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    Independence adds three to Hall of Fame


    On Friday, Feb. 14, the Independence Blue Devils will host the Berkshire Badgers in a Chagrin Valley Conference showdown.

    The Blue Devils also will welcome the three most recent additions to their Hall of Fame and a form induction ceremony and luncheon will be held on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1:00 p.m. in the Independence High School cafeteria.

    Independence’s Hall of Fame Class of 2019 includes Ryan Polman, Sam Stretar and Katherine DiGeronimo-Wohl.

    Class of 2012

    Ryan PolmanPolman earned four varsity letters in cross country, three in soccer, two in swimming and four in track and field.

    In cross country, he was named first-team All-Chagrin Valley Conference four times and earned the league’s MVP award twice. The two-time team captain was voted team MVP three times and ranks first all-time in the school with a 5K time of 15:19.

    Polman was named by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as its Runner of the Year in 2011. He won district championships in 2008 and 2011, regional championships in 2009 and 2011 and the OHSAA state title in 2009. He was a four-time first-team All-Ohioan and three-time Academic All-Ohioan.

    During Polman’s time on the trail, the Blue Devils won four conference championships, four district titles and two regional titles. His career was highlighted by state titles in 2009 and 2010 and a runner-up finish in 2011.

    Polman also finished in eighth place at the Midwest Regionals in Wisconsin and 28th at the national championship meet in San Diego.

    On the pitch, Polman twice was named all-conference and he earned a sportsmanship award in 2009. He was named second-team All-Greater Cleveland in 2008 and 2009.

    Polman’s success on the track was impressive.

    He holds the school record in the 3200-meter run and also set a record during the 2012 indoor state championships. A four-time All-CVC first-team honoree, Polman earned first-team All-Ohio honors in 2011 and 2012 and three indoor All-Ohian awards. He also was named the CVC’s Most Valuable Runner in 2011. Polman earned Academic All-Ohioan three times and he received an OHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award and a US Army Reserve National Scholar-Athlete Award in 2012.

    Polman went on to compete in both cross country and Track & Field at the University of Dayton and the University of Kentucky.

    Class of 2011

    Sam StretarStretar was a three-sport standout from 2009-2011. He earned four varsity letters in football, four in wrestling and one in track & field.

    As a quarterback and safety, Stretar earned first-team All-CVC honors in 2009 and 2010 and he received an Academic Athlete Award in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The team offensive player of the year in 2010, Stretar was a first-team Northeastern Lakes District selection who set school records in passing yard per game (254), passing yards in a career (3,297), rushing yards in a game (286) and combined passing/rushing yards in a career (6,133).

    Stretar was a team captain in the 2010 East-West All-Star Game.

    On the mat, Stretar reached the OHSAA state tournament in 2011 and also eclipsed the 100-win mark. He was first-team All-CVC once and second-team twice. He was named team captain in 2010 and 2011 and the team MVP in 2011.

    As a sprinter, Stretar collected a US Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award and the IHS Senior Athlete of the Year Award in 2011.

    Class of 2007

    Katherine DiGeronimo-WohlDiGeronimo-Wohl earned three letters in cross country, four in basketball and three in track & field.

    As a runner, DiGeronimo-Wohl became the first Independence female to punch her ticket to the state cross country meet. She ranks fourth on Independence’s leader board with a time of 20:15. She was named team MVP in 2004, team captain in 2005 and 2006 and first-team All-CVC in 2004 and 2006.

    She led the Independence basketball team to CVC championships in 2006 and 2007 and a MAC-8 title in 2005. She was named team captain in 2007 and second-team All-CVC in 2007.

    On the track, DiGeronimo-Wohl set a school record in the 3200-meter run and she was part of the 4×1600 relay team that set a school mark. She was named honorable mention All-CVC in 2006 and 2007.

    As a senior, DiGeronimo-Wohl earned a Babe Ruth Award, the OHSAA Archie Griffin Award and the IHS Senior Athlete of the Year award.

    Steve Hare
    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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