Another new year is only four days away. Before hanging a new calendar, however, these 10 stories from 2008 are worth revisiting:

Another new year is only four days away. Before hanging a new calendar, however, these 10 stories from 2008 are worth revisiting:

1 A SURPRISING TITLE RUN -- Winning a state title is one thing, dominating a state tournament quite another.

But on March 14-15 at Ohio State, the Newark High School boys basketball team did just that with an impressive two-game performance and a run to the Division I state championship. The Wildcats defeated Lakewood St. Edward 65-52 in the final before an announced crowd of 12,465, including a vocal section of Newark fans.

"Man, they were great weren't they?" Dane Kopp said during the celebration that followed on the court. "Sometimes it felt like we were playing at home."

Seeded sixth for the district tournament but hardened by a regular-season schedule that included the likes of eventual Division II state-champion Chillicothe and B.J. Mullens-led Canal Winchester, the Wildcats didn't even win the OCC-Ohio Division. They were runner-up to Hilliard Darby, which settled the issue with a 54-49 victory in the second round of league play Jan. 18.

Newark never lost again to finish with 14 consecutive victories and a 24-4 record, capturing a fourth state title but first since 1943.

"Once we won the district we knew we had a shot to win state," said graduate Greg Avery, who earned ThisWeek Athlete of the Year honors for a second time.

The Wildcats rallied past Zanesville 53-48 in the district final, and a 20-2 run in the second half helped eliminate Trotwood Madison 70-64 in a regional semifinal. A 62-57 come-from-behind win over Westerville South in the final then sent the Wildcats to the state tournament for the first time since 1981.

There, Newark clearly was at its postseason best.

It raced past Toledo Whitmer 63-44 in a semifinal to advance to the title game for the first time since 1953. That day began early for coach Jeff Quackenbush, whose son, Jacoby Edward, was born at 1:41 a.m.

"This is just icing on the cake," Quackenbush said of the semifinal victory, one in which Cody Dennison scored a career-high 22 points and the Wildcats never trailed again after falling behind 1-0.

St. Edward put up a better fight but only for a short time. Avery's layup provided an 8-7 advantage the Wildcats never relinquished just 3 minutes, 4 seconds into the game.

The Wildcats won eight postseason games by an average margin of 18.5 points, pushing their all-time victory total to 1,418, which at the time ranked third behind Canton McKinley (1,732) and Archbold (1,456). It was Licking County's 12th state team title this decade and fourth in less than a calendar year.

Avery, a 6-4 swingman, now plays for Western Carolina. He departed as Newark's fourth-highest career scorer (1,131 points).

"I'm just so happy for our kids, for our community and for our school," Quackenbush said. "I've said before these guys are playing for the entire town."

2 FINALLY, LANCERS CAPTURE FIRST STATE TITLE -- Perhaps no central Ohio softball team this decade has been as successful as Lakewood, but a state runner-up finish in Division II in 2002 was the most the Lancers had to show for their efforts until June 7.

On that day they exorcised plenty of demons with a 5-3 victory over Wellington in the Division III state final in Firestone Stadium in Akron, finishing 32-2. Even that didn't come easy, however.

Seemingly on cruise control after taking a 5-0 lead in the third inning, the Lancers struggled to get the final outs as Wellington scored twice in the fifth and added another run in the sixth. The Dukes put runners at first and third in the seventh, too, before pitcher Alissa Birkhimer ended the threat to give Lakewood its first state team championship in a girls sport.

"I was pacing pretty good there," coach Criss Nadolson said.

The Lancers had the added pressure of being ranked first in the state poll throughout the regular season, one that included an early 11-1 victory over Granville when it was first in the Division II poll.

"The way we stayed cool through the whole tournament and the whole season, I'm amazed," graduate Lindsay Barrett said.

A 5-0 victory over Bloomdale Elmwood in a state semifinal was delayed nearly two hours because two earlier games went into extra innings. It was a good thing, too, because the wrong bus showed up to pick up the Lancers and then the right one wouldn't start after a lunch stop in New Philadelphia.

Birkhimer, who earlier in the week was diagnosed with strep throat, pitched a one-hitter and got the only run she needed when Emily Voehringer scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded in the third.

"There was one practice I did sit out," said Birkhimer, who for a second time was named ThisWeek Athlete of the Year. "I was taking care of myself lying home all day, taking medicine."

Barrett, a four-year starting catcher who signed with Wright State, hit a two-run home run in the third inning during the final and the five-run rally also included Voehringer's two-run double.

The Lancers, who ousted two-time defending state-champion Bloom-Carroll on Megan Swiantek's three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning in a district final, have won 174 games since Nadolson became coach in 2002, averaging nearly 25 per season.

"None of them is any sweeter than this one, though," he said.

3 KLEIN CAPS RECORD CAREER --To say that Licking Valley football coach Randy Baughman's first Ohio State recruit is one of the best football players ever produced in Licking County isn't over-reaching.

Storm Klein has a pair of Central District career records to prove as much. A four-year starting tailback who made a verbal commitment to join the Buckeyes as a linebacker before even playing a down on defense at the prep level, he rushed for 6,303 yards and 99 touchdowns.

"About the only people who have been able to stop Storm is us coaches," Baughman said. "This year especially, we've tried to limit his carries. Otherwise, I think he'd have put up astronomical numbers."

