NEW LEXINGTON – Five members will be inducted into New Lexington’s Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday during halftime of the football game with Tri-Valley.
Those individuals are Anthony Fondale, Jesse Combs, Fred Ansel, Chris Wolfe and Tony Martin.
The 1989 graduate lettered four year in wrestling and finished his career with a record of 106-18 with had 47 pins. He was a two-time state qualifier and district champion as well as a regional runnerup and a three-time MVL champion, Tri-Valley Invitational and New Lex Invitatonal champion.
Fondale thanked his parents, John and Barb Fondale, Coach Mike Halaiko, Assistant Coach Steve Fondale, and Jason Ardetto for all of their support throughout his high school years.
Jesse Combs II
The 1978 alum was born in Hazard, Kentucky in 1961 and moved with his family to New Lexington in 1967.
During his high school days, Combs excelled in football, basketball, and baseball, receiving numerous athletic awards and recognition. After graduating high school, Combs played baseball for the Junior and Senior Pioneers then went on to play collegiate baseball for David-Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Combs was the head coach of the New Lexington baseball team in 1993 then went on to become an assistant coach for Denison University from 1994-99.
The 1974 graduate was a three-sport athlete for four years, earning four letters in track and three in football and basketball. His freshman year he was on the 1970-71 AP State Champions and MVL Champion Football Team, and finished fifth in the district high jump. His sophomore year, he earned his football varsity letter and was honorable mention, All MVL and all Southeast Ohio, while the basketball team was a district finalist and the track team won the MVL as Ansel won the high jump.
Ansel’s junior year saw the Panthers win the MVL title, and he earned honorable mention All-Ohio as well as first team honors for Southeast Ohio and the MVL. In basketball, he was the team’s leading scorer, rebounder, and free throw shooter, and in track, he was the second highest scorer at the MVL meet with 29 points with wins in the high jump and long jump and a second in the discus.
New Lex also went 9-1 and won the MVL during Ansel’s senior year where again he was first team Southeast Ohio and MVL and was honorable mention All-Ohio. He also won the discus district title and was a state qualifier in the high jump and discus, as he placed sixth in the discus. He held the league discus record for several years and set the school record at the time in the discus and high jump.
The 1973 New Lexington alum continued a family tradition of playing football for the Panthers, as his three brothers and himself dawned the Orange and Black. He also won the Punt, Pass and Kick award as a very young boy. Wolfe was a letterman in baseball, track and football and also participated in basketball.
He was a member of National Honor Society and the recipient of the National Young Farmer Award. He was a player on the MVL Championship teams of 1969, 70, 71 and 72, earning three letters, and was on the Panthers’ state champions team in Class AA (UPI) in 1970. He was first team All-MVL in 1971 with an All-SEO Honorable mention in 1971. He was also a first team All-MVL offense running back in 1972 and an All-SEO guard his senior year. Wolfe also earned AP District honors in 1972 and was second team All-Ohio the same year.
Wolfe was was awarded a football scholarship to Ashland College and played under Coach Fred Martinelli where he was a two-year starter. He then walked on at Ohio State and was on the 1976 team which won the Big 10 Conference Championship. He then coached several sports in the school district from 1980-2003 and taught FFA for 27 years. He also established the Thomas and Letitia Wolfe Educational Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a graduating student.
The 1971 grad was a fullback on the 1970 State Championship team and threw the shot for the 1971 MVL track championship team. He lettered three years in football and track, while earning several accolades. In 1969, he achieved All SEO Honorable Mention and MVL Second Team Offense, and in 1970, he was All MVL, All SEO and Special Mention All-Ohio.
A knee injury prevented him from playing football for West Liberty. He went on to coach Biddy League Football for four years and served as the president of the PC Biddy League for two years.