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Berea-Midpark makes Power Poll debut, St. Ignatius Remains on top

Sep 02, 2015 -- 10:22am

By ESPN Cleveland Staff |


CLEVELAND – With a convincing week one win over previously ranked Bedford, the Berea-Midpark Titans have joined the ESPN Cleveland Power Poll top ten for the first time.  The Titans are ninth in the week 2 poll and garnered one first-place vote.  Bedford was fourth in the pre-season ranking, but was the lone team to drop out this week.

St. Ignatius remained number one with six first place votes and faces a stiff challenge this Friday at third-ranked Mentor.  The Wildcats are followed in the Power Poll by St. Edward, which received one first place vote. 

Mayfield made the largest leap in this week’s poll by moving from eighth to fifth after defeating defending Division II state runner up Nordonia in their season opener. 

Nordonia hosts Bedford in the ESPN Cleveland High School Hysteria featured game of the week on Friday night.  Both teams went undefeated during the regular season last year, but each is looking to avoid an 0-2 start.  Coverage begins at 6:45 on ESPN 850 WKNR and and will include live reports on additional games, including St. Ignatius at Mentor, both during the broadcast and on Twitter @HSHysteria. 

Rank       School (First Place Votes)

1.     St Ignatius (6)

2.     St Edward (1)

3.     Mentor

4.     Midview                                           

5.     Mayfield

6.     Glenville 

7.     Avon

8.     Benedictine  

9.     Berea-Midpark (1)

10.  Aurora

Others Receiving Votes: Kirtland 8, Hudson 6, Bedford 3, Hoban 2, Stow-Monroe Falls 1

Dropping Out: Bedford 4





St. Ignatius Tops Pre Season Power Poll; St Ed's is Second

Aug 26, 2015 -- 7:39am

By ESPN Cleveland Staff |


Photo/Fox 8

CLEVELAND – Following a relatively down year in which they finished 6-4 in the regular season and lost in the second round of the playoffs, St. Ignatius has returned to the top of the ESPN Cleveland Power Poll. The Wildcats garnered six of the eight possible first place votes in the pre season poll and will open their campaign Saturday against Normandy.

St. Edward took the other two first place votes and is second in the poll coming off their second state championship in five years along with the departure of ten seniors who are playing at Division I colleges.

Seven of the other eight teams in the top ten are public schools, beginning with third-ranked Mentor. The entire poll can be found below.

ESPN Cleveland’s High School Hysteria coverage kicks off the season Friday night at 6:45 on ESPN 850 WKNR and Kirtland will be a part of the featured game of the week for the first time. The Hornets are the defending Division VI runners-up and will host Chagrin Falls. Hysteria reporters will provide live updates on four of the top ten teams both during the broadcast and on Twitter @HSHysteria. 

Rank       School (First Place Votes) Previous

1.     St Ignatius (6) - 5

2.     St Edward (2) - 2

3.     Mentor - 3

4.     Bedford - 7                                            

5.     Midview - 6

6.     Glenville - NR

7.     Avon - 9

8.     Mayfield - 8

9.     Benedictine - 10

10.  Aurora - 10 

Others Receiving Votes: Nordonia, Kirtland , Hudson, Berea-Midpark, St Vincent-St Mary, Solon, Strongsville

Dropping Out: Hudson, Nordonia





Why not try?

Aug 18, 2015 -- 8:09pm

By Tony Cartagena |



I feel like Happy Gilmore, except there aren’t 364 more days until hockey tryouts.

And, I do need to toughen up.

There are exactly 40 days until the Canton Charge – the NBA Development League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers – host their annual open tryout session, granting the opportunity to earn an invite to their training camp in November.

Like Gilmore, the odds are extraordinarily against a six-foot combo guard who is seven months removed from hip surgery. But everyone has a dream, right?

Basketball, for me, has always been an outlet. Cliché I know. Yet words can’t really describe the intoxicating feeling provided by the hardwood, blacktop and anywhere else there is a 10-foot rim.

The rhythm of dribbling a ball up and down, between the legs and behind your back is an iambic pentameter that Shakespearian scholars strive to accomplish.


Bad day? Basketball. Bad grades? Basketball. Workout? Basketball. Stress? Basketball.

Got in trouble and my mom needed a punishment that would actually teach me a lesson? No basketball.

When the Charge tweeted out information regarding the tryout, admittedly, I almost scrolled right over it without thought of a retweet or favorite. Then I thought to myself, what do I have to lose?

At age 24, I have dedicated my post-college life to advancing in my career and becoming a real adult – because you can’t live like a college student forever.

