Bellaire High grad reaps N.H. awards

FROM STANDOUT athlete to award-winning coach.

Such is the saga of Emily (Fetters) Blahnik.

She was graduated from Bellaire High School in 1996. During her Big Reds’ tenure, Blahnik carved out a sparkling athletic career.

She was a four-year lettermen in cross country, basketball and track.

Blahnik’s many athletic achievements however, pale in comparison in what she is compiling as a prep coach.

She is head coach in three sports at Bedford High School in Bedford, N.H., guiding the school’s cross country, winter indoor track and spring outdoor track teams.

Bedford High has only been in existence four years and Blahnik has been its only girls’ coach in those sports during that time.

The school has some 1,200 students. She is a pre-school teacher while hubby Craig Blahnik is a high school biology teacher.

Emily directed Bedford’s girls to a third place team finish in the New Hampshire state cross country meet.

A week later, her squad was runner-up in the NHIAA Meet of Champions, which consists of the four top teams and a number of individuals in each class.

The cross country success did not end there. Blahnik’s harriers proceeded to chalk up ninth place out of 30 teams in the New England Cross Country meet. Six states were involved in the meet.

Her team’s success translated into some impressive honors for the former Big Red.

Emily was named the New Hampshire Cross Country Coach of the Year.

Wintertime brought more success Bedford High’s way.

Emily’s indoor girls’ track team was the NHIAA state champions. Once again Emily was name the state’s coach of the year.

Blahnik capped a dream athletic year at Bedford on May 26. Her outdoor girls’ track team was state runner-up.

Emily’s dad, Lee, was former cross country coach at Bellaire High and assistant track coach.


ALTHOUGH HE didn’t emerge as the champion, Marcus Clark handled himself in championship fashion at the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C. The Martins Ferry seventh-grader-to-be processed his words correctly on stage with poise and confidence. We extend our congratulations to Marcus for a job well done.

MARTINS FERRY will play host to the Belmont County Commissioners and a Town Hall-style meeting on Thursday, June 14. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Veterans’ Memorial Recreation Center, located at 401 South Fourth St. The public is encouraged to attend.

THE OHIO State Highway Patrol experienced a busy Memorial Day weekend.

Patrol traffic stops increased more than 13 percent – OVI arrests increased nearly 2 percent and drug arrests were up nearly 15 percent. In addition, 11 people lost their lives over the weekend — a four-year low for the reporting period. The State Patrol made 19,919 non-enforcement contacts, of which 5,960 were to assist motorists.

I MUST commend the Bellaire VFW, DAV and American Legion for their combined efforts in once again putting on a moving and well-attended Memorial Day service Monday. One of the neat sidelights of the Bellaire event each year is the participation of the Grim Reapers motorcycle crew. Eleven of the Grim Reapers in attendance were US veterans.

IT’S A foregone conclusion that Mitt Romney and President Obama will be vying in November’s run for the White House. Figures released this weekend didn’t embrace either with voters. Higher unemployment and less job creation damaged Obama. It was also noted that Romney is worth $250 million. That is tough to swallow for the average Joe.

THE BARNESVILLE Satellite Office of the Belmont County Veterans Service Commission will be closed June 5 & 7 and will reopen June 12. All service officers will be attending national training June 4-8. The main office in Bellaire will be open to schedule transportation and to file financial assistance requests, but no VA claims can be filed during this week. Anyone needing to file a claim is asked to do so during the week of June 11.

Any questions, call the main office at 740-325-1042 or toll free at 1-877-316-0385.

WE HAVE received several coal-related/Bob Murray letters. Some were pro-Murray, other anti-Murray. Each side presented facts that differed greatly from their opponents. Some were anti-Obama while others anti-Republican.

But many became personal attacks. That doesn’t work. We had to pull the plug on many coal-fired letters. We want your letters, minus personal attacks.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader