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  Vulcans Get Record-Setter In Kicker Tommy Fryda  
  April 23, 2020 Edition  
     BY GREG GULAS
      Boardman News Sports
      bnews@zoominternet.net
      Boardman Spartans record-setting placekicker and punter, Tommy Fryda, has made it official by recently committing to California (Pa.) University where he will play football for the Vulcans beginning this fall.
      “California University has a great football program and they’ve done really well the past several seasons,” Fryda said. “I was impressed with the coaches during my visit, we built as great relationship and the campus was quite impressive as well.”
      Fryda earned four letters for the Spartans, playing for head coach Joe Ignazio during a scholastic career that culminated with him becoming the program’s all-time kick- scoring leader with 149 points.
      He also set the new program standard with 116 career extra points, 37 more than runner-up Andrew Good who was successful on 79 extra points from 2000-02, is tied for second with 35 extra-points in a season – he is tied with Mike Pollifrone, who registered 35 XP’s in 1985 while both are one behind Phil Curl, who converted 36 placements in 2007 – and is third overall with 11 career field goals.
      “I am extremely happy for Tommy and his family. I happened to connect with CU’s assistant coach Peter Davila, a former YSU football player under Jim Tressel who recruits our area right before the dead period,” Ignazio added. “He was a two-sport fall athlete who also had a tremendous basketball career.
      “He was Player of the Year in soccer then set records in football and basketball so he is a pretty special student-athlete. We have a saying that we use at Boardman that goes like this: “Standing in the presence of” and our young people respond by saying “Greatness.”
      “I am honored to have stood in the presence of Tommy’s greatness.”
      Fryda noted that the Vulcans had six kickers last season, only two return with one other kicking recruit that he must go up against if he expects to play as a freshman.
      “Head coach Gary Dunn said they could really use me,” Fryda stated. “He said I could be a weapon and all I am looking for is the opportunity to compete.”
      Fryda earned 10 total letters during a stellar scholastic career for the Spartans, four each in football and soccer, two in basketball while also playing baseball two years as well.
      He sports a 3.58 cumulative grade point average and hopes to major in environmental science at CU.
      With the coronavirus still wreaking havoc over the entire nation, Fryda said he’ll have to find an alternate means of practice before reporting to the Vulcans’ football camp on August 9, if the season starts on time or is even held this season.
      “The turf at the high school is now closed so I am confined to my house for the moment,” Fryda noted.
      “I will probably need to find a grass field that is open so that I can kick and punt, all the while just working hard and staying in shape.”
      As a member of head coach Eric Simione’s soccer team, Fryda helped the team to a 30-33-8 overall mark, including a 22-11-4 ledger his final two seasons.
      In 71 games played over his four-year career, he started 69 contests and played in all but one, the lone game that he missed coming during his sophomore season when Youngstown State University double-booked Stambaugh Stadium for both a Cardinal Mooney and an Ursuline football game.
      That forced the Spartans football contest with Ursuline to be moved to Thursday night, the same night the BHS soccer team was scheduled to play Warren Harding.
      “Tommy was a key component in building our record over the past four seasons,” said head soccer coach Eric Simione. “We graduated two large classes in the two years before he arrived, therefore there were many openings on the varsity roster his freshman year.
      “We had a small senior class that year and were very young and inexperienced, giving Tommy and a few other younger guys the chance to play varsity as freshmen and sophomores.”
      Fryda finished his soccer career with both 20-plus goals and assists.
      “The thing about Tommy, at least in soccer, is not necessarily the statistical numbers he has put up in terms of scoring but the timely significance of his goals,” Simione added. “I can go back to games against Canfield, Poland and North Canton Hoover when we really needed a goal. Tommy came through and if he didn’t do the scoring himself, he found a way to get the ball to a teammate who did.
      “This really all comes from the fact that along with being a skilled athlete, he is a competitor with a winning mentality and an astute understanding of the game plan and game time situations. He understands, both on the pitch and the hardwood, when to pass, when to shoot and when to roll the dice.
      “Few players have the guts to pull up on a fast break for a three-point shot or to launch the soccer ball from 40-45 yards out. Tommy doesn’t just have the guts to do it, he absolutely loves to do it.”
      In soccer, Fryda earned Division I first-team all-District and second-team all-All-American Conference Red Tier as a junior, following that up his senior season when he once again earned Division I first-team all-District and first-team all-AAC Red Tier laurels.
      Additionally, he was selected Division I District “Player of the Year,” leading to his selection to the Division I all-State and all-Great Lakes Region first teams, narrowly missing All-American status.
      “Most impressive to me is that all of these accolades are in addition to setting several school records and receiving similar honors in both football and basketball,” Simione stated. “Tommy has had the type of storybook senior season across three sports that most young men can’t even dream about and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving gentleman.
      “We will certainly miss him as our outside left midfielder next fall but we wish him the very best and are excited about what he will accomplish for the Vulcans over the next four years.”
      In basketball, Fryda played for head coach Pat Birch and helped the team to a 42-4 overall mark the past two seasons, the best two-year mark for the program since the early 1970’s.
      “I’m very excited for Tommy to continue his academic and athletic careers in college, a feat that not many kids get to say yet have the opportunity to choose from three sports that they played,” Birch noted. “He could just as easily be playing college soccer or basketball, he is that talented.”
      Fryda set the school record for triples in a single season with 61, accomplishing that feat last season as the team finished 22-2 overall.
      He finished the season averaging 10.5 points per contests, shot 47 percent from the 3-point line (61/130) and for his efforts was named first-team all-AAC and honorable mention Northeast Ohio Inland District.
      “Tommy has been a staple of our basketball program over the past four years,” Birch said. “As a freshman, he was a major contributor on a freshman team that lost only one game then as a sophomore, there were moments in the middle of the season when Tommy was perhaps the best player in the gym, days that made us consider bringing him up to varsity.
      “Unfortunately, he got sick for a couple weeks and it took him awhile to recover. As a junior, he was a significant player for us as he came off the bench to provide shooting and effort that made that team exceptionally deep. As a senior, he took his game and our team to another level.
      “He exploded early in the season during back-to-back games against Uniontown Lake and Cardinal Mooney and never looked back. He made nine three-pointers in those two games which helped propel him to the single season school record for 3’s.
      “Outside of missing Tommy’s shooting ability and consistent effort, we will miss him as a kid even more. He was a big part of our team chemistry as both a leader and sometime ‘team prankster,’ always helping to keep the team both focused and the mood light. I’m very proud of his accomplishments and equally excited to see him succeed at the next level.”
      He also played baseball two years for head coach Joe Gabriel.
      “Tommy Fryda is a great kid and a very tough competitor,” Gabriel added. “His work ethic is off the charts and he comes from a great family of athletes.”
      Fryda is the son of John and Marie Fryda, Boardman.
     
      PICTURED: TOMMY FRYDA, 80, kicks an extra point last fall out of the hold of Zach Ryan, in a game against the Ursuline Irish.
 
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