With such a hectic work schedule – reporting, producing and hosting – it’s hard to find time to play basketball for hours on end like I did as a teenager, or even in school. Every time I do play, I feel at home. When I was covering NCAA basketball back in Wisconsin, I couldn’t help but constantly ask myself, what if I would have played college basketball? What if I would have gone to a smaller school and played?

Granted I wouldn’t have gone on to the professional ranks. Successful players my size are once in a generation talents, like my idol Allen Iverson.

The camaraderie. The sweaty practice jerseys. Workout highs. Ice baths and sore muscles. That’s what I miss the most. There really is no better feeling than lacing up your sneakers and going to practice and compete with 11 or 12 other guys who become as close as family members during a season.

I prematurely gave that up after high school.

Sure there are open gyms and recreational leagues but there is just something about a team. Anyone with an undying passion for playing sports would understand.

Basketball really is a brotherhood and that’s why I am giving this my all.

With a clean bill of health I am going full throttle to train for the Charges’ tryout.

Between covering the Cleveland Browns, producing The Golden Boyz on ESPN 850 WKNR, amongst other responsibilities, working towards this goal is now added to the priority list. Sleep can wait.

This blog will serve as a place to update progress, setbacks and post sweaty workout photos throughout the training period. Advice, comments, invites to open gyms and personal training suggestions are much appreciated.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson

Burpees. Suicides. 17’s. Three-man-weave. We meet again, old friends.




Building His Brand

May 28, 2015 -- 4:53pm

By Jerod Cherry |


It amazes me how Matthew Dellavedova was criticized for displaying traits that were once universally praised in American sports. I never thought the day would come but it has, in which dedication, hard work, extreme effort, and hustle are misconstrued as playing dirty.... Wow!

I am not sure which is more outlandish - the notion that Delly should adhere to some unwritten locker room rules and play less aggressive so that he can be accepted as a D list/second class citizen of the NBA fraternity or Delly being labeled by peers and pundits as dirty because he will not allow his opponents to punk and emasculate him on the court.

A few of the things I had to learn as a pro athlete are that if you want success you have to express your masculinity and go, get, and take what you want.  And just as important, your opponent is not your friend! You treat him as an adversary. You out compete him.  You break his will. You make him quit. You display with your play that you want it more than he does.

Delly displays these traits. He is the type of competitor you want on your team. And if you are really "True to Atlanta” and the game, you should want to compete against someone like Delly that will test your manhood and competitiveness.  But in today’s pro sports culture too many guys want a walk in the park on game day.

Fans work hard to sit in arenas or at home to watch games. One would think that NBA analysts and players alike would promote the idea of a player like Dellavedova returning the favor. But when you are dealing with elitist, or people who think they are better than you because of their popularity, they will expect us to be happy that they graced us with their presence. Hence, giving decent to minimal effort for them is more than enough.

As the NBA Finals continue, I hope Delly continues to play his brand of basketball.

Hopefully we will return to a time in which players like Delly are once again revered instead of being rejected for displaying characteristics that we desire to instill in our children and look for in our teammates and partners for life.





RubberDucks release "Extreme" platter

Mar 31, 2015 -- 6:15pm

By Tony Cartagena |


AKRON – The following isn’t meant to be served on a fine china plate in a restaurant where you waited six-months for reservations. The food made available at Canal Park in Akron, OH for the 2015 RubberDucks season is intended for hot summer days and breezy nights under the ballpark lights. Meals and snacks dealt on paper trays and inside full-sized baseball helmets. All conjured up by baseball fans, for baseball fans. Hearty food that ‘hits the spot’ and can only be washed down with an ice- cold craft beer.

Days away from first-pitch, the Akron RubberDucks unveiled their “Extreme Food” menu for 2015 – showcasing new items to local media – offering a first time taste test.

“Not only are the new items extreme,” Director of Food and Beverage Brian Manning said of the new entrees. “They are unique and have a wide array of flavors that our fans are sure to enjoy.”

After sampling each new menu option – and possibly devouring seconds – every portion was graded comprehensively, to tip-off fans on which concession stand they should sprint towards when the gates open.

Grading Scale

Grand Slam – Short of actually hitting a grand slam, purchasing this food will be the best thing that happened to you at the ballpark that day.

Home Run – When you bring this item back to the seats, friends and family will celebrate.

Triple – It’s good, it really is good, but coach needs a little more effort.

Double – Wishes it was just a little bit taller, wishes it was a baller.

Single – Should have eaten an extra hot dog during the tailgate party.

Disclaimer: You don’t have to be a “food expert” to recognize and appreciate good taste.

Extreme Menu

The Don Corleone Sub

When you’re hungry, size matters. And, with a namesake like Corleone, you know the offering has to be something hard to refuse. An 8-inch long sub sandwich stacked high with ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone cheese – this sub is definitely a very tasty option. Manning noted the balsamic onions and pepper relish are key in pulling this smorgasbord of a sandwich together. Don’t forget that it is also 6-inches wide.

