The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 29, 2014

A Don McCormack column: Katie will help YMCA once again

Sports Editor

Paying a Tuesday morning visit to the variety store...

Back at it

For the past six years, Katie Petro has been hard a work, doing what she can to raise funds for improvements to the Ashtabula YMCA.

Her efforts have gone a long way toward completing the handicap-accessible walkway, installing an automatic door and adding a handicap changing area for the facility’s pool.

File this one in the you-can-bet-we’ll-be-following-up-on-this-one folder, though.

For come August, the 14-year-old be part of a swim that will start in Canada and cross Lake Erie.

“It’s a big challenge, so hopefully’ we can raise big money,” she said.

Katie had been training for the challenge seven days a week since February.

Her goals was to start training early enough to enable her to do a solo swim across the Great Lake, but a bad flip turn during an invitational meet in Youngstown resulted in an injured foot, leaving her in a cast — and out of the pool.

Though she needed another month of healing while wearing a walking boot, Katie returned to the pool.

Now, she is swimming three miles a day.

“It’s hard to get much more than that because lap swim times are limited,” she said. “And it’s hard to make all the lap swims with my school schedule.”

As for the relay she plans to be part of come August, Katie expects to do most of the heavy lifting.

She expects to swim 12 to 15 miles of the 25-mile journey, which will begin in Ontario, Canada and conclude in Erie, Pa.

She will be joined by nine others, all older than 30, with the oldest being her 67-year-old coach.

The swim by Katie and her teammates has been dubbed, Katie’s Canada Over-the-hill & Under-aged Relay so Accessibility is Given to Everyone swim — which can be shortened to, “Katie’s Courage.”

As if this story isn’t compelling enough, there’s more.

Katie Petro has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), or as it’s more commonly known, brittle bone disease.

May 3 through May 10 is OI Awareness Week.


Though most of the ball-sports high school spring sports squads have spent a good portion of the 2014 season, believe it or not, it’s actually time to begin contemplating postseason play.

Tournament draws for baseball, softball, boys and girls track and boys tennis for the 2014 postseason will be held across the Buckeye State on Sunday afternoon.

A year ago, the only area team to advance past the district level was coach Eleshia Pitcher’s Geneva Eagles softball squad, which claimed the Division II title at Jefferson.

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