In recognition of his 26 years of service to the Batavia wrestling program on all levels, the Batavia Wrestling Invitational Tournament will now also be known as the Steve Shinkle Invitational.
Shinkle, an industrial technology instructor, will be retiring from the Batavia Local School District at the conclusion of the 2006-07 school year.
Shinkle actually began his wrestling career as a Bulldog varsity wrestler. The 1973 BHS graduate was the champion of the 98-pound weight class in the 1972 Clermont County League Tournament that took place at New Richmond High School. He became just the second Bulldog to win a CCL crown (the first was Bill Allen who won the 112-pound weight class in the 1969 CCL tourney that took place at Amelia High School).
Former Batavia head wrestling coach and athletic director Dennis Wells recalled, “Jack Maddox was the superintendent at the time I was hired as the head wrestling coach and he asked me about Steve coaching, too. I told him to absolutely hire Steve. He began by building the junior high program and moved up to the high school with that first group.”
"I could not have built the program without him. We were a great team. He is a great coach and a great friend. He's 100 percent wrestling. He has been instrumental in the kids wrestling club, junior high wrestling, a wrestling official, a tournament manager at our invitational and when we used to have the sectional tournament."
Terry Sheehan is the present athletic director at Batavia High School. He said, "In all of my years around schools and sports it is very rare to find someone like Steve Shinkle. Someone who will start a program and stay with it and actually add to it and make it better.
"He will be deeply missed when he retires because he has done so much in many areas in this school district.
"He is very much respected for his work in wrestling all over southwest Ohio."
Wells said, "I think the world of him. He has loved not just the wrestlers, but all of the kids who have gone to school at Batavia...Working with him has been phenomenal and rewarding."
Jan. 13 will mark the 20th anniversary of a national record being achieved at the Batavia Invitational.
Larry Smith, Batavia senior 119-pound wrestler, pinned his stunned opponent in just four seconds. It is recorded in the national high school wrestling records as the fastest pin ever reported in the nation in that weight class.
"I did a heel pick and moved forward and the guy just naturally fell on his back," Smith recalled. "The only sound I heard was the whistle and the ref's hand hitting the mat."
"Larry did a heel pick and the guy went right to his back and (referee) Ralph Farmer was right there to call it," said Dennis Wells, Batavia head mat coach at the time. He recalls jokingly asking Smith immediately after "what took you so long?"
Farmer remembers checking the pin time with the timer of the match and could not believe how quickly the match ended.
"I feel good about this and the fact that it was a nationwide accomplishment," Smith said.
"I'm gonna miss all of this. I will definitely stay involved, but not at the level I am now," said Shinkle.
"I've considered all of the wrestlers through the years as my kids. I couldn't have asked for a better family and friends than my kids."