Taiga Tamura plays No. 1 singles for the No. 18-ranked Kokomo Wildkats. (SJ Photo/Dean Hockney)

Taiga Tamura plays No. 1 singles for the No. 18-ranked Kokomo Wildkats. (SJ Photo/Dean Hockney)


KOKOMO, Ind. – The Kokomo Wildkats boys tennis team added to its trophy case on Sept. 24. One week after winning the North Central Conference for the second consecutive year, the Kats hosted and won the Wildkat Open. Kokomo defeated North Montgomery 4-1 in the opening round and then downed Marion 3-2 in the championship.

In the opening match win, all three of the Kats singles players claimed points – Taiga Tamura, Trevor Emerick and Cory Hanson. Grant Patterson and Tyler Hawk teamed for the fourth point in doubles.

“We were proud to see Cory get a win in his first varsity match ever,” said Kokomo head coach Shawn Flanary.

In the championship match, Kokomo and Marion faced off for the second time in seven days. The Kats defeated the Giants 4-1 in the semifinals of the NCC tournament. This time, the result was the same but the battle was not.

“Not one individual match would be a rematch from last week,” said Flanary. “Marion loaded its doubles in an effort to get No. 1 singles and sweep the doubles in the rematch.”

While Flanary said the rematch was closer, the Kats still came out on top. No. 2 singles Max Esponda and No. 3 singles Emerick grabbed two quick points, losing just three total games.

“We got strong starts at the other three spots, winning the first set in all three of them,” said Flanary. “Even though we had great starts, Marion would battle and force third sets at 1 singles and both doubles. I was really proud of how our boys battle at all three of those spots.”

The duo of Nate Hemmerich and Connor Sanburn at No. 2 doubles sealed the team win with a three-set victory.

“I am very proud of how our boys competed in these matches,” said Flanary. “Taiga, Grant and Tyler battled, but all came up a little shy in the third sets.”

Kokomo also won the junior varsity tournament.

No. 18 Kokomo (17-4) followed the Wildkat Open title with a 3-2 victory on the road at No. 17 West Lafayette on Sept. 26. The Kats will be favored to win its third consecutive and 26th overall sectional title when the IHSAA Kokomo Boys Tennis Sectional begins next month.




It is not often that local football fans have the opportunity to hear Lou Holtz speak. It is even rarer that they can hear him in person for just $20. But thanks to local financial advisor Brian Hayes, Holtz will speak at the 2016 Indianapolis Financial Forum at the Old National Centre on Sept. 22.

“We wanted to keep the price down and make it worthwhile for everyone to come to Indianapolis,” said Brian Hayes, president of the Hayes Advisory Group in Kokomo, which is hosting the forum. “The $20 general admission ticket is affordable and is also tax deductible. We will also have a VIP section for $150, but the general admission tickets are a great way to hear Coach Holtz. And the Old National Centre is a great venue.”

More importantly, the event is a fundraiser for the Indiana Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of American.

“I have a lot of friends and family members who are afflicted with Crohn’s or colitis,” said Hayes. “It is hard to deal with and there is no cure. There needs to be a lot of money raised to find a cure and find relief from these diseases. It is an affliction that doesn’t get much press, but it affects a lot of people.”

Hayes explained that the event is a mix of financial advising with the folksy story-telling of Holtz.

“I had the chance to meet Coach Holtz a few months back and he shared his life and coaching philosophies with me,” said Hayes. “Those philosophies were basically the same thing I use. I told him what I wanted to do, and when I told him it was for charity, he agreed to come and do this.”

Hayes said Holtz will speak for approximately one hour and cover topics from not only his own financial success, but also his championship football career. The hall of fame coach’s presentation is titled, “The X’s and O’s for Financial Success.” Holtz, who most remember as a Notre Dame coach, is the only coach in NCAA history to lead six different programs to bowl games and the only coach to guide four different programs to the final top 20 rankings. Holtz’s humor and humility endear him to audiences as he helps them learn to assess their strengths, work as a team and embrace the values that translate into a successful financial game plan.

