Cross country team joins Avon Lake Sports Hall of Fame

Avon Lake

By Michael Fitzpatrick

The 1994 Avon Lake boys cross country team had a pair of all-conference runners and finished in the top 10 at the state meet to earn a spot in Avon Lake High Athletic Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.

The team featured seven seniors.

Geoff Simpson and Kevin Houdeshell both earned first-team All-Southwestern Conference honors after finishing second and sixth overall at the conference meet.

Rob Guenther and Chris Anderson ended up making second team all-conference.

The team went on to win just the second district title in school history at the time and finished as regional runner-up.

On the big stage at Columbus, the Shoremen would finish sixth overall. Simpson would finish seventh overall at that 1994 state meet.

“They were crazy and fun and they were close and they were focused,” said Dan Houdeshell, the father of the late Kevin Houdeshell.

Houdeshell recalled the 1994 team entered the season with high hopes after a strong finish the year before and did not disappoint.

“They were always special. I wish I had done it sooner,” Dan Houdeshell said of nominating the team for induction into the Hall of Fame.

The team would finish the year 7-1 in dual meets and was ranked anywhere from No. 2 in the state to No. 7.

Members of the team included Dan Breglia, Chris Gerbick, Matt Byrne, T. Fallon, Mike Selig, Matt Maurer, Koichi Murakami, Andy Svec, Ken Bagstad and Rob Guenther.

In addition to winning the district title, the team finished second at the Walsh Jesuit, Vermilion and St. Joseph’s invites/races, third at Malone and fourth at the Early Bird.

The Houdeshells have been in the news in recent years for far less pleasant reasons related to the death of former 1994 team member, Kevin.

It turned out Kevin developed diabetes later in life. Tragedy struck when at age 36 he was refused a refill of prescription for insulin after it expired and then died as a result of not taking the insulin.

His family has since led a charge to have the law changed in the state of Ohio so a pharmacist at his own discretion can give up to a 30-day supply of even-expired prescriptions of life-sustaining drugs.

 

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