Donna Flasco Chinchen
When his daughter, Donna, was eight years old, Steve Flasco bought her first pair of skis. She learned to use them on a small hill in the yard of her Akron home. Soon, the hills turned to mountains as she raced down the slopes from Vermont to California, amassing 64 skiing titles. In 1963, Ms. Chinchen won the Ohio junior state championship. Two years later, she was the state intercollegiate champion and senior champion. In 1966, she won the championship of the Central United States. She won that title again in 1968. Donna also became the first Ohio skier to qualify for the National Alpine Ski Championships. Competing against the top 44 women racers in the United States and Canada at Crystal Mountain, Washington, in 1968, she placed fifth in combined total for slalom, giant slalom and downhill racing.
Ben Schwartzwalder, longtime football coach at Syracuse University, once said it all about Larry Csonka, "If I had a team of Larry Csonkas, I'd sit in the stands and watch the game myself." At Syracuse Csonka rushed for 2,934 yards. But it was just the beginning of the good times for the Stow native. He was soon to begin a pro football career with the Miami Dolphins that would result in all-pro status and two Super Bowl championship rings. When the cloud of dust finally settled on the big fullback's NFL career, he had gained 8,081 yards and scored 74 touchdowns. One of his most memorable games came in the 1974 Super Bowl, when he ran 33 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Dolphins to the title. After leading the Dolphins in rushing in the 1979 season, Csonka retired.
Dr. Aris Franklin
In 1937, at age 13, Aris Franklin walked into Lester Fry's shop on East Exchange in Akron and bought his first tennis racquet. Over the next decade, before he graduated from medical school in 1948, Franklin would become the dominant figure on the Akron tennis scene. He won his first tournament that first year - a mixed-doubles title with Hall of Famer Shirley Fry. More than 100 other district titles, at every age level, would follow. In 1945, representing Ohio State University, Franklin won the Big 10 singles championship. That year, he also won the Big 10 doubles title. He repeated as doubles champion in 1946 and was runner-up for the singles crown. Franklin, who won the Akron men's tennis title four times, was the Akron city champion in racquetball in 1967 and has also won several area golf tournaments.
Track & Field 1984
A native of Wintersville, Ohio, Carney attended Ohio U where he excelled in football and track. After earning All-Mid-American honors as a running back in 1953, Carney went off to serve with the U.S. Army. He returned to the Bobcats' lair in 1957 to again gain All-MAC honors as well as a spot on the 1959 All-American track & field team. However, it was in track that Carney earned his greatest honors. At one time he owned or shared six OU records, including the 220 (20.7), the 100 (9.4), and the 440 (46.9). Told he wouldn't have a chance to earn a spot on the Olympic squad, Carney persisted. "When you want something bad enough you're willing to sacrifice anything for it," Carney said. At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Carney surprised everyone but himself by chasing Italy's Livio Berutti to the wire in the 200 meter to earn a silver medal.
Baseball, Football 1984
Baseball Hall of Fame manager, Casey Stengel, used to tell sportswriters that baseball was 90 percent pitching. Ray Glinsky was the epitome of that bit of "Stengelese" during his brilliant four-year career at The University of Akron. His individual totals for his career covering 1962-65 were 20 wins and only six losses. In 1965, Glinsky led the nation's college pitchers with a remarkable 0.37 earned run average which has yet been surpassed by a UA pitcher. That effort gave him a career era of 1.65 (35 runs in 191 innings). That senior campaign he completed all nine games he started, winning a school record eight games, and combined with pitchers Jim Barton and Dave Roller to strikeout an Ohio Conference record 213 batters. The trio's ERA that season was a 0.76, an OC and another Akron U record that still stands. Glinsky was also a standout end on the Zip football teams of 1962, '63 and '64.
A native of Barberton, Albie excelled in football, track, and basketball at Barberton High. He entered Western Reserve University in 1935 where he became one of the school's all-time football greats. A fearsome blocker and linebacker, Albie led Coach Bill Edwards' single wing teams, which then were among the nation's best in the small college ranks, to undefeated seasons in 1936 and '38. During his three-year career the Red Cats only suffered two losses in 29 games and Litwak earned All-Big four, All-Ohio and Little All-America honors. In 1953, a Western Reserve committee voted Litwak as a member on the All-Time Reserve team. On December 16, 1944, Lt. Albert "Albie" Litwak, 28, was killed in Luxemburg while fighting the Germans.
Horseshoe Pitching 1984
In days of old it was called "Barnyard Golf" but most know it as horseshoe pitching. Loran May was one of the world's best and joined three other "pitchers," Hugh Palmer, Harold Falor, and his uncle, George May, in the Hall of Fame. A native of Cambridge, Ohio, Loran came to Akron in 1915 where he learned the art of horseshoe pitching from Uncle George, a two-time world champion. At age 13, he captured the first of nine Ohio state championships. In 1923 he finished third to the winner, Uncle George, in the world championships and was fourth in both 1924 and 1925. In that 1924 event, May pitched six consecutive double ringers in defeating A.J. Buckman of Freemont, Ohio, for a world's record. In 1925 he signed a contract to go on tour with the Ziefeld Follies. May did trick horseshoe pitching in shows that featured such stars as W.C. Fields and Will Rogers. He returned to Akron in 1927 to work at Firestone and form an unbeatable team that included brother, James Alvin, and Falor.
One wonders how an individual born in Red Oak, Oklahoma ever got to Barberton, Ohio, but Kent State University was glad that Frank Mesek made the trip. A 1940 graduate of Barberton High, Mesek served in the Navy during World War II before arriving on the KSU campus in 1946. The 6-1, 210 pound offensive guard, linebacker and kicking specialist was selected first team All-Ohio Conference that freshman season as the Golden Flashes captured six of eight games. The International News Service named Mesek to its All-Ohio first team, an honor he repeated the next three campaigns in which KSU, under Coach Trevor Rees, compiled a 15-9-1 record. One of KSU all-time great linemen, Mesek, who had no peers when it came to clearing the way for the backs or coming up with "bone jarring" tackles, was inducted into the Golden Flashes' Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.
He came out of Akron Central High School to become Akron U's all-time career scorer and its first player ever to play in the National Basketball Association. During his four-year career as a Zip cager UA won 87 of 106 games in which Turner scored 1,630 points and hauled down 1,171 rebounds. The 6-7 Turner opened his sophomore season by grabbing 27 rebounds against Baldwin-Wallace - a record yet to be broken on the Hilltop. Leading the way in scoring and rebounding, Turner helped capture the Ohio Conference championship and the NCAA Mideast Regional title. In 1965-66, on the way to a 24-4 record, Turner again paced the Zips in scoring (488) and rebounding (279) to earn first team All-OC and honorable mention All-American for the second straight season. The Zips captured the OC and Mideast Regional titles again and finished third in the national tournament in Evansville, Indiana. In 1967 Turner was picked on the Associated Press' College Division All-America first team. Turner was subsequently drafted in the third round by the San Francisco Warriors. He played in the NBA from 1967 to 1973 for the Warriors, Cincinnati Royals, Portland Trailblazers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Back in the early 1930's if you were an Ohio State football fan, Merle Wendt was one of the stars you were cheering. While laboring at both offensive and defensive end for the Francis Schmidt-coached Buckeyes, Wendt was a two-time All-American (1934-35). Those football squads of 1934-36 compiled a 19-5 record and outscored the opposition 664-118. After his senior season ended Wendt was selected to play in the East-West Shrine game and for the College All-Stars, which defeated the Green Bay Packers, 7-0. In 1981, Wendt was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame.