Six new members will be inducted into the Lorain County Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame during its 10th enshrinement today at 6 p.m. at the Lorain County Athletic Administrators Association track meet at Avon’s Joe Firment Stadium.
George Daniel, Lorain (1905)
Born in Scotland in 1887, the 1905 Lorain High graduate became Lorain’s second athletics coach in 1910.
Although Lorain students participated in sports prior to 1911, it was that year Daniel was instrumental in forming the Little Big Four League, which consisted of Lorain, Elyria, Sandusky and Norwalk.
In 1912, Daniel led the football team to its first undefeated season, then did it again in 1914 and 1916. Daniel was a gifted track athlete, in 1910 setting the Ohio college state 440-yard record (48.8) that stood for 15 years.
Daniel lettered in four sports at Ohio Wesleyan University. He captained the 1910 Bishops baseball team, while also starring in track. He went on to serve as Lorain’s football and track coach and athletic director.
“He never talked about any of his accomplishments, except one that I can remember,” said Dan Opfer, Daniel’s great nephew. “We were walking together with my parents through the Oval at Ohio State on the way to a football game. He pointed to one of the buildings and told me he held the record for the fastest 440 (yards) in that building on the second floor. I don’t think there was a track in that building at the time but apparently there used to be. Even though George went to Ohio Wesleyan they had meets against Ohio State. That was the only time he pointed something like that out to me. Back then people in those days didn’t brag about anything. They were a little different mentality than today.”
At various times from 1929-62, Daniel served as a secretary for four high school leagues and was the longtime Ohio Athletic Conference college commissioner.
On June 5, 1958, Lorain’s stadium was named in his honor.
Daniel, who died Oct. 9, 1969, was an inaugural member of the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame (1970).
Danny Davis Jr., Clearview (2001)
Davis is the only Lorain County track and field athlete to win the 110-meter hurdle/100-meter dash double at the state championships.
He won the 2001 Division III state title in the 110 hurdles in 14.89 and came back less than 10 minutes later to win the 100 meters over teammate Jarrod Murphy, the defending state champ (11.14-11.17). He also added a seventh place in the 400 (51.66).
“I wasn’t really winded after the hurdles because I was running the 400 so much,” Davis said. “Coach was making me run the 800 in practice a lot. It was more like a warm-up. It was an exciting time. Every race Jarrod and I had against each other that year was neck and neck, even the year before when I was at Oberlin and we raced at the Vermilion Invitational. Even in practice.”
Davis’ state sweep might have surprised some, but he knew he was ready.
“I won all three of my events at regionals, so I knew I kind of had to win,” Davis said. “It was more pressure than anything.”
Between Davis and Murphy, Clearview outdistanced Amanda Clearcreek 40-28 for the title.
Davis didn’t come to Clearview until November of his senior year after getting his release from Oberlin.
“It was really hard coming to Clearview because I really liked Oberlin,” he said. “I didn’t know anybody and it was in the middle of my senior year.”
Thanks to Clippers coach Len Nickoloff and assistant Mark Walden, Davis found a home.
“When I got to Clearview from Day No. 1 coach Walden told me it was going to be hard to run back-to-back events,” he said. “All my coaches previously kept telling me I couldn’t do the hurdles and 100 because they were back-to-back. I was winning. I was never losing. Coach Walden and coach Nickoloff accepted me with open arms. They worked with me and I ended up graduating and going to college.”
Raymond Gordon, Oberlin (1933)
Gordon was a multiple state champion for Oberlin High, winning the 220-yard dash at the 1931 Class B state meet and winning a 1930 state title as a member of the 880-yard relay.
Gordon was also second at the 1931 state meet in the 100 and the 880 relay. He was fourth at the 1930 state meet in the 220.
Through Gordon’s efforts the Indians finished second at both the 1930 and ’31 state meets.
“What I remember best about my great uncle was that he had a huge, robust laugh,” said Julia Boyd, a great-niece. “He was always a very happy man.”
Gordon was born in Pittsfield Twp. on Jan. 31, 1912. He was a lifelong area resident. Gordon served with the U.S. Navy during World War II and was equipment manager for the Oberlin College athletic department, retiring in 1973.
He dies at age 69 on Jan. 30, 1981.
Christina Madison, Elyria (2006)
A two-time Division I state champ for the Pioneers, Madison earned her first as a freshman member of the 4x100 relay that set a state record (47.13). She also won the indoor state long jump title as a junior.
Madison got the second outdoor state title her senior year, winning the 2006 Division I long jump on her sixth and final attempt, going from seventh to first with a mark of 18-10.