“He is a wonderful speaker,” said Hayes. “He will talk about overcoming challenges, not only in his life, but his player’s lives. Lou has a wonderful way of sharing those financial stories and tying it to life and weaving in football stories. It is the best of both worlds.”

The Indianapolis Financial Forum will be rooted in current market conditions and underlying economic fundamentals by some of the top economists.

“I have wanted to do something like this for a long time,” said Hayes. “It is much needed because there is so much uncertainty in the financial arena right now. People are concerned with it being a presidential election year. Markets are at an all-time high and people fear a correction will happen soon – just a lot of confusion out there. So, this is needed. This is going to be a win-win-win in our opinion – you can hear some of the brightest minds in the financial world, you can hear Coach Holtz speak and it is for charity.

“With so many different financial variables and world economic news, people are challenged with reliable sources of information. This event is intended to address the needs of retirees and pre-retirees with an empowering event,” said Hayes. “Again, Coach Holtz is a legend in the State of Indiana, and this is a rare opportunity to hear him speak locally in person. “

The doors for the Indianapolis Financial Forum with Lou Holtz open at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 22. The event is expected to be a sellout. For more information or to register, visit www.indy16.com.


Ryan Berryman coached the Indiana All-Stars in 2011. (SJ Photo/William Gibson)

Ryan Berryman coached the Indiana All-Stars in 2011. (SJ Photo/William Gibson)


RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. – As it turns out, Western High School Athletic Director Josh Larsh did not have to look far to find his next head baseball coach – the candidate was already in the corporation. On Sept. 16, Larsh announced the hiring of middle school teacher and former Panthers Athletic Director Ryan Berryman, who previously coach at Northwestern.

Berryman becomes just the third Western head baseball coach since 1979.

“This morning the Western Board of Trustees approved Ryan Berryman to be the next varsity baseball Coach of the Western Panthers,” Larsh said in a statement. “Ryan currently teaches eighty grade social studies at Western Middle School and is the seventh grade boys basketball coach.”

Berryman, a 1994 graduate of Western, served as its athletic director from 2011-2013. Prior to that, he was the head baseball coach at Northwestern, where he compiled a 226-83 record in 11 seasons. In 2005, Berryman coached a Brandon Beachy led squad to a 19-13 record and the IHSAA Class 2A state championship game, which they lost to North Posey 11-6.

The 1998 Northern Kentucky University graduate led the Purple Tigers to Mid-Indiana Conference titles in 2001 and 2008 and sectional crowns in 2001 (2A), 2002 (3A), 2005 (2A) and 2007 (2A). His 2001 sectional crown ended an eight-year draught for the program – he won four of the Tigers nine overall sectional titles (others are in 1968, 1984, 1989, 1992 and 2014). He also led Northwestern to its only two regional championships in 2005 and 2007.

Berryman was also the head coach of the 2011 Indiana North All-Star Team that played in Fort Wayne at Parkview Field.

“In selecting the next baseball coach, Coach Berryman was the obvious choice as he is the most qualified for the position, understanding the structure of the baseball program that has been successfully built by Coach Calloway and Coach Brown,” Larsh said. “We look forward to Coach Berryman taking the helm and continuing the Panther tradition of excellence.”

Berryman takes over a program that has been led by just two coaches in the last four decades – Indiana Baseball and Howard County Sports Hall of Famer Ty Calloway and Quinton Brown. Calloway led the squad for 36 seasons and the 2012 Class 3A state title while retiring in 2013 with more than 600 victories. Brown, who abruptly resigned last month with no reason given, was at the helm for three seasons, which ended with a loss in the 3A state championship game last June.

“We look forward to Coach Berryman continuing the baseball tradition at Western High School and building on the success of Coach Calloway and Coach Brown,” said Larsh. “As a former Panther, Coach Berryman has contributed to Western’s Baseball success as a player and athletic director.”

Berryman was in class and unavailable for comment. See next week’s edition of the Sports Journal for more on this story.