steve Balash. Steve was a superhero in every way that a man can be one ... and he even used to wear a Batman costume on Halloween :). A 1968 Hobart graduate and Yohan look-a-like, Coach Balash was captain of the football team at Indiana State University before marrying his high school sweetheart, earning his degree, and returning home to raise a family in his home town.
Coach Balash served the School City of Hobart for nearly 50 years as a teacher and coached Brickie student athletes in football, wrestling, track and life for half a century. He helped the Brickies on the gridiron reach the state finals 12 times and win 4 championships. On the wrestling mat, he led 66 grapplers to the state finals and coached 8 champions. For track, Coach brought 26 Brickies to the state finals where nearly half earned all-state honors. He is a member of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame, Indiana Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Hobart High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Let's not forget that he was selected as Teacher of the Year multiple times!
No matter how many accolades Steve earned in the classroom or through athletics - and he deserved every single one of them, I firmly believe his favorite roles were husband, father, Papa and friend.
Steve was a strong man with an enormous heart ... someone whose integrity was never in question and always gave of himself for others. His laugh literally filled the room! I had the privilege to work alongside him for nearly 23 years - half my life ... and witness first hand the positive impact he had on those around him.
Although we will miss him dearly, Steve’s presence will never leave us and his light will continue to SHINE in the hearts and lives of all who were impacted by him.
Until we meet again Coach - May God Bless you and keep you
“The WILL of God will never take you to where the GRACE of God will not protect you”
This video was put together by Cathy Nelson in honor of Coach Balash and his lasting legacy
Sports Schedule This Week
Gymnastics vs. Portage/Lowell (SENIOR NIGHT)
Boys Basketball C-team @ Illiana Christian
Daeges Morgan @ IHSAA Diving Regional (Valparaiso High School)
Boys Basketball vs. Hanover Central
Boys Basketball C-team vs. LaPorte
No Events Scheduled
Boys Basketball @ Andrean *
Wrestling @ IHSAA Semistate (East Chicago High School)
* = NCC Opponent