Plenty to be proud of

Mike Ullery/Call File Photo Tina Byrd once struck out 26 batters in a game for Piqua.

AP File Photo Kristin King skates in the 2006 Olympics, but was also an outstanding softball player for Piqua and Dartmouth College.

James E. Mahan/Call File Photo Brandon Saine was a two-sport state champion at Piqua.

Gary Carnes/Call File Photo Kylie Hayes (8) is still one of the top scoring girls soccer players in Ohio high school history.

By Rob Kiser

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There are some marks left by Piqua High School athletes that everyone is familiar with.

But, even with those, there are a few things, you might not know. A glance at the unofficial state records on the OHSAA website would provide a few surprises to most of those familiar with all Piqua athletic accomplishments.

For example, everyone knows about Brandon Saine and Kristin King — and the state championship football team in 2006 — with signs greeting you as you enter town — as it should be.

Saine is Piqua’s only Mr. Football, as well as playing on the state championship team of 2006 and going on to success at Ohio State and with the Green Bay Packers.

Most should also remember what a great track athlete Saine was as well.

Winning the 100 and 400-meter dash state titles in consecutive years, far surpassing what an even previous track athlete at Piqua had done.

But, how many know that Saine still has the fastest recorded 100-meter dash time in Ohio high school history, being clocked at 10.38 in a meet at Welcome Stadium?

He isn’t the only record-setting state champion in track from Piqua.

How many remember Piqua’s first state champion Steve Butsch, setting a then state record in 1985, winning the pole vault by clearing 15-7?

With her being on the Team USA hockey silver medalist at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, everyone is very familiar with Kristin King’s skills on the ice.

But, how many remember just how exceptional she was on the softball diamond at Piqua and Dartmouth College as well?

If there was a better second baseman at that level, I never saw them.

King was nightmare for opposing coaches throughout her four-year career at Piqua, both at the plate and in the field.

If there was a statistic at the high school level for web-gems, King would have been at the top of the list.

Not only that, she was a .400 hitter, whose speed usually turned walks into triples.

Not only did King further her hockey career at Dartmouth, both in 1999 and 2002 she was named MVP of the softball team.

She batted .376 as a freshman for the Big Green, with 44 hits and she had a slugging percentage of .543 her senior year.

Everyone also remembers the amazing 2006 Piqua football state championship team.

But, how many knew they are currently ranked 10th in Ohio high school football history with 657 wins?

But, those aren’t the only surprises as you glance threw the record book.

Maybe the most astounding one is a girls basketball record set 34 years ago that still stands today.

Thirty-nine rebounds is a good a month for a lot of basketball players — Piqua’s Julie Hemmert did it in one game.

Hemmert pulled off that amazing feet in 1978 against Fairborn Baker on Jan. 4 — later that season, Susan Pokelsek of Ashtabula Harbor matched that feat — and their remarkable performance remains at the top of the list.

And if that is not impressive enough, you should know that Hemmert grabbed 25 or more rebounds three other times in her career.

If I told you a Piqua golfer was co-medalist at the state tournament, how many would have guessed it was R. Wilcox back in 1929?

I don’t know much about the round.

But, I know he shot an 80 with equipment not nearly as good as we use today — and he eventually lost a four-man playoff with John Fisher of Cincinnati Western Hills, Ed Hamant of team champion Chaminade and C. Short of Akron West.

Piqua is high on the list in both boys and girls soccer — and those names probably won’t surprise you.

As everyone should know, Grady Stewart finished his career earlier this year with 658 saves, which is 13th on the all-time list.

And since it was just 11 years ago, I would hope everyone remembers just how amazing Kylie Hayes was on the soccer pitch.

Before going on to be a four-year starter at the University of Memphis and helping them to their first ever NCAA tournament berth (they made it three years in a row), Hayes was almost unstoppable on the Wertz Stadium pitch.

She finished her career with 141 goals, still fourth on the all-time Ohio list.

That is an average of almost two goals a game for her four years.

After starting with 26 goals as a freshman, Hayes had 37 goals as a sophomore, 31 as a junior and 47 as a senior, which is tied for 12th in the single season Ohio record books.

In boys basketball, Piqua can claim to ties to one player in the record book — former varsity basketball coach Marcus Bixler, who made his mark playing for Franklin Monroe and is currently the Arcanum coach.

Bixler could “dish” it out with the best of them.

He is tied for second in single game assists, recording 21 and is ranked sixth in assists for a single season with 264.

Two Piqua softball pitchers made the list.

Brandi Vogler’s name should be a familiar one.

She was part of back-to-back trips to the final four in both volleyball and softball in 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. Piqua was state runnerup in both sports in 1993-94.

Vogler reeled off 26 consecutive wins in that season, which is tied for 13th on the all-time list.

She also went 53 and one-third innings without walking a batter, which is 17th on the all-time list.

If I told you a Piqua pitcher had struck out 28 batters in one game, how many would have come up with the name Tina Byrd?

But, the starting pitcher in Rick Claprood’s first four years as a coach, Byrd did exactly that.

In her senior year — April 23, 2008 — Piqua and Vandalia Butler were locked in a marathon battle at Stone Quarry Park that went from 5 p.m. to dusk.

In the extra inning battle, a decision was made they would play one more inning before suspending the game.

Piqua scored two runs to take a 3-1 lead and Byrd finished off her 26 strikeout masterpiece for the win.

That feat ranks as tied for 24th in strikeouts in extra inning games.

So, if you want to learn something you didn’t know — or just view some amazing records, check out the state record books for each sport at

Rob Kiser is Sports Editor at Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.

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