The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 1, 2014

A Don McCormack column: This one proves more than worthy

Sports Editor

— Now going on almost three decades here at this newspaper, you name it, my ears have pretty much heard it in terms of excuses, explanations, etc.

For example, we just completed our five-part series on previews of the five high school spring sports seasons that are attempting to get off the ground, despite Mother Nature’s best/worst efforts.

As is usually the case, there are a few preseason fact sheets — which we send out to every athletic director in our coverage area — that are not returned, usually resulting in complaints being made for us not including them in our print edition.

Among those not returned was the sheet for the Conneaut girls track team, led by veteran coach Mike Trinko.

However, when an email from old friend Tom Ritari, Trinko’s assistant coach, showed up in my inbox with the information from the fact sheet, I discovered a new explanation as to why the forms were not returned by the deadline.

Mike and his wife, Laurie, are in the Ukraine, where they are in the process of adopting two boys.

“Don, I don’t know if you can do anything, (but) with Mike being in the Ukraine adopting two boys, there was a communication breakdown,” Ritari wrote. “If you can catch this up, we sure would appreciate it.”

Trinko, who serves as an intervention specialist at Conneaut, did report to Ritari that he likes the look of his 17th Spartan squad.

“We have a strong group of sophomores and a few talented freshmen this year to build on, along with some good upperclassmen letterwinners,” he said. “We need to stay healthy due to small numbers, but (are) looking forward to seeing how this group develops.

“It’s been a hard spring and just getting outside will help. We are looking forward to a great year!”

With Conneaut being an independent, Trinko & Co. have a different set of goals than every other team in the Star Beacon coverage area.

“With no conference, (we are) looking to peak at the Ashtabula All-County Meet and district meet,” he said.

Mike and Laurie Trinko — who arrived in Kiev on Jan. 18, in the midst of the Russians trying to invade and take over the entire nation — are hopefully putting the final touches on adopting brothers Jack, age 7, and Max, age 5.

I do believe that more than qualifies as not an excuse, but an explanation — but a darn good one, at that.

The capsule featuring the preseason preview information for the 2014 Conneaut Spartans appears on Page C4.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at