Thursday, September 21, 2023

Viking Village update


Villa Angela-St. Joseph is still looking for their best combination on the floor, but the Vikings are getting closer to being a finely tuned machine as the postseason approaches.

VASJ has gotten off to a 9-6 start, but the overall record isn’t nearly as important the progression of the team as a whole and the Vikings keep getting better as the Division IV sectional-district tournament nears.

“It is always a learning process out here, but I like this team and where we are headed,” VASJ coach Mark Royer said. “Records are records. We were 9-10 or 10-10 one year and won the state title. You can be a very polished team, but you can’t look at the record and completely get the full picture. We keep getting better and there are girls that are learning their roles and we are continuing to gel as team and come tournament time I think this is going to be a lot of fun.”

Toni Beuck, Taylor Sawicki, Nicole Cramer and Rachel Smith have been standouts this season. Beuck had 18 kills in a recent 3-1 win over Trinity, which defeated VASJ in the first meeting this fall.

With matches upcoming against Chardon, Independence and Cardinal, Royer is looking for constant improvement as the Medina district tournament approaches in mid-October.

“Personally, I think we could be playing better, but the postseason is different,” Beuck said. “The postseason pushes us and we get a lot more competitive.”

Danielle Paus and Emily Mastalski are playing well in the middle for VASJ, which was state runner-up a year ago.


VASJ cross country coach Caleigh Colo is midway through her first year with the Vikings, and the enthusiasm for next fall and beyond is apparent.

“Lots of PRs, lots of times dropping and now with the home stretch coming up I hope to see some fast times and end the season on a high note,” Colo said.

“I am already looking forward to next year. This is the first time they have had to run as much as I have asked them and next year after being with me for a year it is going to be that much better.”

Billy Vidmar and Jake Tucci on the men’s side continue to grow, cut time and impress. Elizabeth Smith on the women’s side is a standout for the Vikings as the North Coast League meet at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin and the district meet approaches in a few weeks.

VASJ will compete in the Andrew-Osborne Academy meet on Oct. 4 as a prep race for the NCL meet on Oct. 11.

The Vikings will run in the district meet at Medina later in October.


The VASJ Vikings ended their season at the Division III sectional at Pine Hills in Hinckley.

Adam Keyse shot 85, Jeff Grudzinski shot 88, Anthony Turk shot 96 and Brendon O'Donnell shot 101 for the Vikings.

The 370 team total was not enough to get out to the district tournament for the young Vikings, who had just two seniors on the roster.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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