2012 Top 30 Ohio High School Sport Stories: What was No. 1?


JJHuddle’s Top 30 Ohio HS Sports Stories of 2012

A look back at Ohio’s top prep sports stories from the last 12 months…Issues, State Titles, First Times for Everything and more. It was another spectacular year for Ohio High School Sports.

JJHuddle Top 30 HS Sports Stories of 2012

Honorable Mention

Just missed the cut…

*Columbus DeSales wins back-to-back D-II baseball titles
*Minster wins back-to-back D-IV baseball titles
*Pickerington Central wins first D-I boys basketball title
*Liberty Center wins back-to-back D-III girls XC state titles
*Sylvania Northview wins first ice hockey state title after being runner-up four times
*Gates Mills Hawken finishes runner-up for the eighth time in nine boys soccer finals
*Cincinnati Ursuline wins D-I volleyball title, becomes the seventh school with at least five state volleyball titles

Nos. 30-26

30. Peninsula Woodridge wins sixth D-II boys XC state title in seven years: Woodridge claimed its sixth D-II boys cross country championship in seven years after finishing fourth in 2011.

29. LeGrange Keystone makes 13th state softball state tournament, wins third title: The Wildcats avenged a loss to Poland Seminary in the 2011 title game with a 4-0 semifinal win and then snapped Greenville’s 22-game win streak in the Division II final to win their third state softball championship. Keystone was playing in its 13th state tournament (all since 1992). Senior P/1B Kenzie Conrad was an ESPNHS first team All-American and head coach Jim Plazza was the ESPNHS National Coach of the Year.

28. Akron St. Vincent-St, Mary wins fourth straight girls D-II XC state title: For the fourth consecutive year Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary found itself holding the girls Division II team championship trophy. The Irish were led by freshman Rachel Iacofano, who finished second overall and senior Marissa Rossetti who finished ninth.

27. Upper Arlington wins eighth straight D-I girls swimming state title: Despite four first-place finishes from a determined Cincinnati Ursuline Academy team, Upper Arlington scored 300.5 points en route to winning the Division I girls swimming state championship for the eighth consecutive year. UA was led by freshman Grace Long, who brought home a first place finish in the 100 freestyle (50.71) and then contributed to the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay teams. Long joined Jessica Miller (Sr.), Jenny Smith (So.) and Gabby Veri (Sr.) to win the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:34.68 then teamed up with Lauren Comer (Sr.), Smith and Veri to win the 400 freestyle relay with a record-breaking time of 3:24.24. They were UA’s second consecutive titles in both events.

26. Casstown Miami East defends D-III volleyball state title, doesn’t lose a set in the postseason: Miami East held off Columbus Ready and defended its Division III volleyball state title in dominating fashion with a 3-0 win (28-26, 25-15, 25-17) in the final. The Vikings rolled through the postseason and finished the state tournament without losing a single set. Miami East’s back-to-back state titles have come in their first two appearances at the state tournament (2012, 2011).

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Nos. 25-21

25. Dayton Dunbar wins D-II meet’s last event & as a result – first boys track state title since 1990 (and seventh overall): Dayton Dunbar’s senior-laden 4×400 relay team of Ira George, Eric Blair, Michael Ohiembor and LaTrell Turner repeated as state champions, broke their own meet record and scored the Wolverines’ final 10 points of the meet to earn the state title with 49 points, just edging defending state champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, which had 46. It was Dunbar’s seventh state track and field title, with the last coming in 1990.

24. Archbold’s Jordan Cowell sets state wrestling records for wins in a career and season: The son of a former state champion, Cowell set new state wrestling records for career wins (267) and season wins (64) en route to winning the D-III 152 state title. Cowell’s father John was Archbold’s first state champion in 1975.

23. Berlin Hiland wins back-to-back D-IV boys basketball titles:
The Hawks became just the second Division IV school to repeat as state champions since the tournament expanded to four divisions in 1988. The other team to do so was Columbus Wherle, which won three straight state titles from 1988-1990. Hiland beat undefeated Jackson Center 68-36 in the final. In addition to its back-to-back titles, Hiland won a state championship in 1992. The Hawks have been to the state tournament nine times.

22. Brecksville-Broadview Heights wins ninth consecutive gymnastics state title:
The Bees continued their decade long domination of the team competition (15th state title overall) by scoring 148.0 points to defeat second-place Mentor, which scored 143.875 points.

21. Dayton Dunbar caps “perfect” boys basketball season, first in school history: Dunbar has won five boys basketball state titles, but the latest was the first that ended with an undefeated season. Senior Andre Yates’ running, close-range jumper with 3.2 seconds left snapped a tie game and the Wolverines held on to top Elida, 54-52, in the Division II state championship to finish 28-0.

