Class of 1997
Clinton Heacock– began his career at West Branch as principal of Goshen High School in 1954 and went on to become the first superintendent of the West Branch Local School District, retiring in 1976. He was a lifelong resident of this area and was a 1934 graduate of Sebring Local High School. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Muskingum College in 1938 and later earned a Master’s Degree from Westminster College. Under his direction, and because of his influence, the West Branch School District grew to become one of the most respected in the area. His dedication to young people and pride in our school district will always be remembered. The Clinton Heacock Football Stadium was a dream of his and was named in his honor. Mr. Heacock was married to the former Dorothy Walker, and they were the parents of four West Branch graduates- Penny, Jim, Jeff, and Jon.
William A. Meiter– attended Goshen High School and graduated in 1923. He graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1927. He was an employee of the Worthington Corporation for 40 years, retiring in 1967 from his position of Vice President in Charge of Government Services. In recent years, Mr. Meiter became involved with the Damascus Area Historical Society and provided funds to purchase the Damascus Grade School Museum. In 1987, he established a $200,000 Ohio State Scholarship fund for West Branch and neighboring district graduates. In 1992, he donated $90,000 toward the William A. Meiter and Community Athletic Complex and in 1993 donated $75,000 to establish a computer center at West Branch High School.
Joe Wilson, Class of 1967– Joe participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track during his career at West Branch. His football honors included being elected the Best Offensive Back in 1965 and 1966 and All Northeast Ohio in 1966. Joe established a school record for most yards rushing in a season (1,256) and most rushing yards averaged per game (138 yds/gm). His basketball honors included receiving two letters and being chosen All Area Honorable Mention in 1967.
Mark Rohaley, Class of 1974– Mark was a three sport performer at West Branch having participated in football, basketball, and baseball. He established many passing records in his football career and was an MVC first teamer, Northeast Player of the Year, and First Team All-Ohio in 1973. He received a football scholarship to Kent State University. Mark was a two year starter in basketball and was a member of West Branch’s first sectional and district championship team of 1973-74. He was Honorable Mention All Northeast Ohio and Second Team All Mahoning Valley Conference. Mark played right field and pitcher on the 1973 State Runner Up baseball team.
Doug Blasiman, Class of 1975– Doug was a three sport athlete at West Branch High School. His football career included a 1,000 year season and school record for rushing in one season. In addition to football, Doug participated in basketball and track and was a four year letterman in track for his efforts as a sprinter.
Jeff Woods, Class of 1975– Jeff excelled in basketball and baseball during his career at West Branch. He was a member of the 1973-74 Regional qualifying basketball team. During the 1974-75 basketball season he was second team All-NEO, first team MVC, and first team All-Area. He was the third leading scorer in the area and established school records for steals in– one game with 8, one season with 75, and a career with 150. Jeff was a four year letter winner in baseball. He played shortstop and was a member of the 1973 State Runner Up baseball team, establishing records for home runs in a season (7) and a career (17) and fielding percentage of 1.000 in 1974. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and played in their minor league organization.
Jim Stitle, Class of 1976– Jim was a three sport performer in football, wrestling, and baseball earning 11 varsity letters during his high school career. He was a three year starter in football where he established records in both extra points and field goals. In wrestling, he was a four year letter winner, a three time State qualifier, and a State Champion in 1976. He was a four year award winner in baseball and was the starting third baseman on the 1973 State Runner Up baseball team. Jim received a wrestling scholarship to Bowling Green State University.
Cheri Johnson Martin, Class of 1990– Cheri participated in volleyball, basketball, and softball and is the only person to earn 12 varsity letters at West Branch High School. She was elected to the All-Ohio Volleyball team in 1988 and 1989 and established eleven school volleyball records. She was elected All-Ohio Special Mention in basketball in 1989 and All-Ohio third team in 1990, scored 1,040 points in her West Branch career, and was a first team All-NBC selection her senior year. In softball she had a .310 career batting average.
