A Look Back At 2013-14 In ECC Sports

06/08/2014

The 2013-2014 school year featured numerous highlights around the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.  First and foremost, congratulations to Loveland High School for capturing the All-Sports Trophy for the second consecutive year.  The Tigers outdistanced runner-up Turpin by nearly nine points, winning five Conference titles in football, boys' golf, girls' soccer, wrestling, and boys' track.  Despite finishing third in the All-Sports Trophy standings, Walnut Hills collected seven team titles (girls' cross country, girls' tennis, academic competition, boys' basketball, girls' basketball, boys' swimming, and girls' track).  Turpin captured four ECC titles (boys' soccer, boys' basketball, girls' swimming, and boys' tennis); Milford three (girls' golf, baseball, and softball); Kings two (boys' cross country and boys' basketball); Glen Este two (boys' and girls' bowling), and Anderson one (baseball).  

One team State championship and a pair of individual State titles were captured by the ECC.  Loveland won the Division II State title in football, defeating Glenville 41-23 on December 6, to win the school's first-ever State championship.  The Tigers rushed for over 300 yards in the championship game and finished the season with a perfect 15-0 record under head coach Fred Cranford.  Anderson's Hassler Carroll won a State title in swimming, winning the 500 Freestyle in a time of 4:30.23 on February 22.  The senior also finished tenth in the State in the 200 Individual Medley and was a member of the Redskins' 200 Freestyle Relay.  Andrew Alten won a State title in wrestling, bringing home gold in the 285-pound weight class on March 1.  The senior was named Wrestler of the Year by the Enquirer and a finalists for the LaRosa's MVP of the Year award. He was also an All-State performer on the Tigers' State championship football squad.  Walnut Hills represented the ECC well by advancing to the Ohio Academic Competition State tournament in May.

Other significant individual accomplishments from the fall sports season included Loveland's Luke Waddell being named to the MaxPreps Freshman All-American football squad.  Luke rushed for nearly 1600 yards and accounted for 20 total touchdowns for the Tigers. Nate Slagel, who was injured in week eight, was named AP Division II State Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for over 1000 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns in those eight games.  The Tigers' Charlie Lawler and Brian Popp, along with Walnut Hills' Nilijah Ballew and Anderson's Josh Correll also earned All-State honors in football.  Brian was a finalist for the "That's My Boy Award," recognizing not only football achievements, but also academic excellence and community service.  Glen Este's Tyler Flanigan hauled in eight receptions for 168 yards and three touchdowns in the annual East-West All-Star football game held June 12 at Kings.  Kings' Amina Ismail earned All-State honors in tennis.  She earned Conference and District championships, as well as a Sectional runner-up, before moving on to the State Championships for the Lady Knights.  She was the third member of her family to make it to State!  Five ECC players earned All-State honors in soccer.  Milford's Thomas Moore and Turpin's Trevor Thompson each earned All-State honors in boys' soccer.  Loveland's Sydney Dudley, Turpin's Payton Atkins, and Walnut Hills' Alexis Kiehl earned All-State recognition in girls' soccer.  Even though water polo is not an OHSAA-recognized sport, Milford's Josh Fritz (boys) and Carolyn Storch and Lindsey Bugajski earned All-State honors.

In winter sports action, Walnut Hills' MaCio Teague and Turpin's Zach McCormick each earned All-Ohio recognition in boys' basketball.  Glen Este's girls' bowling squad and head coach Kathy Demarko had a great season on its way to the State Tournament, led by All-State recipient and Enquirer Bowler of the Year Leslie Campbell.  Leslie placed fifth overall at State and was named to the All-State First Team.  Amazingly, nearly thirty ECC swimmers advanced to the State Swim Meet (not to mention Anderson's Evan Leupen in diving).  In addition to Hassler Carroll’s State Title, the girls also fared well, led by Kings’Megan Sichterman who finished fourth in the 100 Fly and Turpin's Shaylynn Spelman who placed sixth in the 500 Free.   