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior was playing in his 50th and final game when the Panthers lost to Eastmoor 14-10 in a Division III state semifinal Nov. 22 in Gahanna to finish 12-2.

With Klein on their roster, the Panthers compiled a 43-7 record and won all 28 MSL-Ohio Division games. His junior year was his best defensively and he played in part of the 2007 state final -- a 17-10 loss to Big Walnut -- with a lacerated kidney.

4 SAY IT AIN'T SO -- A state baseball tournament without a Licking County representative just doesn't sound right, but that was the case last spring. Newark Catholic in Division IV and Heath in Division III came close but lost in regional finals.

The defending state-champion Bulldogs squandered a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning as Hamilton Badin prevailed 4-3 on May 30 at Wright State. Heath finished 26-5.

The Green Wave finished 22-7 after a 5-2 loss to Berlin Hiland on the same day in Lancaster.

All told, three Licking County schools have combined to win 11 state titles, and seven of those came this decade.

The Bulldogs' run in 2007 gave the county a state champion in a sixth consecutive season, but last spring marked the first time since 1999 the area did not advance a team to the state tournament.

5 SAY IT AIN'T SO THE SEQUEL -- Just one year removed from the Division VI state championship, Newark Catholic's football team started 3-0 but finished 6-4 and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1996 and only the seventh time since the postseason began in 1972. The Green Wave, which finished ninth in Region 23 with the top eight qualifying, has been to the playoffs a state-record 30 times.

6 GLASER CAPS AMAZING COMEBACK --Six years after a devastating motorcycle accident cost her the lower part of her left leg and nearly ended her life, Lakewood senior Kara Glaser triumphantly concluded an athletic career few thought possible when she participated in the inaugural Division II sectional girls golf tournament Sept. 23 at Foxfire Golf Club in Lockbourne.

She helped form the Lancers' first team a year earlier and played two full seasons wearing a prosthetic attached just below the knee. She never asked for sympathy, nor did she ask for help navigating courses even if OHSAA rules would have allowed for her use of a riding cart.

"My coach (Phil Sikorski) made me use a pull-cart last year," Glaser said. "I didn't like that, and I've never even been tempted (to use a riding cart), really. I didn't want to be off by myself in a cart. I always wanted to enjoy the company of the other players."

Glaser, who helped the Lancers to a runner-up finish behind Logan Elm last season in the MSL, became a leader both on and off the course.

"When I needed something I always went to her," Sikorski said. "She has the pulse of everybody."

Glaser, 11 years old and in the sixth grade at the time, was riding with her father, James, on his motorcycle when it was hit by a car on U.S. Route 40 west of Kirkersville on Sept. 5, 2002. She spent the next three weeks at Children's Hospital in Columbus and nine months on crutches. There were multiple operations, and she also re-broke her left femur bone sometime later.

Her life soon resumed with some semblance of normalcy, however, thanks in part to her humorous side.

"When you first meet her she's like, 'Hi, I'm Kara. I have a fake leg," classmate Karen Bates said.

Fate clearly has steered Glaser's life.

A lust for life enabled her to accept and even embrace becoming a role model.

"Her attitude is awesome," classmate Katie Warthen said. "She's awesome."

7 BACK FOR MORE? --The Babe Ruth 16-18 years old World Series was held Aug. 7-15 at Don Edwards Park in Newark, marking the fifth time the event was played at the organization's national complex since it returned to the area in 2004. Portland, Ore., won the title.

Officials have said they wanted Newark to be the permanent host city. Ongoing troubles within the Host Family Program and asking the same sponsors for financial backing every year has taken a toll, however. The World Series will not be played in Newark in 2009.

"It's just become too difficult," said Dave Froelich, who is director of special events for Babe Ruth League.

Event organizers and a newly-formed Newark City Council committee are working to bring the World Series back in 2010.

8 CLOSE BUT NOT QUITE ENOUGH -- Several other schools advanced teams to state tournaments but came up short in their respective title bids.

The Granville boys golf team finished third at the Division II state tournament Oct. 10-11 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course. The Newark Catholic girls volleyball team in Division IV and the Licking Valley football team in Division III reached state semifinals.

Individually, no area athletes won state titles but a slew of high finishes was highlighted by Newark Catholic's Marcus Baker, another ThisWeek Athlete of the Year, who placed third in the boys 200 meters at the Division III state track and field meet June 6-7 at Ohio State. He qualified in three events and also anchored the 800 relay's third-place showing.

9 GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN -- Robin Drumm, an assistant wrestling coach at Heath, suffered a fatal heart attack after watching his son, Travis, compete at the Stitchco Classic on Jan. 4 in Coshocton. The Bulldogs eventually sent their first qualifier to the Division III state tournament, where Dom Barlow placed fourth at 103 pounds.

The annual Heath Invitational has been renamed in Robin Drumm's honor.

10 SHINING AT THE SHRINE -- Classic Trophy of Southwest Licking defeated Don Duvall Auctioneer 11-2 in the final to win the Varsity Division title at the Licking County Shrine Baseball Tournament, which concluded July 10 at Mound City Baseball Park.

A day earlier, Dan's Family Pizza of North Newark captured the Farm Division championship by defeating CoCo Key 4-1 in the final.

"This is fantastic. It's what we're been shooting for all year," Dan's coach Tracy Johnson said. "We're ready to go have a big party."