2018 CHL Review

01/01/2019

2018 was a great, if not historic, year for the Cincinnati Hills League.  The league had four state team championships by four different schools in four different sports.  In addition, there were four individual state titles with one being a state record.  Many league championships, league records, and personal bests made up 2018.  Here is a look back starting with the winter season for the 2017-2018 school year.

The first league championship of the year was in swimming/diving.  Mariemont girls won their 5th title in a row, the longest league win streak of any Warrior sport.   They went on to be district champions and finished 4th in the state Division II tourney. 
Cora Dupre (Mariemont) claimed two of the four individual state titles for the CHL in 2018.  The junior won the 50 Freestyle & 100 Freestyle races.  She continues her success in her senior year.  As of this posting, she has the fastest league time in all eight individual events.
Indian Hill boys' swim/dive team easily won their 2nd league title in a row.  The Braves were the highest place league boys team at state (6th place).  Indian Hill senior diver Noah Vigran capped off an undefeated season by winning the D2 1 Meter Diving title.  His score of 589.45 set a state record.  Junior Illusha Gerasimchak of Wyoming was 2nd.
One of the league's longest team championship streaks came to an end in mid February.  The Indian Hill wrestling team snapped Reading's 12 in a row streak at the league championships.  Indian Hill junior John Mark Williams was the league's highest place finisher at the state championships.  Williams was 7th in the Division II 170 weight class.
Bowling made its league debut in 2017-2018 season.  Reading won the first ever girls' title.  Both Reading & Deer Park made it to the district championships.  On the boys' side, Deer Park & Taylor were co-champs.  Taylor won the sectional title and , along with Deer Park, made it to the district championships.  Sophomore Brady Leisure (Taylor) missed qualifying for the state tourney by 9 pins.
Girls' basketball had co-champs in the league with Madeira & Mariemont finishing with 13-1 league marks.  Madeira went deepest in the post season, finishing as the Division III district runner-up.
Boys' basketball produced the first of the four state team titles in the league.  Deer Park made it through the regular season undefeated including a 14-0 league mark.  The high powered Wildcat offense won most games by double figures.  The only close calls during the regular season were a 4 point win over Madeira and a 2 point overtime win over Indian Hill.  In the first four games of the post season, Deer Park won by an average of 31 points.  In the regional semi final, Purcell Marian held a lead in the 3rd quarter, but Deer Park pulled away to win.  Their opponent in the regional finals was league rival Madeira.  The Mustangs came into the game winning 18 of 21 games.  But the Wildcats won for the 3rd time in the season to make their first state final four. In the state semifinal game, Deer Park won by 18 points over Cleveland Heights Lutheran East.  In the state Division III championship game, the Wildcats came from behind to beat Columbus Africentric 67-57.  Deer Park finished 29-0, only the 41st basketball team in Ohio history to go undefeated in a season.  Later in the spring, they were named the best high school sports team in the Cincinnati area for the 2017-2018 school year.

The spring was a nightmare of postponements and cancellations due to the very wet season.  Taylor for the 2nd year in a row dominated softball & baseball.  The Yellowjacket softball team won its 2nd title in a row.  They will enter the 2019 season with a 33 game league win streak.  Sophomore pitcher Brooklynn Linneman had a spectacular season with two perfect games and another no-hitter.  She was the league MVP.  Deer Park went deepest in the softball post season.  The Wildcats were district runner-ups.
Taylor baseball made it 3 in a row in league titles.  The Yellowjackets made it to the district runner-up but the Madeira Mustangs made it to their 5th state final four.  Madeira lost to eventual state champ Canfield South Range in the state semifinal game.
Indian Hill boys' tennis won their 4th straight league title in a row.  They hold the league record with 29 CHL titles.  Indian Hill senior Andrew Pregel made it to the state championships for the 3rd year in a row.  The senior won the Division II Singles Championship.  Teammates Mack Ellis (junior) & Maanas Pisati (senior) were state runner-ups in doubles.
Indian Hill became the first school since Wyoming (2015) to sweep the boys' & girls' league track & field championship titles.  For the girls, it was back to back titles.  For the boys, it was their first since 1989.  Fifteen league records were broken at the 2018 league meet.  Indian Hill boys were the Division II district champs.  A total of 19 athletes from the CHL made it to the state meet.  Sophomore Ellie Podojil (Indian Hill) was the top league girl with a 4th place finish in the 300 Hurdles.  Indian Hill senior Mykal Bright was the top boy with a 5th place finish in the Long Jump.  Reading junior Don'nek Patterson was 6th in the 100 Meter Dash, only .002 from 5th place.
Lacrosse was still not a league sport in the CHL this past school year.  A fifth varsity team is needed to make it a league sport and that might happen this coming spring.  Despite the fact only four schools in the league have the sport, the CHL is a state powerhouse in Division II Lacrosse.  2017 was the first year the OHSAA recognized lacrosse as a state sport. In that first year, Indian Hill won the D2 girls' state title and Mariemont won the D2 boys' state title.  This past season, both schools had solid boys' & girls' programs.  Indian Hill boys lost to Mariemont in the regional finals.  The Warriors fell short of defending their state title, losing in the state semifinals.  Indian Hill girls lost to Mariemont in the regional finals.  The Warriors came from behind to win the state semifinal game and did likewise in the state championship game against Chagrin Falls winning 13-10 to claim the 2nd team state championship in 2018.