Scott Loudon, Class of 1992– Scott was a three sport athlete at West Branch, having participated in football, basketball, and baseball. He won ten varsity letters as an athlete. In football he was elected first team All NBC in both of the 1990 and 1991 seasons. He was All NBC first team in basketball in 1990-91 and 1991-92 and was the league MVP in 1991-92. Scott was a two time All NBC performer in baseball. He was an important member of three league championship teams, a Regional Runner Up football team, and a Regional Runner Up basketball team. He attended Mount Union College.
Class of 1998
Colonel Gary Barber (United States Air Force), Class of 1964– Gary was a two sport athlete at West Branch in football and basketball. He was a two year starter at quarterback for the Warriors in football and a two year starter in basketball. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Youngstown State University and his Masters at Central Michigan University. He was promoted to Colonel in August of 1993. He was a command pilot of the KC-135’s with more than 3,000 hours of flying time. Colonel Barber retired from the Air Force on October 1, 1998 with 28 years of service.
Jim Heacock, Class of 1966– Jim was a three sport performer at West Branch High School. He continued his education and football careers at Muskingum College where he lettered three years and was All-Conference three years. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1970 and played with the Packers and Cincinnati Bengals. Jim has held assistant coaching positions at Muskingum College, Bowling Green, and the University of Washington and coached in many post season bowl games. He also was the head coach at Illinois State University where he is the third most winningest coach in school history. He was the defensive line coach at Ohio State University where he has coached in the Rose and Sugar Bowl’s on New Years.
Jeff Manning, Class of 1974– Jeff was West Branch High School’s first State Wrestling Champion in 1972. He was a four year letter winner in wrestling where he set several season and career records for the Warrior wrestling team. Jeff finished his career with 77 wins, and qualified for the district tournament all four years.
Greg Sharp, Class of 1986– Greg was a three sport performer at West Branch High School. In football he set several season and career receiving records, while being named All-Ohio his senior year. In track, Greg set a school record in the long jump and was a regional qualifier. Greg received a scholarship to Bowling Green State University and finished his career at Mount Union College.
Chris Clausnitzer, Class of 1988– Chris was a standout athlete in basketball and track at West Branch High School. She was a member of the 1987-1988 Regional Runner Up basketball team where she set several season and career records. She was named Player of the Year for the Northeastern Ohio Inland District and first team All-Ohio. She was an All-Ohio performer in track and field placing 5th at the State Meet in the high jump. Chris entered the Air Force Academy after graduation and has been a Captain in the United States Air Force.
Connon Thompson, Class of 1992– Connon was a three sport athlete during his high school career in football, basketball, and baseball. He received 9 varsity letters and the teams on which he played won at least on NBC Championship in each sport. In the 1991 football season, Connon was a key player on the Regional Runner Up team and was named Most Valuable Player in the NBC and also First Team Defensive Back in Northeastern Ohio Inland District. He was a member of the 1991-92 Regional Runner Up basketball team where he set records for assists and steals while being named First Team All-NBC. He was a member of the 1991 NBC Championship baseball team where he earned 2nd Team All-NBC honors.
Dominic “Doc” Panezott– Doc Panezott was an integral part of West Branch athletics, first becoming involved in the Little Warriors program and then becoming active in the West Branch Athletic Booster Club. He served the Athletic Boosters as president for three years and worked tirelessly to support Warrior teams and coaches. Through his efforts the Athletic Boosters became a major financial contributor to our athletic programs. Doc lived in the Salem/West Branch area all his life and was a 1965 graduate of Salem High School.
Class of 1999
Dr. J. Fred Jose– Dr. Jose came to the community in 1951 after attending Mount Union College, the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Medical Center, Magee Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital at Pittsburgh. After 5 years of service in WWII, Dr. Jose began his practice in Damascus from 1951 until his death in 1979. As a member of our community, Dr. Jose served two terms on the Board of Education. Dr. Jose was the team physician to West Branch Athletics and unselfishly administered physicals to athletes in the school district. A well respected member of our community, Dr. Jose was a friend to many families in this area.
