On Saturday, December 30th the West Branch Local Schools inducted four more members into the West Branch Hall of Fame.  This years inductees were Nancy Penrod (represented below by Luke and Jake Davis), Brenden Wells, Justin Buttermore, and Melinda Trimmer Taylor.

A banquet was held at 4:00 PM in the High School cafeteria.  The new members were announced to the community in between the varsity girls and varsity boys basketball games against Canfield in the West Branch Fieldhouse.

Justin Buttermore, Class of 1993– Justin’s journey in the world of education and coaching is a testament to his passion for both fields. Born and raised in West Branch, he graduated from West Branch High School in 1993. During his high school years, Justin made a mark as a versatile athlete, earning two letters in football, two in basketball, and one in track. His leadership skills and commitment to excellence were evident as he served on the Student Council and was a proud member of the National Honor Society.

Post-graduation, Justin pursued higher education at Capital University, where he earned his degree in secondary education in 1997. His dedication to continuous learning led him to the American College of Education, where he obtained his Masters degree in 2015.

In his high school days, Justin’s athletic prowess garnered him all-league honors in both football and basketball. He captained the basketball team during his senior year and was part of two League Championship football teams and one League Championship basketball team, both advancing to the regional finals.

Justin began his coaching career as a graduate assistant football coach at Clarion University in 1997. The following year, he embarked on his teaching and coaching journey at Hilliard Davidson High School, where he spent five impactful years.

In 2004, Justin assumed the position of head coach and teacher at Tri-Valley High School, a role he held for an impressive 14 seasons. Under his guidance, the team achieved remarkable success, winning nine league titles and making 10 playoff appearances. Justin left Tri-Valley with a remarkable record of 124 wins and 38 losses, establishing himself as the winningest coach in school history.

The pinnacle of his coaching career at Tri-Valley was in 2017 when they became regional champions and finished as state runners-up in Division III. In 2018, Justin moved on to Granville High School, where he continued to achieve success with a 20-4 record and two league titles.

Since 2020, Justin has been the Head Coach at Upper Arlington High School, where he has already made a significant impact. Under his leadership, the team has won 30 games and lost 10, securing two league titles. In 2021, Upper Arlington High School won their first regional championship in 20 years, narrowly missing out on the state title against eventual champions St. Edwards.

Throughout his coaching career, Justin has amassed an impressive overall record of 174-51, earning league Coach of the Year honors 12 times. He was recognized as the 2006 Division III OHSAA Coach of the Year and Division I Coach of the Year in 2021.

Justin’s decision to become a teacher and coach was deeply influenced by the mentors and role models he encountered at West Branch High School. Justin married Abby Buttermore (formerly Abby Doak), also a West Branch graduate. Together, they have two sons—Bo, currently serving as an assistant coach at the University of Toledo, and Doak, a sophomore at Ohio University majoring in Business Finance. The family is completed by their daughter, a current senior at Upper Arlington High School

Melinda Trimmer Taylor, Class of 2015– Melinda Taylor, a distinguished individual and athlete, traces her roots back to West Branch, where she graduated in 2015 with an outstanding academic and athletic record. During her high school years, Melinda showcased her exceptional skills on both the basketball court and soccer field, earning a well-deserved reputation as a four-year letter winner in both sports.

In the sport of basketball, Melinda’s leadership qualities were evident as she was selected as the team captain twice. Her prowess is etched in the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) record book, where she holds an impressive eight entries, including career assists (800), season assists (262), assists in a game (19), games played (107), season free throw percentage (83%), and consecutive free throws made (36). Her senior year achievements were particularly remarkable, earning her the title of Northeast Inland District Player of the Year and Ohio Division II Co-Player of the Year. Melinda also secured a spot on the 1st team all-Ohio and was named Player of the Year twice in her four-time 1st team all-league selections.

On the soccer field, Melinda earned four letters and demonstrated her leadership skills as a two-time captain. Her consistent performance led to four consecutive 1st team all-league selections and three appearances as an All-District member.

Melinda’s athletic prowess did not end with high school. She continued her academic and basketball journey at Youngstown State University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2019. During her time at YSU, she set records for consecutive free throws made (35), single-season Assist to Turnover Ratio (2.23), and single-season free throw percentage (94.8%).

Following her undergraduate success, Melinda pursued her passion for medicine at the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. Throughout her medical school journey, she consistently received Academic Honors and became a proud member of esteemed organizations such as the Sigma Sigma Phi Honor Society, American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Medical Women’s Association.

In her personal life, Melinda is happily married to Beau Taylor, and together they have a son named Roman. They have chosen to make their home in North Canton, Ohio, where Melinda’s legacy continues to inspire those around her, both in the medical field and within her community.

Brenden Wells, Class of 2013– Brenden, a proud West Branch High School graduate of the class of 2013, carved his name into the annals of his alma mater’s sports history with an exceptional athletic career that spanned both football and baseball.

In football, Brenden’s prowess was unmatched, earning him the distinction of being a four-year letter winner. His legacy is etched in the record books, with career statistics that still stand as a testament to his skill and determination. Notably, he holds records for Career rushing yards (3,747), Career touchdowns (44), Career points (264), and the most rushing yards in a single game. His on-field achievements have become an inspiration for aspiring athletes at West Branch.

On the baseball diamond, Brenden’s star continued to shine brightly. A two-time 1st team All-Ohio selection in 2011 and 2013, he was named the NBC Player of the Year in 2013. His consistent excellence earned him a spot on the first team of the NBC three times. The record books bear witness to his incredible achievements in baseball, including season and career records for triples, stolen bases, hits, and runs scored. His 29 career triples and 102 stolen bases place him among the all-time greats in the state of Ohio.

Post high school, Brenden’s journey continued at Marshall University, where he earned an athletic scholarship. In 2017, he transferred to Malone University, where he played four remarkable seasons. His impact was felt in every game, leading the team in batting average for three seasons and becoming Malone’s career leader in triples with an impressive 16. In his senior year, he topped the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in hits with 70.

Brenden’s contributions to Malone University earned him two-time All-League Second Team selections and the distinction of being named Player of the Week twice during his collegiate career. His dedication to the game and exemplary performance have left an indelible mark on the university’s baseball program.

Currently residing in Beloit, Brenden has found professional success at Wally Armour Auto Group. His journey from West Branch to collegiate stardom is a testament to his dedication, skill, and passion for the sports that have shaped his life. Brenden continues to be a source of pride for his community and an inspiration for aspiring athletes.

Nancy Penrod,– Nancy Penrod was a 1970 graduate of Salem High School.  She also received her Bachelors Degree in Education from Bowling Green State University in 1974. Nancy served as a teacher in the West Branch School District for 33 years where she earned the Golden Apple award and was twice honored at the Top 10% banquet. After her retirement from West Branch she served as a math coach at Lisbon then as an employee of the Salem Public Library.

Nancy gave back to the school and the community in so many different ways. She was a member of the Sebring American Legion Youth Foundation which provides scholarships to Sebring and West Branch students. She also was a member of the West Branch Education Association where she sat on several negotiation committees and served as the Associations secretary for many years. At Knox she was the secretary of the PTO and helped with the Knox Share-a-Christmas.

Where Nancy really stood out was the work she did with the West Branch Booster Club. She served as the booster treasurer for years, sold 50/50 tickets at football games and sat on the Scholarship committee. If you wanted to find Nancy on a Thursday night you would have to go to the Bingo hall. She was there from the beginning of Booster Bingo and helped for 28 years.

*Contributed By Ryan Wolf at wbathletics.org