The West Liberty-Salem Athletic Department recently inducted three new members into its Hall of Fame.
Emerson Brown was inducted as a contributor, Abbey Ledford-Thompson as an athlete and Wayne Ropp as an athlete.
Brown arrived in West Liberty in 1968 as the superintendent. He took an interest in the athletics programs, making key hires and attending events. In his 16 years with the school, he never missed a football or basketball game except when he attended the American Association of School Administrators conference. He served as timekeeper for the cross country team for many years and was the president of the OHSAA Board of Control in 1971. He also served on the Southwest District Athletic Board from 1967-1984. He managed the sectional boys golf tournament for 44 years and was the tournament manager for the girls sectional in its inaugural year of 2015.
Brown was inducted into the Mason High School Hall of Fame in 2007, having served at Mason prior to his term at WL-S. He graduated from New Madison High School in 1947 and played college baseball for Miami University before serving in the U.S. Army for two years. He currently resides in Bellefontaine, though he spent many winter seasons in Texas with his late wife, Lucy.
Ledford-Thompson graduated from West Liberty-Salem in 2010 with six varsity letters. She earned two in basketball and four in softball.
During her softball career, the Tigers were 109-12 and claimed four Ohio Heritage Conference titles. They were regional runner-up twice, made the state semifinals twice and were the state runner-up once. Ledford-Thompson was named to the All-Ohio list three times, won the team’s batting title and MVP award in all four seasons and was an all-area player of note.
Following her prep career, she played four seasons of softball for Kent State. She now teaches kindergarten at Graham and lives in Urbana with her husband Corey.
Ropp graduated from West Liberty-Salem in 1983 with nine varsity letters. He earned four in football.
In football, he rushed for 2,200 yards and was named to the all-league team offensively his sophomore year. He made the all-league defensive list his junior and senior year – at three different positions. He also shared the team’s MVP award his senior season.
In basketball, he averaged 11.3 rebounds per game his senior season and set a season record that stood for 23 years. He shared the team’s MVP award his senior season.
In baseball, Ropp hit .420 for his career and made the all-league team four times – the first player to ever do so. He was the Player of the Year in his senior season and also made the All-Ohio list. The 1981 squad that he participated on was the winningest team in school history until 2010 and during the four years that Ropp competed, the team won 84 games. He was the team’s MVP in both his junior and senior seasons.
Ropp played baseball for Urbana University upon his graduation and currently lives in rural West Liberty. He is the chief estimator for Humble Construction and is married to Beth with a son, Ryan.