When Northeastern and Seton Catholic played in regional basketball games on Saturday, March 9, it closed the winter sports season for high school teams in Wayne County.

It was a remarkable season. The achievements by Wayne County athletes were many and worthy of review. There were at least eight stories that deserve special mention.

Heather Crull, wrestling — Northeastern junior Heather Crull compiled another remarkable season in wrestling. Coming off a summer that saw her win a bronze medal wrestling for team USA at the U17 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, Crull won the 106-pound weight class in the girls state wrestling tournament. She then became the only Wayne County wrestler to advance to the state finals in the IHSAA boys state wrestling meet. It was her second trip to the boys state finals in three years.

Mason Harvey, basketball — Versatile Seton Catholic senior Mason Harvey rewrote the school record books at Seton Catholic. He played on Cardinal teams that advanced to the regional as a freshman and again as a senior. Harvey ended his career as the all-time leader in rebounds (885) and blocks (217) and finished with 1,561 points, second only to Desmond Bane on the Cardinal career scoring list.   

Aaron Turner, swimming — Advancing to the state finals in the single class sport of swimming is a rare accomplishment. In many sports the top three or four finishers advance. Only sectional event winners in the single-class sport of swimming advance to the state finals. This year Owen Fowler from Richmond advanced to the state finals in both the 50 Yard Freestyle and the 100 Yard Freestyle. Richmond also advanced the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay team of Fowler, Payne Forrest, Greyson Farmer and Masson Heiny, and the 400 Yard relay team of Fowler, Mason Burns, Farmer and Heiny. Hagerstown advanced Carter Ramsey in the 200 Yard Freestyle and Aaron Turner in both the 200 Yard Individual Medley and the 100 Yard Breaststroke. 

It was a very successful year for Wayne County swim teams with seven swimmers qualifying to advance to the state meet in seven events. The most unusual was arguably Aaron Turner. Most swimmers who advance to the state meet level specialize in a particular stroke. Turner, who holds Hagerstown school records in seven different individual events, advanced to the state finals in four different individual events over the last two seasons. He advanced in both the 200 Yard Freestyle and the 500 Yard Freestyle as a junior and both the 200 Yard individual Medley and the 100 Yard Breaststroke as a senior.   

Northeastern’s Landon Scarrette drives against Parke Heritage during a March 9 Class 2A regional game in Martinsville. The game closed the local winter season. Photo by Sherry Stuart

Northeastern girls basketball — Head coach Cody Dudley has won 35 games in his two years guiding the Lady Knights. This season he led his team to their first sectional title since 2010-11. 

Northeastern boys basketball remained a model of consistency — There are currently 403 IHSAA member schools participating in boys basketball. Only six teams across all four classes have won 15 or more games for 11 or more consecutive seasons. Greensburg (16), Danville (12), Linton-Stockton (12), Bloomington South (11), Fort Wayne Blackhawk (11) and Northeastern (11).

Josh Jurgens and Brent Ross each claim seventh sectional championship — Most coaches will tell you that it is hard to win a sectional championship. It involves developing players and can involve a favorable draw and a lot of luck. For four of the six Wayne County schools it has been between 10 and 64 years since they last won a boys basketball sectional. For the other two it has become a program expectation. Josh Jurgens guided the Seton Catholic Cardinals to their seventh sectional championship in his 13-year tenure this season. Brent Ross guided the Northeastern Knights to their seventh sectional championship in his 15-year tenure this season.  

Richmond basketball reaches 20-win plateau — Richmond head coach Billy Wright continued to return Red Devil basketball to prominence. The Red Devil were ranked in the Top 10 in state polls most of the season before ending as the 12th ranked team in the final poll. The ‘Devils won 20 games for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

Chris Oliger resigns – Hagerstown girls’ basketball coach Chris Oliger stepped down at the end of the season after 22 years at the helm. Oliger compiled a career record of 270-214.

Indoor track has started. Baseball, boys golf, girls tennis, outdoor track and softball all start within the next week. It is expected to be another memorable season for Wayne County athletes and teams.  

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A version of this article appeared in the March 20 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Dan Harney is a sports reporter at the Western Wayne News.