This week, our 1590 WAKR Student Athlete of the Week is senior girls basketball player Jodi Johnson.

Jodi said it was an incredible experience winning the state championship last weekend, the second in school history. Even more exciting was the players from the 1997 state championship team giving encouragement to the players ahead of the Division I final.

"That was unbelievable, we started hearing from some of the players, they were flying in from Florida and Texas," she said.

"As we were coming out of the tunnel, they were giving us high fives as we got out to the court, so it was an awesome for us, and then as well."

Jodi says her teammates are like family and she says she treasures her journey with her fellow Lady Grizzlies over the past four years.

"We're just one big family, and there's no other way to describe it," Johnson explained.

Johnson will continue her academic and athletic career at Ashland University. She said it was the program and the proximity to home which sold her on Ashland. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Manchester High School’s Alyssa Matheny is the WAKR Student Athlete of the Week for March 11th-March 18th.

Alyssa, a junior, is a track-and-field standout for Panthers, competing in both the high jump and the long jump. She is no stranger to this sport, having three sisters also competing in track-and-field events.

In addition to track, Alyssa is a solid player, as well. On her soccer season, she says “it was really enjoyable. I enjoy my team and my coaches, and I think that helps the season out a lot."

How can Alyssa balance out athletics and academics? "It’s all about time management,” she said.

Being a junior, she has colleges in mind, but has yet to make a decision on where to go. However, Alyssa has interest in running track after high school, and majoring in the medical field.

Wadsworth senior wrestler Noah Baughman is the WAKR Student Athlete of the Week for March 11th-March 18th.

Last week, Noah won his second state wrestling championship in three years, winning the state title at the 120 pound weight class. Baughman won as a sophomore at 106, and took a third place finish as a junior at 113.

"This was certainly the high point of my career at Wadsworth winning for the second time," said Noah. “Even better than the first."

"Just a tremendous young man," said Wadsworth head Wrestling Coach John Gramuglia. “[I’m] so happy for him, as I have been around him since he was in the youth programs here at Wadsworth. Just happy for him."

Wrestling is in the family bloodline, with Noah's older brother Christian currently wrestling at Lake Erie College. The younger brother, Luke, was a state qualifier this year for the Grizzlies.

"As the final seconds ticketed down, I was just trying to win, thinking of nothing else,” Noah recalled. “It was a great moment ,and one I will never forget."

Noah will be majoring in business at Cornell University, while also being a member of the school's wrestling team. He currently carries a 4.0 GPA.

This week, our 1590 WAKR Student Athlete of the Week is Dani Carlson, senior basketball player from Archbishop Hoban High School.

Carlson says that her love for the game started in fourth grade, and while playing at Hoban these past four years, she has bonded well with her teammates and knows the importance of teamwork.

"(Basketball) gives you 15 sisters that you have for life," Carlson says. "I think this season we had the most team bonding and team chemistry we've ever had in my past four years, our practices were hard, but it prepared us for games, and we've worked hard 24-7."

Carlson was key for the Knights during the season and in the playoffs as well, posting up some good numbers and some hustle plays against Marlington and

Norton in the District Semifinal and Final, respectively. In addition to the hard work on the basketball court and in the classroom, Dani also excels on the softball diamond as well.

Dani plans on being involved in the game by pursuing a possible career in sports medicine or a related field, and plans on attending either John Carroll University or the University of Dayton after graduation.

The 1590 WAKR Male Student Athlete of the week is Michael Connalley from Buchtel High School.

Michael is a two-sport athlete in his junior year and Buchtel, and competes not only in football, but basketball as well. Michael has found a nice balance between sports and being a great student

Because Michael is only in his junior year, his college options are still wide open. He said his mother really pushes and motivates him to excel in the classroom. Being a teacher herself, she knows the importance of a good education, and has instilled that into Michael at an early age. His mother continues to reinforce the importance of education to this day.

During his time at Buchtel, Michael has put together a list of accomplishments that include being named first-team all-city and second-team all-district.

We at WAKR look forward to seeing what Michael can do in his senior year and on into college.