After a summer of camps, conditioning, & practices, the fall season began in early August with golf.
Girls' golf is still a non-league sport in the CHL.  Wyoming is one of those teams and they dominated Division II in the Cincinnati area throughout the season.  They won the sectional tournament for the 2nd year in a row and then claimed the district title to earn the team's first trip to the state championship.  The Cowboys finished 4th in the state.  The four scoring golfers for Wyoming were two juniors, one sophomore, and one freshman.
Wyoming boys dominated the CHL for the 2nd year in a row.  They won the league preview, league championship, and five of the six regular season matches. The Cowboys went on to win the D2 sectionals and finish 3rd at the districts to earn a trip to the state championship. They finished 8th at state.  Three of the scoring members were juniors.  Senior Dylan Stevens had the highest finish of any league golfer, 9th.  It was his 3rd trip to state.
Indian Hill girls' tennis once again dominated the league.  They won their 22nd straight league title, second longest in CHL history.  The Braves also have a 95 league match win streak in tact.  Seven league players made it to the state tournament.  Junior Hayley Hirsch (Indian Hill made it to the quarter finals in singles. Senior Emily Mayer & junior Peyton Osha (Wyoming) made it to the quarter finals in doubles.
Wyoming volleyball won their 9th league title in a row.  During that time period, the Cowboys have won 126 straight league matches.  During the regular season, Wyoming coach Jim Delong got his 400 career win.  Wyoming (Division II) & Madeira (Division III) had the longest runs in post season, both finishing district runner-ups.
In cross country, Wyoming girls have back to back league titles.  Likewise, Madeira boys are defending league champs.  Eight teams and five individuals made it to the regional meet.  
Sixteen runners qualified for the state meet including seven members of the Madeira boys' team.  The Mustangs were making their 2nd straight trip to state where they finished 17th.  Ben Bayless of Indian Hill had a great senior season.  After a 5th place finish at his first meet, he was undefeated all way to the state meet.  It included league, district, & regional titles. Bayless ended his high school career with a 6th place finish at the state championships.  An interesting note about the state cross country championships.  They were postponed a week because of flooding on the National Trail Raceway course.  The next week, race time temperatures were below freezing.
Wyoming boys' soccer team made it back to back league titles.  Madeira had the longest run in post season. The Mustangs made it to the Sweet 16 for the 2nd year in a row before losing in the regional finals.  
Wyoming girls' soccer broke Indian Hill's six year streak of league titles.  They did it in a very dramatic fashion beating the Braves 1-0 in the final league game of the season.  Indian Hill was defending state Division II champ going undefeated in the 2017 season.  During 2018, besides Wyoming, they lost to Summit Country Day during the regular season. After the Wyoming loss, Indian Hill ran off 7 straight wins.  The capped it off by beating Bay Village Bay 1-0 to win their 2nd straight state title finishing 18-2-3. The CHL had some top post season honors in girls' soccer.  Anna Podojil (Indian Hill) was the D2 Player of the year in Ohio.  Karen Wood (Wyoming) was Co-Coach of the Year and Michael Wood (Wyoming) was named Assistant Coach of the Year.
We started the year with a basketball team that "ran the table" to win the state championship.  The year closes with a football team that"ran the table" to win state championship.  Wyoming was returning many key players from a 12-1 season in 2017.  Early on, it was evident the Cowboys were going to have a great season.  They won their first 9 games to set up a week 10 meeting at Indian Hill for the league title.  In one of the top games of the season in the Cincinnati area, the Cowboys broke open a close game in the 3rd quarter to win their 3rd league title in a row.  Wyoming finished the regular season ranked #1 in Ohio in Division IV.  They were joined in the playoffs by Deer Park, Indian Hill, & Madeira.  For Deer Park, it was the first trip to the playoffs in a decade.  Indian Hill & Wyoming won their 1st round playoff games to set up their 2nd meeting in 3 weeks.  In the regional semifinal game, the two teams tied at the end of regulation.  Wyoming pulled off a 3 point win in overtime.  They would not have a close game the rest of the season as they won the next 3 games by an average winning margin of 27.  It was capped off with a 42-14 win over Girard for the Division IV state title.  The Cowboys finished 15-0, setting numerous team and individual records.  It was Wyoming's 2nd state football title in its 100th year of football.  Junior Evan Prater was the Division IV Offensive Player of the Year in Ohio.  This past week, Prater was named the USA Today football Player of the Year in Ohio for all divisions.

So we have come full circle as the winter sports are back again.  What will 2019 bring?  We will be finding out in the coming weeks. As SID, I would like to thank all of those who support the CHL website.  2018 saw over 2,000,000 views.  And a special thanks to our advertisers, athletic directors, coaches , & athletes. 
Happy New Year to all!