The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


February 18, 2013

Ayden the cause

Family helps 9-year-old Ayden Richmond to become state champion in Elks Hoop Shot. Next up — regionals

Ayden Richmond can be forgiven if, after his latest adventeure, he feels like a star. The 9-year-old third grader at Cork Elementary has earned the treatment.

Richmond qualified for the Elks Hoop Shoot regional competition in Angola, Ind. by virtue of claiming the Ohio state championship for 8- and 9-year-olds.

“It felt really good,” Richmond, the son of Jeff and Jodi (Springer) Richmond, said. “I thought it would take a bigger score, like 23 or 24, to win.”

A win against the state champs from Indiana and Michigan on March 16 would qualify Richmond for the national competition in Springfield, Mass.

Ayden Richmond made seven of his first 10 attempts in Gahanna before sinking 13 of his final 15 to claim the state title over five other competitors.

The competition was not an easy one for Ayden Richmond. There were a number of people right down on the floor with him. Also, Richmond had made a point of not watching the other competitors in his age group while he was waiting. At the state competition, he was forced to be creative in trying to do so.

“I just looked ta the rim the whole entire time,” Ayden Richmond said. “I didn’t want to get nervous watching the other kids shoot.”

“We thought it would take a higher score to win,” Jeff Richmond said. “All the kids were nervous. It’s more intense than their district competions.

“There are six people (including rebounders and score keepers) inside the free-throw line watching the kids shoot. The other five competitors are sitting at midcourt watching, too. (Ayden) sat in the end chair (at midcourt) and turned to watch the girls shooting (at the other end of the court).”  

At first, Ayden Richmond wasn’t sure he’d won the event. His parents made the outcome quite clear right away.

“My dad gave me a thumb’s up from the stands,” Ayden Richmond said.

“He didn’t know where he stood when he made those first seven,” Richmond said. “We gave him a thumb’s up and tried to cheer him up. Even after he was done, he didn’t know he’d won. But even before the last kid was done shooting, we already knew he’d won.”

Following the victory, Ayden Richmond was joined by a proud younger sister, Brooke, 6, who helped him celebrate.

“Even my sister, Brooke, kept all the scores,” Ayden Richmond said. “She had to get her picture taken with me.”

“Brooke was keeping score right there with us,” Jeff Richmond said. “She’s excited because she gets to do it next year. She was excited for her brother. She had to go right down and get her picture taken with her brother.”

The win set up a mid-year family reunion for the Richmonds.

“We told him before the competition, and this almost backfired, that if he won state we’d be going to Indiana, which is only four or five hours away from his Aunt Denise (Skeels) Abfall, who lives in Green Bay, Wisc., and his Aunt Shelly (Skeels) Jurcenko, who lives in Chicago. It’s cool they’ll get to see him.”

“I’m really excited,” Ayden Richmond said. “It’s the first time they’ll get to see me shoot free throws.”

Ayden Richmond has but one goal for the regional competition,

“I have to beat the kid from Up North,” Ayden Richmond said.

“I don’t want any team from Up North in any sport to win,” he added, referring to the Ohio State men’s basketball team and its battles with Michigan in the Big Ten.

“I told him he didn’t have to practice anymore if he didn’t want,” Richmond said. “I told him he was guaranteed at least third place. He looked at me funny and I told him there were only three kids in the competition. Obviously, we know he needs a better score and we’re focusing on being perfect, and if not making 24. We keep telling him to just beat the kid from Up North. I told him the whole Buckeye Nation is behind him.

“We all graduated from Ohio State, so we’re all rooting for him to beat the kid from Up North. He told me, ‘Dad, I’ve got to beat the kid from Up North.’”

Text Only
  • Jefferson flying high

    Jefferson boys track coach T.J. Furman didn’t know what to expect from his young team coming into the 2014 season.

    April 20, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Jefferson 130, Pymatuning Valley 88, Springfield 75, Southeast 73.50, LaBrae 67, Liberty 56.50, Conneaut 44, Maplewood 39, Chalker 32, Windham 18
    at LaBrae

    April 20, 2014

  • Advantage, Diemer

    Every pitcher wants to get the advantage against every batter she faces. Edgewood lefty Taylor Diemer gave herself that edge and it proved to be key as the Warriors topped Madison, 1-0, Friday at Edgewood.

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 1, Madison 0
    at Edgewood

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Brookfield at Conneaut (1)
    Grand Valley at Berkshire (10)
    Chardon at Madison (DH, 11)
    Edgewood at Fairport (11)
    West Geauga at Riverside (11)

    April 19, 2014

  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video