Volunteers keep stomachs full with homemade food

Daily Record Sports Writer

BERLIN — Holmes County and handcrafted items go together.

It’s no different with the Classic in the Country and its concessions.

Holly Troyer, Deb DeSeyn and Naomi Troyer led a food club of 90 volunteers that served just homemade food. The trio of Troyer’s and DeSeyn organized a system that went through more than 240 pounds of chicken, sold more than 400 jumbo-sized chocolate cookies, 700 fry pies and countless roasters of chicken-noodle casserole.

At 2 PM Monday they also had made 250 pounds of popcorn and used close to 100 rings of Trail Bologna for sandwiches. Across the board, they had sold double the amount from Classic in the Country II last season.

“Right after the event was over last year, we took a look back at what worked and what didn’t,” said Holly Troyer, the Hiland High School secretary. “We knew back then what we wanted our menu to be, and its been fun making it work. Believe me, if it wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t be doing it because it’s a lot of work.”

Draped in their “Classy Cook” aprons and working out of their “summer kitchen” — a blocked-off portion of the Perry Reese Community Center’s front entrance — the trio of concession leaders start at 8:30 a.m. and finish when the last game of each night concluded.

Lincoln Troyer and Kenny Miller did a number of food runs for the group, as they ran out of products sooner than anticipated. Youngsters Thomas Troyer, Morgan Troyer and Troy Miller sold water and popcorn among the crowd.

No item on the menu was more than $2.50, but the “guesstimate” of total revenue was $15,000. All proceeds will go to the Hiland High Athletic Booster Club.

“It’s really unbelievable. I’m in awe,” said DeSeyn, the home economics teacher at the high school. “We just wanted to make sure everybody was happy and we didn’t run out of food. Money was the least of our worries.”

EMCEE ESTHER – The on-court entertainment didn’t stop at halftime of all the Classic in the Country games this season. Senior Esther Mast acted as an emcee, and along with seniors Kyle Beechy and Emily Dages, junior Kenny Miller, and sophomores Eric Miller and Krista Schlabach, the “Entertainment Team” kept fans on their toes.

They rotated time in “Bubba the Ball” and “Randy the Referee” – two inflatable mascot costumes – and planned games for all 20 of the 10-minute halftimes. They handed out more than 50 pounds of candy and more than 40 T-shirts.

I actually played basketball a couple years ago, but I just had so many other things going on that I couldn’t play any more,” Mast said. “I still went to all the games and got all decked out, so when (Hiland coach Dave Schlabach) asked the team who they wanted, they kind of nominated me. They were like, ‘Why don’t you get Esther to do it?'”

TITLE IX – One game in each of the three Classic in the Country seasons has been refereed by three women. Monday, Westerville resident Angela Hickman and Coshocton’s Annette Civiello and Sue Sheck worked the 1:30 game between Holy Name and Minster.

“The coolest thing is when we walk by the players before the game, and you hear them say, ‘Look, three women tonight,'” Civiello said.

Sheck, in her ninth year of varsity officiating, and Civiello, now in her fifth season, worked the CitC last season. Despite 12 years with the whistle, it was Hickman’s first go-round at the Classic.

“From the fans, coaches, hosts and even community, it’s just a classic event,” Sheck said. “It’s truly top-shelf and I hope we get invited back.”

COLLEGE COACHES – With three games remaining on Monday’s schedule, 121 college coaches and/or scouts attended the CitC III. WKLM radio’s program and sports director, Mark Lonsinger, interviewed a good number of them.

“Generally, what I’m hearing from most of them is, ‘I was here once and I wasn’t going to send anyone else,'” said Lonsinger. “They get the who, what and where information months ahead of time … and from the time they walk in the door they know it will be completely organized and they will get their hands held.

“For example, the coach from (the University of Southern California) flew in on a red-eye from Seattle strictly for yesterday and she flew back out last night. They have no worries about seeing what they need to see, because they know what a tight ship (Hiland girls coach) Dave Schlabach and his crew run.”

TURNING PRO – It was more than just college personnel at the CitC. Brian Agler, an assistant coach with the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars, took in games Monday.

“I’ve got a fifth-grade daughter who is really into basketball, and they didn’t have school today, so I wanted to bring her up and see some of the better teams in the state of Ohio,” Agler said. “We’re just basketball fans like everybody else. We wanted to see some good hoops.”

Agler and daughter, Taylor, drove up from the Olentangy District just north of Columbus. For Agler, who was a collegiate head coach at Kansas State and the University of Missouri at Kansas City, the visit and interview with The Daily Record brought back memories.

“I played for (College of Wooster coach) Steve Moore at Wittenberg, and I coached with him for a year at Muhlenberg (College, Allentown, Pa.),” Agler said. “And when the Fighting Scots went to the Final Four a couple years back, my nephew, Wesley Wright, was on the team.”