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High school notebook: Firestone swimmer Mark Belanger commits to Ohio State

By Michael Beaven
Beacon Journal sports writer

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Firestone High School senior Mark Belanger has signed with Ohio State University to continue his academic and swimming careers on scholarship.

“I’m excited to swim in college,” Belanger said. “I’m looking forward to swimming faster, and I’m excited that I get to keep doing the sport I love.”

Belanger, 18, said that he also strongly considered the Naval Academy.

“I am excited for Mark,” Firestone swim coach Cindy Virdo said. “He is just starting to come into his own. He will bloom in college. I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to progress in high school and then in college. He is a great student and a great kid.”

Belanger has a 4.2 cumulative grade-point average and takes International Baccalaureate classes at Firestone. He finished second at the Division I state meet last season in the 100-yard freestyle at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton and placed sixth in the 100 backstroke.

Belanger said he posted his personal best times in each event Saturday in the Speedo USA Junior Nationals in Knoxville, Tenn. He clocked 45.5 seconds in the 100 freestyle and 51.2 seconds in the 100 backstroke.

Hoban at St. V-M sold out

The boys basketball game between Archbishop Hoban and host St. Vincent-St. Mary at 7:30 tonight is a sellout. The JV game is at 6 p.m.

All spectators must have a ticket for admittance. No tickets will be sold at the door, and no passes will be accepted.

Wakefield returns to Perry

Keith Wakefield is returning to Perry High School to coach the Panthers football team.

Perry announced the hiring of Wakefield as its football coach Monday.

Wakefield previously coached Perry from 1982-2003, going 157-74. His 157 wins are fourth-most in Stark County history. He also coached St. Vincent-St. Mary for two seasons in 2004 and 2005 and posted a record of 11-11.

“He is the right coach for our program at this point in time, in order to bring Perry’s program back to one of consistent competitiveness with other Federal League programs,” Perry Local Superintendent John Richard said.

Wakefield’s Perry teams won 11 Federal League titles in 22 seasons and reached the state playoffs four times. The 2000 Panthers advanced to the Division I state semifinals. He guided the 2005 Fighting Irish team to a state playoff berth.

“As we reviewed the criteria for out next head coach, it led us directly to Keith Wakefield,” Perry Athletic Director Todd Sutton said. “We are thrilled that he is the right fit, and is available and excited to be back at Perry.

Wakefield replaces Keith Boedicker, who resigned last week after going 13-17 in three seasons.

Perry has been to the playoffs just once since Wakefield left the program. John “Spider” Miller, who replaced Wakefield, guided the Panthers to the postseason in 2006. Perry went 9-2 that season, which is just one of three winning seasons by the Panthers since the departure of Wakefield.

Wakefield has been an assistant coach at the University of Mount Union for six seasons. Wakefield will meet with the team this afternoon and plans to meet with parents later this week.

Glover-Williams nabs offers

Canton McKinley quarterback Eric Glover-Williams is just a sophomore, but he is already on the radar of big college football programs.

The Canton Repository reported that Glover-Williams has scholarship offers from Ohio State, Nebraska and Illinois.

Glover-Williams logged varsity playing time as a freshman and then emerged this season as a dynamic sophomore at 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds. His speed and quickness gave opponents fits on a weekly basis.

McKinley coach Todd Filtz said Glover-Williams is being recruited as an athlete, and not specifically as a quarterback.

Glover-Williams rushed for 1,574 yards on 243 carries and scored 22 touchdowns. He completed 75-of-154 passes for 1,114 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Glover-Williams also is a standout baseball player for the Bulldogs.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or Read the high school blog at Follow him on Twitter at and on Facebook at

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