Hiland coach Dave Schlabach experienced a wide array of emotions on Saturday. The veteran coach of the Lady Hawks was on top of the world Saturday night after his Lady Hawks dispatched the Lady Rockets of Maplewood to send Hiland to the state tournament for the 13th time in school history, 11th during his tenure as coach of the Hawks.
Earlier in the day, however, Schlabach felt the agony of defeat, as his son, freshman Brady Schlabach, and the Hiland boys were knocked off in overtime by River in the District championship game at Meadowbrook High School.
"You're a dad first," Schlabach said. "I know how he feels. Just like my players, he's invested a lot of time, and that loss sort of hurt. I'll remind him that he's a freshman and remember what that's like and let it soak in over the next three years. That first year's gone real fast.
"That was tough, especially with that good start, they just couldn't quite finish things up," Schlabach added.
Of course, what he went through with his son is nothing compared to what Waynedale wrestling coach Louie Stanley had to deal with, watching his son suffer an injury in district action that forced him to withdraw from the state tournament.
"That had to be really tough for him to go through," Schlabach said.
Schlabach says he feels like a parent to the kids he coaches.
"I'd hurt for these kids the same way if we should lose," Schlabach said. "I've got to come here and get these kids ready to play so we don't lose."
And the Hiland boys were on hand to celebrate the win with the girls.
"Our boys and girls programs always pull for each other no matter what," Schlabach said.
For the second straight year, Holmes County will be well-represented at the girls state championship this weekend as both the Lady Hawks of Hiland and the West Holmes Lady Knights will be back vying for a state crown.
Good luck to both teams as they try to etch their names into the history books.