Frank Edie, Class of 1987– Frank was a three sport athlete participating in football, basketball, and baseball where he earned 3 varsity letters in football and basketball and 4 in baseball. Frank quarterbacked the first undefeated and first playoff team in 1986 and established 7 records in the 1986 season. In basketball, Frank was the 2nd leading scorer and the rebound leader for the Warriors in his senior season, after leading the Warriors his junior and senior year in both scoring and rebounding. On the baseball team, Frank was a career .300 hitter and shined as the team’s catcher for four years.
Dan Manning, Class of 1977– Dan was a 3 year letter winner in wrestling and West Branch’s third state champion. Dan follows his older brother Jeff as a Wrestling State Champion and Hall of Fame member. In his senior season, Dan placed in every tournament he entered and finished his career with 51 wins, 20 of which were during his senior season.
Todd Brown, Class of 1969– Todd was a standout player in basketball at West Branch. He received 2 varsity letters and was honored to the All-Area and 2nd Team All-Ohio basketball teams. During his senior year, Todd also set the school record for most points in one season at West Branch. Todd continued his education at Muskingum College where he received Most Valuable Player awards for the 1971, 1972, and 1973 seasons and was named All-OAC in the 1973 season.
Tom Baxter, Class of 1961– Tom was a 3 sport athlete excelling in football, basketball, and baseball. During the 1960 football season, Tom led the Warriors to a second place finish in the Turnpike Conference and a ranking of 21st in the State with a 9-1 record. Tom scored 13 TDs and 10 extra points to finish second in scoring in the conference and fourth in the areas and received 2nd team All-Ohio honors. Tom was this areas 2nd leading scorer in basketball and led the Warriors to an 18-2 record. Tom was the shortstop on the baseball team and was a .300 career hitter.
Class of 2000
Greg Birkhimer, Class of 1979– Greg was a 2 year letter winner in wrestling and was the Warriors’ 4th State Wrestling Champion in 1979. Greg was an intense wrestler and finished his senior year with 29 wins and 1 loss. Greg also won championships at the Carrollton, Sectional, and District Tournaments in the 1978-79 season. Greg led the 1978-79 wrestling team in all statistical categories and ended his wrestling career with a 46-3 record.
John Meissner, Class of 1987– John was a 3 sport athlete at West Branch where he won 9 letters. A 4 year letter winner in Golf, John led the team with a 34.3 average and to a 26-1 record. In basketball, John led the team with a 20.4 ppg average and was named to the first team, All-Area, and Northeast Inland District. John was a 3 year letter winner in baseball where he played shortstop and set a school record with a .563 batting average.
Shari Ferguson Althouse, Class of 1988– Shari participated in volleyball, track, and softball during her career at West Branch. A 4 year letter winner in volleyball, Shari established 6 school records. During her senior year, the volleyball team finished undefeated and ranked #1 in the State Coaches Final Poll. Shari was named to the District I as a member of the State All Star Team. Shari was a 2 year letter winner on the track team and she was a pitcher her junior and senior year on West Branch’s first softball team.
Randy Greenawalt, Class of 1974– Randy was a 3 year letter winner in football and a first team All Conference pick on the 1973 team. Randy anchored both the offensive and defensive lines for the 1973 team, which ended with a 9-1 record and an MVC Championship. Coach Dick Hartzell called Randy an intense, tireless worker and the best lineman he has coached on both offense and defense.
Vincent F. Mauro, Pharm. D., FCCP, Class of 1977– Vincent received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Ohio Northern University. He then was selected for the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Ohio State University where he received his Pharm. D. degree. His professional work has been recognized locally, regionally, and nationally. He was elected as a fellow to the prestigious American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Vincent is the Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Toledo and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Ohio.
David N. Steer, Ph.D, Class of 1978– David entered the United States Military Academy (West Point) after graduation. During his military career, he successfully completed US Army Ranger and Airborne training as well as numerous staff level assignments. He left active duty in 1992 and returned to Cornell obtaining a Ph.D. in geophysics in 1996. Dr. Steer remained at Cornell as a research associate involved in nuclear treaty monitoring prior to moving to Akron in 1999. He has completed a global scale, geophysical databases, and visualization project that is used by the United Nations organization for monitoring nuclear treaties. Dr. Steer is an Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of Akron.