“I couldn’t get it right,” Madison said. “I was so frustrated. There was a lot of emotion going from being the top athlete to struggling to even place the way I wanted to and the way I was use to.
“My dad was trying to help me get my steps down. My sister, Tianna, told me that I might as well foul before my last jump because you’re going to lose. It made me so mad that I ran to foul it and I actually won.
“I love that moment because the struggle and the journey to get to that point was so huge. Everything that used to come so easy I had to fight for from that moment. It was especially gratifying to have my sister and my dad right there and for Tianna to hand me my medal. It was a big deal.”
It was so huge because Madison was coming back after breaking her right leg her junior year at the Gilmour Invitational.
“It was my last jump of the day,” Madison said. “Everybody told me not to take it. I wanted to because I wanted the record. I ended up jumping 19-7 and breaking the record, but I also broke my leg at the same time. I had to have emergency surgery the same day.
“I was off my crutches in four weeks. I started rehab shortly after that. By week No. 8 I was doing small easy drills on the track. By the summer my dad had me back on the track trying to pick back up my strength and my speed. I was back doing regular drills by the third or fourth month of recovery.”
A three-time state qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles, Madison still holds the Lorain County record (14.09) she set in 2004.
Madison was the Purdue woman to win the indoor long jump title at the Big Ten Championships when she had a career-best 6.21 meters (20 feet, 4.5 inches).
Al McKinney, Elyria Catholic (1985)
McKinney was the 1984 Class AA long jump winner at 22-8.25 and second at state in ’85 despite clearing 3 inches better than his junior year.
“Long jumping was something I picked up my freshman year at EC,” McKinney said. “I was a high jumper in eighth grade track at Oberlin Middle School. The highest I got was only 5-10. It wasn’t all that great. I decided to flip the script and try and do both baseball and track my sophomore year, but that didn’t go over too well with the coaches so I dropped baseball.”
When McKinney put his sole focus on track, his career took off.
“My cousin John Walker (class of 1980) was a big reason why I came to EC,” McKinney said. “I would go watch him play during football season. The camaraderie I experienced as a youngster I knew that this was something I want to be a part of. He did football, wrestled and also did track for EC. He was the sole reason why I came to EC.”
McKinney defeated Steubenville’s John Murray 22-8.25 to 22-6.75 for the 1984 title then 22-11.25 to finish second the next year to Columbus Hartley’s Leigh Gray (24-2.5, wind-aided), who was fifth behind McKinney in 1984.
“I wish I could have won my senior year as well, but both experiences were definitely great to be a part of,” McKinney said. “I made a lot of friends throughout the years going to the different invitationals. It was a very good experience being part of the track and field program at EC.”
McKinney was the star tailback in football for EC, helping the Panthers to a state semifinal berth as a sophomore and then leading them to back-to-back 13-0 seasons.
As a senior, McKinney ran for 2,398 yards and scored a nation-high 49 touchdowns, both still county records. He went to the University of Cincinnati and remains one of the all-time rushers for the Bearcats with 2,223 career yards.
He is a 2000 member of the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame.
Donna Schuh, Avon Lake (1984)
Schuh was the 1982 Class AAA (now Division I) state champ in long jump as a sophomore with a meet-record 18-11.25, defeating Centerville freshman Laura Kirkham by a quarter inch.
“At the time, Avon Lake didn’t have freshmen at the high school. You were at the junior high,” Schuh said. “To me this (the 1984 season) was kind of like my freshman year.
“Back then Ohio Track and Field News published weekly rankings and I was always in the mix. Heading down to state I was very focused. I was nervous, (but) I just performed. I had a little bit of club experience with the Lake Erie Comets from the summer before. I just kind of went in and peaked at the right time. Everything fell into place.”
Schuh was also fourth in the 100 meters (12.45) at state as a sophomore, but her accomplishment in the state long jump was truly memorable.
“It was a feeling like ‘I did it,’” Schuh said. “It was a sense of accomplishment. I loved competing for Chuck Hofelich, the high school coach. Everyone loved him. He was very easy-going, mild-mannered and always chuckling. Just fun to be around. He always put you at ease. There’s never any stress in his life. It was a good fit.”
Schuh was third at the 1983 Class AAA meet as a junior in the 100 meters then set district and regional records in the long jump as a senior. She was seventh at state in the long jump despite being injured.
A two-time regional winner in the 100 (1982-83) and a regional long jump champ in 1984, Schuh won 10 Southwestern Conference titles and was three-time league MVP (1982-84).
She ran track for Eastern Kentucky (1985-86) and then at Kent State (1987-88).
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.