The Crestview Knights celebrate their State Championship win. (DHI Media/ File Photo/ Pat Agler)
The Crestview Knights celebrate their State Championship win. (DHI Media/ File Photo/ Pat Agler)

VAN WERT – Each year we take a look back at some of the top stories of the year.

As always, the Top 10 is subjective, but I do use a few tools to determine what the most important stories are for readers. First, I use our website’s analytics tool to see what stories were viewed the most. Then, I take a look at Facebook to see what stories had the most shares and comments. It’s important for me to include stories in this Top 10 that had the biggest impact on Van Wert – stories that mattered most to the community.

The Top 10 will run through New Year's Day. Here are stories #4 and #3:

#4 – Crestview basketball wins State, says goodbye to Coach Best

Convoy celebrated in March 2019 when the Crestview boys’ basketball team returned home with the Division IV State Championship. With a final score of 59-39, the Knights defeated Berlin Hiland, despite being second to them all season long in the Associated Press Poll.

All eight seniors (Javin Etzler, Wade Sheets, Drew Kline, Colton Lautzenheiser, Brant Richardson, Derick Dealey, Brock Stauffer, and Kole Small) along with Coach Jeremy Best took the podium after the win. The win was Best’s second championship in his 17 years of coaching the Knights.

Shortly after the season closed, Best announced his retirement. In his 17 years as Crestview’s head coach, he amassed 291 of his 314 career victories. His career highlights include two state championships (2014, 2019), one state runner-up trophy (2003), seven Northwest Conference, 10 sectional, four district, and three regional championships.

“Having the awesome responsibility of representing this community and program for the past 17 years has been life-changing,” said Best in April. “We have hung numbers, banners, and pictures on the walls. We even put two gold trophies in the case! But, what I will hold dearest in my heart are the lifelong relationships that my family and I have built with this special place. GO KNIGHTS!”

In May, Crestview announced 1991 Crestview graduate Doug Etzler as their new head coach. Etzler is Crestview’s all-time leading scorer and assists leader in the basketball program and went on to play at The Ohio State University after graduation.

#3 – Dog reunited with Tennessee family

A story that got a lot of attention in 2019 was that of 3-year-old coon hound Major. This story was the third-most viewed and shared story of 2019, which is why it landed so high on the Top 10.

In July, local residents were vacationing in Tennessee when they found what appeared to be a stray dog. After days of seeing the dog, they decided to bring him back to Ohio with them. The dog was passed around several times over the months before he finally made his way to Convoy resident Cacey Long.

From her experience as a shelter manager, Long felt leery of the dog’s story and took him to be checked for a microchip. It turned out the dog, who was being passed off as a 1-year-old Great Dane mix, was actually a 3-year-old coon hound named Major.

Long was able to get in contact with Major’s Tennessee family, who had been missing him for over five months. She and her family drove to Tennessee one evening to reunite the lost dog with his family.

Long then expressed the importance of making sure that animals are checked for microchips when found.

“People need to be educated and aware of microchipping because it really can help,” said Long earlier this month. “You can remove a tag, but it’s very hard to remove a microchip.”