Tallmadge sophomore basketball player Matthew Francesconi is the WAKR Male Student Athlete of the Week for February 26th-March 4th.

Matthew is the leading scorer for a much-improved boys basketball team at Tallmadge.

"It has been nice being part of this turnaround, and the added playing time has certainly made me a more productive player," says Francesconi.

Matthew is all basketball, as he has had a basketball in hand since birth. His older brother Andrew, a 2015 graduate of Tallmadge, is now a hoopster at the University of Mount Union.

"He taught me so much about the game," Francesconi said. "He helps me every day."

Matthew averages over 18.0 ppg while running the team from the point guard position. The Blue Devils have had a nice comeback season under Coach Mike Bluey.

Francesoni also is a volunteer coach in the Tallmadge area, while also participating in a number of clubs during the school year, including Spanish Club.

"My game has improved in so many ways since the start of the season," said Francesconi. "With me thrown in as a point guard, my passing, shooting, and confidence are all really high right now."

Matthew carries a 4.0 GPA, and once college roles around for him, he will be looking to get a business degree.

This week, our 1590 WAKR Student Athlete of the Week is senior basketball player Jessie Stout of Stow-Munroe Falls High School.

Stout says she's been playing basketball for a long time, and that she enjoys the game.

"I started basketball since first grade, and I've always loved the game," says Jessie. "So I just kept with it."

Stout is a three-sport athlete, including competing in track and field during the spring, as well as cross country during the fall.

She says on the basketball court, having a solid team chemistry is the key to success, as the Lady Bulldogs are in the midst of a playoff run.

"We have a good team bond, and we work really well together," says Stout.

Head coach Bob Podges of Stow says he appreciates Jessie's hard work and leadership both on and off the court, as well as her mental toughness in playing through injury.

Jessie plans on playing basketball at nearby Notre Dame College, majoring in biology.

This week's female 1590 WAKR Student Athlete of the Week is Macy Chik from Barberton High School.

A standout athlete for the Magics, Macy began playing basketball at age 7. "I've had the best experiences in basketball," she says. "I've made a lot of great friends (over the years)."

In addition to being a star basketball player, Macy also excels in soccer, as well.

Macy has been a longtime resident of Barberton, and plans to stick around the area in the future. She plans on attending Kent State University, majoring in Radiology. Macy decided this major within the last year, as she has a strong interest in ultrasound.

We here at 1590 WAKR wish Macy the best in her future endeavors.

This week’s 1590 WAKR Student Athlete of the Week is Demond Taylor of Kenmore High School.

In his junior year at Kenmore, Demond is a multi-sport athlete for the Cardinals. Demond enjoys being apart of the team and representing his high school in both basketball and football. He plays multiple positions on the court, sharing time at shooting guard, small forward, and center.

Head coach Brain Dawson of the Basketball team took the time to showcase a highlight reel of Demond on the court. Demond himself had put the reel together, which was impressive footage in that it wasn't just a highlight reel of dunks. Demond had pulled all the highlights he had from one single game, and it really displayed his all-around skills on the court.

Demond also dominates in the classroom, as well, pulling a strong GPA and excelling in math. The Kenmore student is only in his junior year, and is keeping his options open as it pertains to colleges.

We here at 1590 WAKR wish him the best of luck through his senior year and on into college.

Stow-Munroe Falls High School senior basketball standout Nathan Bower-Malone is the WAKR Male Student Athlete of the Week for February 12th-February 19th.

Nathan is a four-year member of the Bulldog team and currently leads the team in scoring at just over 18.0 points per game.

"I love to shoot, if you looked at me in the mirror as a player you would see a guy who is always ready to shoot," said Nathan.

He has been playing the game since he was young and realizes the end of his high school basketball is nearing the end.

"I certainly want to play in college but it is just part of the plan as my education and studies will take priority in college," Nathan says.

He plans on majoring in microbiology.

Nathan is also a member of the National Honor Society and band over at Stow. He loves to play the Saxophone in both marching and concert band.

"I really enjoy the school, the times, and friends here at school, I have always love to be busy," he says.

Nathan currently carries a 3.75 GPA.

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