By BRIAN LESTER
I had the fortune of covering Kalida's Division IV District Final encounter against Wayne Trace Friday night at the Elida Fieldhouse. The matchup featured a pair of coaches who have combined for nearly 1300 wins.
Kalida's Dick Kortokrax has won nearly 800 games and is the winningest coach in the state. Wayne Trace's Al Welch has over 500 wins and will retire at the end of the season.
Those are phenomenal numbers and I was happy to see that Welch's season will continue. He is one of the classiest head coaches I have ever met. He gets his team to play hard and he does things the right way.
But when I heard him tell the story about how he had to deal with the death of his daughter this summer, it made me feel even more thrilled that Welch is having a great season.
I certainly won't be surprised if his team goes on to win the state championship, He has six seniors on his team and his players have a great deal of confidence right now.
At the same time, despite having to wait 30 minutes for Kortokrax to emerge from the locker room, it was worth waiting to hear the Kalida coach talk.
He had nothing but good things to say about Welch and wishes him all the best. He also made no excuses about his team. He admitted the Raiders were the better team.
But next year Kalida will have the seniors to make a serious run at state. Kortokrax said next year could likely be his last season as the head coach and it would be pretty neat if he could go out the way Welch has a chance to go out this year.