“Consider the ladies”…as First Lady Abigail Adams wrote to her destined-to-be-second-U.S.-President John Adams when he was one of the patriots, politicos and visionaries laboring to write a constitution for the new nation, the United States of America.
Mrs. Adams didn’t have a whole lot of luck at influencing the direction that took but the James A. Garfield School District has been well-served by the ladies, as witnessed by this year’s Hall of Fame honorees, Jami Bray Mirka, ’83 and Sarah Thompson, ’98. Consider them :
Nineteen eighty, eighty-one, eighty-two and eighty-three saw the Lady G-Men riding high in both volleyball and basketball, securing regional qualifier status twice in volleyball (‘80&’81), sectional championships in volleyball (’80 & ’81) and basketball (’82-’83), district championships in volleyball in’80 and ’81, district qualification in basketball in ‘82-’83, county championships in volleyball in ’80, ’81 and ’82. Whew!
And one of the kingpins–er, queenpins?–of these teams (two other members have already been named to the HOF) was Jami Bray Mirka…who did not go unrecognized at the time. She was chosen for the all-county VB first team in ’81 and ’82, received honorable mention on the all-county BB team in’81-’82 as well as first team selection for ’82-’83. The Lady G-Men had 37 straight league victories in VB over a three-year period. Some ladies, huh? Jami earned three varsity letters in volleyball, four in basketball as a starter all four years. While all of this was going on, she was also serving as scorekeeper/statistician for boys’ sports–basketball, track, football.
She then shifted gears, so to speak, and attended the Ohio State University to take a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Economics; basketball and volleyball became intramurals pursuits. She has had work published (The title is looooong, as is anything in econ .or international relations.) and has served as a lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Campbell University. A stint at a Nature center in N.C might be considered another shift, a fun one. A husband and two daughters who are also avid volleyball players and fans have been part of the trip…a grand ride for a grand athlete!
Sarah Thompson saw the same kind of scenery on her athletic journey, dotted with varsity letters in volleyball(3), basketball(3) and softball(4), coach’s awards(3) an umpire’s award, a leadership award, first team selection for Div. III volleyball (’97) three PCL league championships(’95,’96,’97), one district championship (’95)one regional runner-up, one district runner-up spot, two sectional championships. Strong teamwork and outstanding talent across the board made the Lady G-Men a power to be reckoned with in the area; one of the sparkplugs and powerhouse players was Sarah. It didn’t hurt that she also played on the Ohio Bandits of the National Fastpitch Association. That team placed as national runners-up in 1995; Sarah took the Most Improved Player Award in 1997, the Player Appreciation Award in 1998. In 1999 she was named to the Ohio Bandits Hall of Fame. Then it was on to Lakeland Community College and more of the same.
Sarah was named NJCAA LCC Female Athlete of the Year in 1998-99, Most Valuable Player and NJCAA Region XII All-Tournament Team ,achieved a Region XII Division I Championship and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1999-00. This resume’ probably had something to do with her serving as assistant varsity softball coach at Ravenna H.S. in 2003.
Having received her associate’s degree from Lakeland in 2000, Sarah persevered in her academic track at Kent State University, securing a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies. She’s currently working as a neuro tech with Neurology & Neuroscience Associates…and a shortstop at the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company. Still a great team player.