While there isn’t a whole lot going on in the month of July as far as the local sports scene is concerned some of the biggest events of the summer are happening within the next week.
First up on the calendar is the 51st annual Indiana Football Coaches Association North-South All Star game in Indianapolis.
This year’s All-Star Classic will take place Friday, July 14 at Indianapolis North Central High School. And this year’s showcase of the best graduating senior football talent in the state of Indiana will be remembered as an historically significant event in the annals of Linton Miner football.
This year marks the first time Linton-Stockton has ever had two players represent the school in the All-Star Classic.
The IFCA selected Tyler Meurer and Avery Gentry as members of the South All-Star squad.
Meurer and Gentry become the fourth and fifth Linton-Stockton players to represent the school in this prestigious event.
And it’s well-deserved for both.
Meurer was an IFCA Top 50 selection - encompassing all six classes, 1A through 6A - throughout the state. The Miner quarterback threw for 1,400 yards, ran for 1,500, picked off five passes and had five return touchdowns - one fumble, one interception, two punt returns and a kickoff return.
Gentry anchored the defense, finishing third on the team with 85 tackles from his inside linebacker spot, and called the defensive signals for the last three years, since his sophomore season.
And oh yeah - the Miners were Class A State Champions last November.
In the words of Terre Haute North’s Nick Barrett, “They (the Linton Miners) bring their ‘A’ game every day. That’s why they won the state championship. They know what they’re doing. They’ve ‘been there, done that.’”
Last year Dylan Morris became the third Miner player selected. Morris was an offensive lineman for the South All-Stars in the 2016 Classic.
Adam Brewer was a member of the South All-Stars for the 2006 All-Star Game. John Turchi played in the inaugural event in 1967.
In addition, Linton-Stockton coach Brian Oliver was appointed head coach for the South All-Stars.
But aside from the historical perspective and the heretofore unprecedented recognition of Miner football excellence, the IFCA North-South All-Star Classic is significant for a far more important reason.
The All-Star Game’s biggest benefactor is Camp Riley for kids.
Camp Riley is funded by the Riley Children’s Foundation. And thanks to donations, Camp Riley has never had to turn away a camper due to financial need.
Every summer, Camp Riley welcomes approximately 200 children between the ages of 8 and 18 from throughout Indiana and several other states. The annual summer camp, which takes place at Bradford Woods near Martinsville, allows children with physical disabilities to experience life without limits and adventures that help them build confidence and friendships.
And on Wednesday, the North and South All-Star squads will visit Camp Riley for an evening of meeting and greeting and activities.
Next up on the weekend sports agenda is the 75th annual Greene County Open golf championship tournament at Phil Harris Golf Course.
Last year Clayton French became the first repeat winner since 11-time champion Randy Smith won back-to-back in 2002 and 2003.
Now French, a recent Marian University graduate, hopes to join a list of four three-time winners. Two of those - Sherell Johnson, Jr. (1954-55-56) and Bill Gayso (1963-64-65) are the only golfers to have ever won three Greene County Open championships in a row.
Even with his 11 titles, Smith never won three straight. Neither did six-time champion Tom Jones.
French figures to face plenty of competition from the likes of two-time winner Brock Anderson, 2013 champion Luke Jerrells and 2009 winner Chris Taylor, along with perennial contender Brian Brinegar.
Smith, who moved up to the senior division after winning his last GCO title in 2011 remains the man to beat in the seniors. Smith has won three of the last four senior championships.
But aside from the tournament favorites, the Greene County Open is just that - an “open” tournament. The tournament is open to anyone who wants to play - regardless of age or ability.
Last year a record number of 82 golfers teed it up in the Greene County Open, competing in 10 different flights. Whether a player shoots 100, 90, 80 or consistently breaks par there is a flight for everyone.
The next big event on the local sports calendar is the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Greene County Stingrays swim club.
The Greene County Stingrays organization will be commemorating the swim team’s 50-year history at its end-of-season party Tuesday, July 18 at A.M. Risher Pool.
As best as my fuzzy memory recalls, Joe and Jan Cabel of Lyons started the Linton swim team a couple years after the city pool was built. And if my recollection serves me correctly, their children Joe, Claire and Dan went on to swim collegiately at Indiana State University.
To the best of my admittedly limited knowledge, the Cabel siblings are the only swimmers from Greene County to ever compete at the collegiate level. Obviously I need to research this further. And if any of our readers know of any other others, please feel free to let me know.
By the way, the Stingrays swim club is reaching out to all swim team alumni. All are invited to attend Tuesday’s anniversary celebration. There is even an “Alumni Race” - a 25-meter freestyle event - planned for those folks.
So, former swimmers, bring your swim suits!
Terry Schwinghammer is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, ext. 27. He can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.