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Nos. 20-16

20. Cincinnati St. Xavier wins 33rd D-I boys swimming state title: The Bombers didn’t have an individual state champion but they still captured their OHSAA-record 33rd state title in boys swimming. No program in Ohio history in any gender and any sport has more state titles than the St. X boys swim team.

19. Columbus Academy makes fifth straight field hockey state tournament, wins ninth title: Columbus Academy beat Columbus Watterson 2-1 in double-OT to claim the field hockey state title. The championship is the ninth for the Vikings, who have made the state tournament every year since 2008 and now have a five-title lead over Kettering Fairmont for the most field hockey state titles in history.

18. Twinsburg wins back-to-back D-I girls basketball titles over Kettering Fairmont: Twinsburg jumped out to a 15-3 first quarter lead and held off a determined Fairmont squad as the Tigers defeated the Firebirds, 57-51, in the D-I girls basketball state championship. It was the second consecutive year Twinsburg defeated Fairmont in the D-I final. After a first quarter where they shot 14-percent from the field, the Firebirds climbed back into the game and only trailed 34-32 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. However, that is as close as Fairmont would get as the Tigers pulled away late.

17. North Canton Hoover wins sixth state softball title in sixth trip to state tournament: North Canton Hoover scored a run in the first and fourth innings and sophomore Tara Thacker threw a four-hit shutout to lead the Vikings to a 2-0 win over Lebanon in the Division I softball state championship. The state title is Hoover’s sixth in six trips to the state tournament. The Vikings also won titles in 2011, 2008, 2006, 1999 and 1998.

16. Cincinnati Moeller wins sixth big school baseball title in fifth decade:
Moeller won its sixth baseball state title with a 9-6 win over Westlake in the D-I finals. The Crusaders titles now cover five decades (72, 89, 93, 04, 09, 12). Longevity overload.

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Nos. 15-11

15. St. Paris Graham wins its 12th straight D-II wrestling state title: Graham Local claimed the Division II state title for the 12th consecutive year by outscoring runner-up Lexington 183.5-97.5. The Falcons, who had eight state placers, received title performances from Ryan Taylor (120 lbs.), Micah Jordan (126 lbs.), Bo Jordan (152 lbs.) and Isaac Jordan (160 lbs.).

14. Walsh Jesuit rewrites girls soccer state history: The Warriors 5-0 win over Columbus DeSales in the Division II girls soccer state final was big for several reasons: 1.) It was the largest margin of victory in 28 years of girls soccer state finals; 2.) It tied the record for most goals scored in a state final (five); and 3.) It gave Walsh a state-best six girls soccer state titles. Trifecta.

13. Coldwater sweeps the Boys and Girls bowling state titles:
Coldwater’s boys won their second state bowling title and the Coldwater girls won their first as the school becomes the first to sweep the state bowling team titles. After losing the first game in the championship round, Coldwater’s boys defeated Springfield Kenton Ridge in three consecutive games. The Coldwater girls beat Hubbard in three straight games.

12. Dublin Jerome sweeps the D-I boys and girls golf state titles (for the third time) by a stroke each:
It’s rare for a school to be good in one sport and both genders. Jerome has it mastered. The Celtics won the girls D-I golf tournament by a stroke over Medina Highland and won the boys D-I golf tournament by a stroke over Centerville to claim back-to-back title sweeps. It’s the third time Jerome has swept the D-I golf titles (2005, 2011 and 2012). No other school has done it once.

11. Lakewood St. Edward wins its 27th D-I wrestling state title, crowns 100th state champion:
Despite four individual state titles from Massillon Perry, Lakewood St. Edward outscored the Panthers 223.5-105.5 en route to its state-record 27th Division I state championship. It was the Eagles’ 15th title in the last 16 years. St. Edward received titles from three-time state champ Dean Heil in the 126-pound weight class, Mark Martin in the 170-pound weight class and Domenic Abounader in the 182-pound weight class. St. Edward also crowned its 100th state champion in Ty Walz in the 220-pound weight class.

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Nos. 10-6

10. Dayton Carroll becomes first boys soccer program to win three straight state titles: Carroll scored two goals in the first half and defended well against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy the entire game to win its third straight Division II state soccer championship. Carroll’s third championship in a row marks the first time in history a boys soccer program has won three successive championships. Only one school has done so prior in girls soccer, Clayton Northmont (1987-1989). The 2012 title is the fifth for the Patriots, who previously won in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 1980. Carroll is currently riding Ohio’s longest unbeaten streak (wins and ties) ever at 60 games. Dynasty? Definitely.

9. Moeller wins 8th state football title, snaps 27-year title drought: Few teams nationally carry as much notoriety as Moeller, but it had been a while since the Crusaders made noise. The seven-time state champs hadn’t won a D-I state title since 1985 and hadn’t played in a final since 1997. That changed this fall. Despite losing three of five during mid-season after opening as the state’s No. 1 team, Moeller rebounded to run the postseason table and add the program’s eighth state football title with a win over Toledo Whitmer. Head coach John Rodenberg was named the JJHuddle Ohio HS Coach of the Year.