Sheila Hoffinger Steer, MD., F.A.C.E.P., Class of 1978– Immediately after graduation, Sheila entered the NEOUCOM six year combined BS/MD program. Upon completing medical school in 1984, Dr. Steer entered the emergency medicine residency at Akron City Hospital. After residency, Dr. Steer worked in several emergency departments in Ohio, Virginia, and New York and continued to pursue her interest in pre-hospital medicine. Dr. Steer served as the director of the Emergency Medical Department at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira, New York where she was honored for her medical excellence and commitment to patients. She is continuing her medical career with Summa Health System in Akron.
Chuck Wilson, Class of 1962– Chuck was a 3 sport athlete at West Branch in football, basketball, and baseball. He quarterbacked the 1960 and 1961 football team to runner up finishes in the Turnpike Conference both years and a State Ranking in the AP football poll in 1960. His 16 TD passes set a school record that stood for several years. His passing and rushing statistics were near the top of the conference and area rankings.
Eric Moulin, Class of 1986– Eric was West Branch High School’s fifth State Wrestling Champion in 1986. He was a 4 year letter winner in wrestling and also qualified for the State Tournament as a junior. His career record in wrestling was: 92-19-2. Eric won 8 championships and 4 runner up finishes at invitational and OHSAA tournaments during his career.
Bret Wyss, Class of 1978– Bret was a 3 year letter winner in wrestling and West Branch’s only 3 time State Placer, placing 5th in 1976, 3rd in 1977, and 2nd in 1978. Bret had a career record of 68-6-1 that included 7 championships and 3 runner up finishes at invitationals and OHSAA tournaments.
Matt Riesen, Class of 1992– Matt was one of the best linemen to play at West Branch and was a leader in many defensive categories. During his football career, Matt was selected to first team honors in the NBC, NEO Inland District, Alliance Review, and Salem News. He continued his football career at Toledo University. Matt also lettered in wrestling and track at West Branch.
Jeff Morris, Class of 1995– Jeff quarterbacked the 1994 Warriors to a State Championship with his passing and running abilities. Jeff set the school record of 34 TD passes in a season and 5 TD passes in one game. His list of honors include: 1st Team All-NBC, NEO Inland District, All-Area, and Division III Player of the Year, and 1st Team All-Ohio. Jeff was also a pitcher on the baseball team. He continued his football and academic career at Muskingum College where he established more passing records for the Muskies.
Class of 2001
Norman W. Barnett– Mr. Barnett served on the original Board of Education from 1960-1970. He also served on the Smith Union School Board for several years and the Mahoning Local School Board from 1956-1958. In 1962, during his term as School Board President, the ground breaking and construction of West Branch High School took place. He was the founder and owner of Barnett Insurance Agency, retiring in 1977.
John L. Denny– Mr. Denny was an original member of the West Branch Local Board of Education serving from 1960-1968. He also served on the Knox Local Board of Education from 1952-1956. John was active with the construction of the High School and the Athletic Stadium. He operated and later turned over the original “Warrior” concession stand at the Columbiana County Fair to the West Branch Athletic Booster Club. Mr. Denny attended Goshen High and was the owner/operator of Denny Farm Equipment.
Richard Burton– Mr. Burton was a member of the first West Branch Local Schools Board of Education, served from 1960-1982. Richard was active on the Citizen’s Committee to form the new school district which became West Branch. He was also involved in the groundwork to build the athletic stadium and West Branch High School. He was a 1941 graduate of Goshen High School and is a charter member of the Goshen Ruritan Club. After serving in World War II, Mr. Burton returned home and operated the family farm, Homestead Farms.
Leland L. Glass– Mr. Glass served on the original Board of Education from 1960-1964 and was the president for 2 of those years. Prior to his election to the West Branch Board of Education, he served on the Smith Union School Board from 1954-1956 and the Mahoning Local School Board from 1956-1958. Leland was a charter member of the Beloit Ruritan Club and was active in numerous community groups. He was a 1933 graduate of Beloit High School and an accountant for Barclay Machine and Alliance Electric.