West Branch Hall of Fame
Class of 2019 Inductees
Bethany (Peterson) Baum is a 1997 graduate of West Branch High School and a 2007 graduate of the University of Akron. At West Branch, Bethany was a 3 year letter winner in volleyball and basketball. In volleyball, she was a 1st Team All-Conference and All-District selection. Upon graduation, she held three school records: Most kills in a game, most blocks in a season, and most blocks in a career. In basketball, Bethany was a 1st team All-Conference and District selection, as well as a 2nd Team All-Northeast Ohio selection. She was a member of the 1st State Final Four team in girls’ basketball history and she scored 26 points in the State Semi Final. At the time of graduation, Bethany held the school records for highest shooting percentage in a season and a career. Her greatest athletic honor was being able to play alongside her sister in both volleyball and basketball during her senior seasons. After West Branch, Bethany earned her degree at the University of Akron. She is a Senior Project Manager of Implementation for ADP where she oversees the migration of large clients to their Human Capital Management software. She and her husband, Brian, reside in North Canton where her husband is the head football coach for the North Canton Hoover Vikings. They are the proud parents of two sons, Brian and Blaine.
Mike Helm is a 1977 graduate of West Branch High School and a 1986 graduate of Youngstown State University. He also earned his Masters in Education at Ashland University. Mike has worn many different hats during his time at West Branch. He was a student/athlete for the Warriors, participating in Football and Wrestling where he was a 1977 State Qualifier. Then Mike transitioned to an Elementary and Middle School Math Teacher. He spent 36 years as a wrestling coach, 15 of those as the Warriors head coach where he had a stellar dual record of 194 wins and 41 losses. Mike coached the team to 7 Northeastern Buckeye Conference titles where he was the Coach of the Year 6 times, 12 EOWL Championship titles and 12 Coach of the Year awards. During his tenure, his teams were Sectional Champions 5 times, District Runners-Up once. He coached 43 Individual Sectional Champions, 6 District Champions, 35 State Qualifiers, 20 State Placers. Of those 20, 4 were State Runner Ups and 3 finished the season as State Champions. He was named the Division II Ohio High School Coach of the Year in 2012 and was inducted into the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 2018. Mike is currently the Warrior Academy Coordinator at West Branch High School. He and his wife Debbie live in Salem. He has 5 children, Kyle, Dana, Adam, Shane, and Stephanie and numerous grandchildren.
Cheryl Davies Ficco is a 2000 graduate of West Branch High School and a 2004 graduate of Muskingum University. She also earned her MBA from the University of Florida in 2010. As a student at West Branch, Cheryl was a 3 year letter winner in soccer and 2 year Captain. Her first letter was earned on the boys’ team prior to the start of the girls’ team. Upon graduation, Cheryl held records for: Goals Scored in a Game, Assists in a Season, Points in a Season, and Team Goals in a Season. She was a 1st Team All-District and County selection her senior year while also being named to the Academic All-Ohio team. Upon graduation, Cheryl continued her academic and athletic career at Muskingum University. She was a four year starter and 2 year captain for the Muskies. She finished her career second in career goals, points, and assists. She was inducted into the Muskingum Hall of Fame in 2014. Cheryl is currently the Lady Warrior Soccer coach at West Branch High School where she was been named the Conference Coach of the Year for two straight seasons and led the team to two Conference Championships. She and her husband Ryan reside in Canton and are the proud parents of Luke and Max.
Matt Rycraft is a 2001 graduate of West Branch High School and a 2005 graduate of Youngstown State University. While at West Branch, Matt was a stand out in Football and Track. He was the Mahoning County Champion in the 400 meters and the Warrior Invitational MVP his senior year. In football, Matt’s accolades include: 2 time Most Valuable Back for West Branch, 2 time 1st team all conference selection, and a 2 time Quad County 1st team all star. During his senior season, Matt was the Most Valuable Player for West Branch and for the Northeastern Buckeye Conference. He earned Player of the Year awards for the Salem News and the Northeast District. Matt was a 1st Team All-Ohio selection and was named MVP of the Penn-Ohio game. He also held the record for most touchdown passes in a season with 6 against Southeast. After West Branch, Matt attended YSU where he was a 3 year letter winner. He set the school record for most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback with 152 yds vs Western Illinois. Matt and his wife Tia currently live in Virginia with their 2 children, Lance and Camryn where Matt is the Director of Operations at the Volvo Group.
Tom Sanor is a 1999 graduate of West Branch High School and a 2003 graduate from Mount Union. During his time at West Branch, Tom was a member of the Football, Basketball, and Track teams. He was a three year letter winner in football where he was a 1st Team Conference and District Selection as well as Honorable Mention All-Ohio his senior year. He was a member of the Conference and Regional Championship teams in 1998 and finished with a career record of 27-6. At the time of graduation, Tom held school records for Receptions in a Game, which has since been broken and Touchdown Receptions in a Season which is still intact. He was a 3 year letter winner in Basketball. His senior season, Tom was co-captain, led the team in scoring, assists, steals, and free throw percentage while being named the Conference Player of the Year. Tom joined the track team his senior year, earning a letter, held the school record in the 4x200 relay and was a part of the Conference Champion track team. Tom is the Supervisor of Regional Operations for First Energy. He and his wife Lindsey live in Beloit with their two children, Jensen and Jaxon.
