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Seven to be inducted into Knox County Sports Hall of Fame

Later this month 7 former athletes who dominated their sports while playing at Knox County Schools will be inducted in the Knox County Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony for the athletes and their families September 30th at 2pm.

The Inductees for this class are as follows:

Harry Hyman

Graduated from Mount Vernon in 1900 and attended Ohio State where he captained the track team. He set the 100 yard dash record at 9.8 seconds which held up for 30 years until George Simpson beat it was a 9.6 seconds, Jesse Owens later beat that. He ran in Europe in the summers of 1904 and 1905 beating the british champion in the 220.

Barbara Kymer

In 1945 at the age 11 Kymer began a fast pitch softball career that saw her win 7 state championships and travel coast to coast. She had 268 wins and 28 no hitters. She’s been inducted in the Dayton Sports Hall of Fame and the Ohio Amateur Softball HOF

Jim Byrd

The 1966 Mount Vernon graduate scored a touchdown the first time he touched the ball. Before he was injured 3 games before the end of his Senior Year he had scored 344 points just 8 shy of Brownie Corcoran’s 352 scored in 1920. As a Junior he was second team All Ohio as a half back and 3rd team in basketball in AA. He went on to Cincinnati. Byrd died in 2011.

Paul Highnam

Paul is the first to be inducted as both an athlete and as a coach. He excelled in three sports as an athlete at Mount Vernon. Once running back a touchdown on a kickoff against eventual state champion Upper Arlington and ran for 214 yards against Urbana. In Basketball he won the league scoring title needing 35 points and scoring 37 in a win over Urbana. As a Senior batted .440 and had 3 no hitters in Babe Ruth ball. As a girl’s basketball coach he was 445-116, a winning percentage of 79.3 percent. In his last 11 years his Danville teams were 118-4 in league play and were 64-0 in his last 6 years there. He took his last 5 teams to the Final Four.

That included 310 victories at Danville, 24 at Tri-Valley and 111 at Mt. Vernon. His teams won 16 league championships, 16 sectional championships, 13 district titles, 5 regional championships and 5 consecutive appearances in the Final Four. Their 10 consecutive wins in the regionals is probably at a state record. His teams were Columbus Dispatch Poll Champions four times.

Ted Williams

1974 Mount Vernon High School Basketball standout. Led the Yellow Jackets to the state Final Four in 1974, the only Knox County team to do that since the OHSAA was formed in 1923. In 1974 tournament play Williams he scored 157 tournament points. His 548 single season point total surpassed Richie Hoyt’s record and still stands today. His 1230 career points are second to Nick Gutman’s 1285. Williams went on to play at Toledo and helped the Rockets to a 77-28 record in 4 seasons, in 2006 he was inducted into the University of Toledo Hall of Fame.

Biffiny Faith Casto

1995 Fredericktown graduate and 2 time state champion in the 800 meter run. She is one of only two girls in the 47 year history of the girls 800 meter race at Division Three OHSAA State Track Championships to place in the top 4 all four years, Casto and Susan Nash. Casto, along with teammates Kathy Swartzentruber, Leslie Christopher and Kim Taylor finished second in the 3200 meter relay in the 1995 OHSAA Championships. Casto attended Kent State and ran track her freshman year.

Rob Kelly

Rob Kelly attended Saint Vincent but went to Newark Catholic being unable to play High School sports at Saint Vincent and As a Junior Running Back at Newark Catholic Kelly led his team to the State Semifinals where they lost 21-19 to eventual state champion St Henry. As a Senior in the State Semifinals Kelly ran for a career high 279 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 31-8 win over McDonald. In the State championship game Kelly ran for 154 yards and scored 4 touchdowns in a 34-13 win over Bluffton. Rob Kelly was named to the 1991 All Ohio first team and named the Division 5 Back of the Year totaling 1,663 yards and 29 touchdowns. Kelly attended Ohio State and was a starter his Junior and Senior years. Kelly was the first safety drafted in the 1997 NFL Draft by the Saints, he played 4 years with the Saints and one with the Patriots. He was also inducted into the Newark Catholic Athletic Hall of Fame.

Photo from Knox County historical Society

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