The spring sports season featured US Lacrosse All-American honors for Loveland's Tanner Griffin and Brian McElveen, as well as Brine National All-American honors for Walnut Hills' lacrosse standout C. J. Hughes.  All-State recognition went to baseball standouts Zack Shannon (Anderson) and Andrew Minton and Kyle Ruehlman (Milford).  Milford's Kayla Gregory earned All-Ohio honors in softball for the second consecutive year.  In girls' track, Walnut Hills' Chelsea Carpenter finish fourth in the discus and fifth in the shot at the State Track Meet.  Teammates Taylor Darks (fifth in the 400 meters) and Arissa Freeman (seventh in the 100 meters) also scored in the State Meet for the Lady Eagles.  In lacrosse, Loveland's Hannah Bellamah earned All-Ohio honors for the Lady Tigers; while on the boys' side, the Tigers' Brian McElveen, Corey Costonas, Tanner Griffin, and Mac Mather also earned All-Ohio recognition.

Congratulations to Loveland's Molly Kessler and Walnut Hills' Emily Roemhild and Ishmael Carter who were outstanding on and off the field.  They were Marvin Lewis Community Fund Scholarship winners.  Worth mentioning that there were six winners and the ECC had three of them!

The individual accomplishments weren't limited to our athletes either.  Kings' Phil Poggi and Walnut Hills' Tom Donnelly were named as Athletic Directors of the Year by the Southwest Ohio Athletic Directors Association!  And how about Loveland softball coach Michael Rapp earning his 400th career victory in May.

Each ECC school had memorable stories throughout the year, so it's difficult to mention all of them.  One that deserves mentioning is that of Anderson's Grant Wethington, who returned to swim for the Redskins after an eight-hour spinal fusion surgery.  Another is Milford's Michael Swenson.  Michael suffers from Stargardt disease and plays volleyball despite being legally blind.  How about Madison Temple's determined vow to return next year to the Lady Redskins' basketball squad despite having to rehab her second ACL surgery she suffered in late January.  Milford's Bridget Rheude knows all too well about that type of rehab.  She returned to the court after a year of rehab for the same ACL-type surgery to lead the Conference in assists this winter.  Or Turpin's Rebecca Swertfeger, who overcame Tommy John surgery in August to compete as a member of the Lady Spartans' gymnastics team during the winter.  And there's Zach Bryant from Milford.  All he did was sign to kick for Thomas More University despite having a pacemaker installed in his heart his junior year.  Or Milford's boys' and girls' soccer teams hosting a pair of collection drives of food and used soccer equipment to give back to the community locally, as well as globally.  Or Anderson's and Turpin's volleyball squads coming together to host a huge Volley for the Cure event, as did so many of our Conference schools.  Or Loveland's boys' lacrosse squad helping an area school by sponsoring a Book Drive in May, complete with four freshmen team members making a presentation to executives with Scripps Foundation resulting in the initial $2000 toward the Drive.

Maybe we should mention one of those, "Are you kidding me?" moments, when Loveland girls' golfer Terra Brulport and boys' golfer Austin Osborne each recorded a hole-in-one on September 4 while playing at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center in Mason.  Or one of those, "Why are they so good?" moments, when Coach Andy Wolf's Anderson cross country runners hit the pavement at 5:45 in the morning for practice.  Or one of those, "Let us not forget" moments, when both Glen Este (Jason Ellis) and Turpin (Patrick Fox) remembered two of their own by holding special ceremonies this year.

Hats off to all of our athletes, cheerleaders, coaches, athletic directors, administrators, teachers, parents, custodians, and spectators who made the year so successful.  As we look forward to next year, let's wish the best of luck to our 120 or so (and growing) athletes who have committed to continue their athletic careers in college next year.  In addition, the Conference is excited to welcome Withrow High School into the Eastern Cincinnati Conference this fall.  With the school's rich athletic history, the Tigers are sure to bring a great deal of excitement and competitiveness to the Conference.   

For a more detailed look at the year in sports, see the Fall, Winter, and Spring Updates below.