8. Coldwater seniors become first Ohio class to play 60 high school football games: Coldwater isn’t the first program to play in four straight state football finals, but the Cavalier seniors are the first Ohio class to play 60 games in their high school career. Under the current playoff format where a team can play a max of 15 games a season, two other teams – Youngstown Mooney and Ursuline – have played in four straight state finals. Those schools each had seasons, though, where they played just 14 games. Over four years, Coldwater played 60 games – and won its last one (beat Kirtland 10-9 in the D-V final) after losing three straight state finals. Coldwater also owns the state’s longest current playoff streak at 16 seasons in row.

7. West Liberty-Salem’s Vogel carries opponent across finish line: In a story that made national news, West Liberty-Salem junior Meghan Vogel, who won the D-III state title in the 1,600 earlier in the day, stopped 20 meters from the finish line to help Arlington sophomore Arden McMath finish the 3,200 when she was struggling with cramps. The duo was the last two to finish the race and did so to a standing ovation. Vogel’s act of sportsmanship was featured nationally in television, print and online.

6. 7th state football division added for 2013: No doubt Ohio loves its football. But a 7th state champion? Yep. Despite the fact that the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association voted against adding another division to the state playoffs, the OHSAA decided to do it anyway.  In 2013, there will be seven state finals. The top 10 percent of schools based on enrollment will be Division I, while the remaining 644 schools will be divided evenly among six divisions. Each division will continue to qualify 32 teams to the playoffs.

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5. Hathaway Brown girls basketball team makes sixth straight D-II state final, wins fourth straight state title: Cleveland.com didn’t consider this story one of the top 12 HS Sports Stories in Northeast Ohio this year. Huh? Exactly. The Blazers not only MADE their sixth straight D-II girls basketball final, they won their fourth straight D-II state title. Only two other schools in history have done that (Pickerington Central and South Euclid Regina). Personally, the six consecutive finals are more impressive than the four straight state titles.

4. Reynoldsburg’s Gause sets track record for individual titles, Raiders win fourth straight D-I track championship: Reynoldsburg scored 56 points, including five first-place finishes, to win its fourth-consecutive D-I girls track and field state championship. The Raiders were again led by seniors Destinee Gause and Faith Washington. Gause placed first in the 100 meters (11.95), 200 (24.59) and also anchored the Raiders’ first place 4×400 and record-breaking 4×100 relay teams. With her four championships, Gause is now the all-time leader in first-place finishes in the state track and field meet, boys or girls, with 12 total state titles. She has won two consecutive 100’s, four consecutive 200’s and been a member of two state champion 4×100, one state champion 4×200 and three state champion 4×400 relay teams. Washington, who also ran in the 4×100 and 4×400, recorded a state record finish in the 300 hurdles, with a time of 41.33, and finished third in the 100 hurdles. Sophomore Diamond Gause and junior Monie Jenkins joined Gause and Washington to set the meet, state and stadium record in the 4×100 with a time of 45.99. Gause, Washington, Jenkins and sophomore Cherese Nimmons made up the championship 4×400.

3. The MAC reaches 100 state titles: Marion Local’s Division VI football state title was the 100th won by the Midwest Athletic Conference – a small group of mostly rural public schools located in west central Ohio. The MAC started in 1973 and that’s the only year the conference did not win at least one state championship. Since 1974, the MAC has averaged 2.6 state titles per year. This year it’s already surpassed that. In addition to ML’s football title, the Flyers also won the D-IV volleyball title. Coldwater added a D-V football championship. Overall, Minster leads the MAC with 27 state titles followed by St. Henry (20), Coldwater (16), Marion Local (13), Delphos St. John’s (10), Versailles (six), Fort Recovery (four), Parkway (four) and New Knoxville (one).

2. Clinton-Massie scores over 800 points in football: Head coach Dan McSurely says he never meant to disrespect any opponent en route to becoming the first school in state history to score over 800 points in a football season. No need to apologize. Ohio has had high school football for 117 years, and in that time no one has ever done what Clinton-Massie did this past season. The Falcons, who went 15-0 and won their first state football championship (Division IV), ended with 822 points. Massie scored over 60 points six times, hit 76 twice and had a season-high of 77. Their lowest output? 35 points against Milton-Union in the Region 16 final.

1. Private vs Public: The issue won’t go away. The OHSAA’s second attempt at a Competitive Balance Proposal was voted down in May, which caused the organization to throw in the towel. That wasn’t good enough for admins in Wayne County who started this whole mess in 2009. They got enough ink on a petition to pass on another proposal to the OHSAA, which will go to a vote in May 2013. This ultimatum? Separate tournaments for Public and Private schools. Ouch is right. When will it end? Probably not until the world does (which was supposed to be Dec. 21 right?). Here we go…

Happy New Year!

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