Class of 2018 Inductees
Justin Burton is a 1999 graduate of West Branch High School and a 2003 graduate of Mount Union. At West Branch, Justin was a three year letter winner and a three time All Conference NBC Selection in Football. He was named Defensive MVP of the NBC and Regional Championship team his senior year. He set 8 school records during his football career at West Branch, 6 of which still stand today: Quarterback sacks in a game, season, career and quarterback pressures in a game, season, and career. He was also a two year letterwinner and two year All Conference NBC Selection in Basketball and an All Conference NBC Selection in Track. After West Branch, Justin continued his academic and football careers at Mount Union. There he was a three year letter winner in football and was a member of 4 straight conference championship and three straight National championships. While in college, his teams had a record of 54-1 and Justin was named Defensive MVP of the 2002 National Championship Stagg Bowl. Justin currently is the Vice President of Business Development at Solid Waste and Recycling Services. He and his wife, Dana, live in Homeworth with their two children, Lara and Cade.
Sue Deas is a 1971 graduate of Western Reserve High School and a 1973 graduate of Mount Union. She also earned her Master’s Degree from Ashland University. Sue began her teaching career at West Branch in 1975. She served as the school’s head girls’ basketball coach for 6 years and also as the head girls’ track coach. In 1976 she started the West Branch Volleyball team and coached for 31 years before retiring from coaching in 2007. During her time as West Branch’s Volleyball coach she amassed numerous awards and accolades. Sue earned 21 Coach of the Year honors at various levels. Her teams won 2 NBC Championships, 21 Sectional Titles, and 8 District Runner-Up or Championship Titles. In 1987, Sue coached the State All-Star match and was named Coach of the Year for the State of Ohio. She was a member of numerous coaching organizations and was named to the Mount Union M Club Hall of Fame in 2007. Sue was inducted into the State Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005. Sue is retired. She and her husband Douglas have two children, Kyle and Ashley, and four grandchildren.
Rick Mulinix is a 1997 graduate of West Branch High School and a 2001 graduate of Mount Union. At West Branch, Rick was a two year letter winner in basketball and a 3 year letter winner in baseball. He was a two-time First Team All-NBC selection and was named NBC Player of the year in 1997. He broke the career and single season homerun records and was named 1st Team All-Ohio as a catcher. Following West Branch, Rick continued his baseball career at YSU before transferring and finishing his career at Mount Union. At Mount, he was a three time First Team All-OAC selection. He broke 10 school records. He still holds Mount records for career batting average, and career and single season stolen bases. He was named an NCAA All-American Catcher in 2001. Rick continued to play baseball for 18 seasons with the Canton Stallions where he was a part of 3 National Championships. He was inducted into the National Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Canton Amateur Sports’ Hall of Fame in 2017. Rick has been coaching varsity baseball for the past 17 years. He is currently a teacher at Leetonia Exempted Village School District and West Branch’s Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach. Rick and his wife Angie have two children, Boston and Hayden, and live in Beloit.
Marcia (Riesen) Phillis is a 1988 graduate of West Branch High School and a 1993 graduate of Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing. In 1996 she obtained her RN at Sharon Regional School of Nursing. While at West Branch, Marcia was a student at West Branch she lettered in 4 different sports. She is the third member of her family to enter the West Branch Hall of Fame following her two brothers. Marcia is a veteran of the United States Army Reserve. After serving 8 years, she was honorable discharged in August of 1997. Marcia is currently involved in nursing research. She spent the majority of her career in Labor and Delivery. Marcia is a member of First Christian Church and is the mother of four children, David, Daniel, Julie, and Jennifer.
John R. Yaggi is a 1963 graduate of West Branch High School. Following graduation, John worked as a general laborer and truck driver for T and W Forge for 43 years. He was a member of the Northeast Ohio Forestry Association, the Mile Branch Grange, and the Columbiana County Farm Bureau. He is also a member of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. John is a lifetime member of Bethel United Church of Christ where he has served as both Elder and Deacon. John has been a lifelong supporter of West Branch Athletics. He is the unspoken leader of the “Let’s Go Green” chant and never misses an opportunity to cheer on the Warriors! John and his wife, Beverly, live in Alliance and are the proud parents of 4 children, Margie, Jennifer, John, and Abby, all of whom are West Branch graduates.
Hall of Fame Committee
The General Committee will be comprised of one member of the Board of Education; the High School Principal; one long-term staff member or coach currently on the staff; a long-standing or retired faculty member; the Athletic Director; the President of the Alumni Association (or designee); the President of the Athletic Booster Club; the Superintendent (or designee); two at-large members selected by the High School Principal and Athletic Director who have demonstrated an interest or connection to West Branch athletics; and two at-large members selected by the President of the Board of Education.
The Chairperson of the General Committee shall be appointed by the Superintendent and approved by a simple majority of the general committee membership in attendance.
From this General Committee two subcommittees will be appointed. The Distinguished Alumni and Friends Selection Committee shall be comprised of a member of the Board of Education; a long-standing or retired faculty member; the President of the Alumni Association or designee; two at-large members selected by the President of the Board of Education; and the Superintendent or his designee. The Principal shall be a non-voting member of this committee.
Athletic Selection Committee shall be comprised of the High School Principal; Athletic Director; a long-term staff member or coach currently on the staff; the Athletic Booster Club President (or someone he appoints); and two at-large members selected by the High School Principal and Athletic Director who are residents of the community and who have shown a large interest in West Branch athletics.
The function of the Selection Committees (subcommittees) shall be to discuss possible candidates, review all nominations on file (old and new), nominate candidates, elect candidates, and develop a list of Hall of Fame prospects.
Current Committee Members
Christy Biery, Bill Butcher, Brian Coffee, Ellie Geiger, Bob McCosky, Larry Miller, Bruce Rohrer, Larry Romigh, Terry Romigh, Tom Thompson, John Wallace, Scott Weingart, and Joe Wilson.
Athletic Nomination Form
Community Nomination Form