“Expert” analysis: The Don Corleone will fill you up, that’s for sure, and the taste is spectacular. However, with the massive size and $20 price tag, we have to question whether it is a realistic option.

Grade: Triple.

Grand Slam Walk-Off Wedge

Not your average ballpark food option – the RubberDucks are offering a healthy, full head of lettuce salad – with a baseball twist. Served in a full sized baseball helmet – you still experience the baseball tradition of sunflower seeds and pretzels, because they’re in the salad!

“Expert” analysis: This is fantastic idea. Salads are healthy, nutritious and an extremely underrated snack for a hot day. But, how long do they last in the heat? How many different options of dressing will be available?

Grade: Double

Duck Wings

It’ s only fitting that the RubberDucks serve “Duck Wings” to their fans – and let me tell you, they don’t taste anything like a tire. Spicy, tender and juicy wings with a horseradish dipping sauce, fresh duck wings are the way to go.

“Expert” analysis: It’s not on everyone’s pallet to enjoy a little kick with their wings, but if they do, these are a no brainer. The hardest part about this option is convincing the kids that they’re not eating the mascot.

Grade: Home Run

Not Your Routine Poutine

Fries. Gravy. BBQ pulled pork. Bacon Bits. Green Onions. And, to top it all off, Wisconsin Cheese Curds! This poutine should become a part of every baseball lover’s routine immediately.

“Expert” analysis: Before you go to your seat. Before the National Anthem is sung and the first pitch is tossed – get an order of poutine, or three. In no means am I a poutine connoisseur, but, like a 100 mph fastball, this blew me away.

Grade: GRAND SLAM (A walk-off grand slam with your team trailing by three in Game 7)

The RubberDucks are also opening a craft beer stand, offering 12 oz. portions of craft brews from all over the Midwest and surrounding regions. And, for those who miss White Castle Burgers in Northeast Ohio – you’re in luck. The Ducks and White Castle struck a deal that will offer their trademark slider burgers at each game.

Johnny is here to stay

If you made it to a game last year, you probably tried the “Johnny Footlong.” A footlong all beef hot dog named after Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. Topped complete with Texas Jack Chili (paying homage to Manziel’s home state), shredded Pepper Jack Cheese and Sriracha Sauce, to go along with his spicy personality of course.

If you didn’t get the chance to dig-in, you’re in luck. On the field performance and off the field issues aside, the RubberDucks and sticking with the Johnny named dog.

“I think at this time it doesn’t make sense to change (the name),” Manning said. “Obviously he is still very young and his NFL history is just one year in. I think there are still a lot of positives that can come from his time with the Browns.”

The RubberDucks first home game is Thursday April 9th with first pitch at 6:35 pm.



Wildcats advance, 38-0

Mar 29, 2015 -- 1:37am

By Tony Cartagena |



CLEVELAND – John Calipari didn’t climb up the ladder to ceremoniously cut down the net after the Kentucky Wildcats held on to advance to back-to-back Final Four appearances, beating Notre Dame 68-66.

While walking to the media room for an interview, Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player Karl-Anthony Towns cradled the trophy, but was firmly told by a member of the Wildcats basketball staff, ‘that’s not why you came here.’

Kentucky is 38-0 on the year, and two games away from cementing their legacy as one of the best college basketball teams ever assembled.

Conference championships, Sweet 16’s, Elite 8’s and Final Four’s, to them, are just stepping stones on the path of a National Title or bust season.

Led by Towns' 25 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, the Wildcats took one step closer to immortality, and punched their ticket for a Final Four rematch with the Wisconsin Badgers in Indianapolis.


The shot clock was off with the game tied at 66 before Andrew Harrison drove to the basket, drew a blocking foul, and knocked in two-free throws with six seconds remaining to give his Wildcats the lead.

Notre Dame – with no timeouts, advanced the ball up the floor and launched a three-point prayer as time expired, no good.

Celebration ensued as Calipari and the Wildcats were presented with the Midwest Regional Championship Trophy.

The team went into an uproar while holding the hardware. 


Their championship shirts read, “cut the net,” and the Cats did just that. 

Willie Cauley-Stein did a quick on-the-court interview.

After the dust settled and players took pictures with family members, fans and incorporated in an array of selfies – it was back to business as usual – fulfilling postgame interview obligations and media appearance, but not without having a little fun along the way. 


Faces in the crowd

You can also see Ashley Judd in the background of this photo, crying tears of joy. 

And last but certainly not least, it’s just not an event in Cleveland without Browns head coach Mike Pettine and LeBron James in attendance. 



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