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Monday, June 17, 2024

Glory Days, They’ve Passed Him By

As a lifelong athletics fan who is significantly more knowledgeable about sports than my sons, I have enjoyed following local athletes through the years. This spring, we have been fortunate to have had some extremely noteworthy performances. Let’s start with University of Evansville graduate student Eric Roberts. He plays outfield, third base, and even pitches for the Aces. He led off against the University of Illinois Chicago with one of the most outstanding baseball performances in UE history. Hitting for the cycle is rare, but combining that with a grand slam and a win really is quite an accomplishment. That young man has to be getting some attention from the MLB.

I recently attended the IHSAA boys’ track sectionals, which I always try to do each May, at Central High School. Despite the person next to me repeatedly reminding me of his former glory days (“Glory days, they’ll pass you by”), the action was on the track. Reitz’s Xavier Thomas won the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter titles and looked really good doing it. No one else ever really challenged him. And what a great way to spend a beautiful spring evening, company excluded.

Two of the most impressive athletic feats this year were turned in by the ladies. Evansville Christian School freshman Elise Sloan pole vaulted 11 feet 5 inches. This was ECS’ first track sectional, and she is the school’s first track and field sectional champion. This also qualified her for the Adidas Track Nationals in June in Greensboro, North Carolina, which is a really big deal. A freshman pole vaulter going 11’5 is a rarity. It will be fun following Elise’s career.

I don’t even know what to say (which never stops me) about North Posey High School softball phenom Erin Hoehn. Wow. The University of Michigan signee has had so many dominant games pitching and at the plate, it is difficult to single one out. How about a recent five-inning perfect game, when she struck out all 15 batters and went 2-4 with a home run and four RBIs?

An out-of-shape Newburgh sports fan tells me Castle High School’s Cameron Tilly, an Auburn University pitching commit, is a “can’t miss.” As old as this “observer of baseball” is, he is bound to have seen a lot of games over the years. Everyone I have discussed this with, though, says the same about Cameron. I’ll enjoy watching his career, as well.

A “can’t help myself” remark would be this: After a door to Lloyd Pool was found to be wide open two years after closure, the pool seems to be in the same shape as the last swim meet I attended there.

Congratulations go to Jon Mark Hall, who was pro- moted to associate vice president and director of athletics at University of Southern Indiana. He’s a great guy with a great family, and it’s a well-deserved promotion. It will continue to be fun to watch the progression of USI Division I sports under Jon Mark’s leadership.

Speaking of leadership, I congratulate the Rev. Gerry Arnold for 25 years at the helm of the Evansville NAACP. Cool, calm, and collected, Gerry cuts an impressive figure in Evansville. Read about him in “Bringing People Together” on page 11 of this issue. When starting his career in Evansville, Gerry said he just wanted to contribute to our community. This has turned out to be a huge understatement.

I had the pleasure of attending the Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana Hall of Fame breakfast in May. This year’s two living laureates — retired German American Bank CEO and board chairman Mark Schro- eder and retired President of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership Greg Wathen — both have made innumerable contributions to this community, and it is terrific to see this tremendous honor bestowed on them. Well done, gentlemen.

As always, I look forward to hearing from most of you.

Todd A. Tucker, President

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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