NCAA Tournament Bracketology: Wright State facing Southwest Ohio foe?

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 3:04 PM

            Grant Benzinger and the Wright State Raiders are slated to face Cincinnati in Joel Lunardi’s latest Bracketology. KEITH COLE/CONTRIBUTED
Grant Benzinger and the Wright State Raiders are slated to face Cincinnati in Joel Lunardi’s latest Bracketology. KEITH COLE/CONTRIBUTED

ESPN Bracketologist Joel Lunardi has released a new bracket Thursday after three top-10 teams lost Wednesday night, and he has Wright State sliding into the Nashville region to take on a local foe.

Lunardi has the Raiders seeded 15th and paired against No. 2 Cincinnati in the first round.

›› WSU goes for season sweep of Phoenix on Thursday

If that were to happen, it would be the 10th meeting between the schools. The Bearcats have won each of the previous nine. The most recent meeting was Dec. 22, 2012, when UC defeated WSU 68-58 at Fifth Third Arena.

Lunardi has Ohio State, which beat No. 3 Purdue 64-63 on Wednesday, as a 4 seed playing No. 13 Buffalo in Boise, Idaho.

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Xavier is a No. 1 seed playing No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast in Nashville.

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Multiple regional qualifiers boost district-champ WL-Salem girls

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 2:30 PM

West Liberty-Salem sophomore vaulter Lydia Moell. GREG BILLING / CONTRIBUTED
West Liberty-Salem sophomore vaulter Lydia Moell. GREG BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

Then a seventh grader, Lydia Moell couldn’t have picked a better day for her first pole vault lesson three years ago. Well, except for that winter blast Lydia and her father drove through to get to Columbus.

“I remember because it was on Valentine’s Day and my husband drove her over in a snowstorm,” said Becky Moell, Lydia’s mother and West Liberty-Salem’s pole vault coach.

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»PHOTO GALLERY: D-I district track at Wayne

Moell, now a Tigers’ sophomore, has been devoted to the sport ever since. On Saturday, Moell cleared a personal-best 10 feet, 9-inches to win the Division III district championship at Piqua High School. She enters the D-III regional championships at Troy on Wednesday with the third-best vault out of 16 competitors, with the top four qualifying for the state championships.

“I’d seen people do it before and I thought it looked really fun,” Moell said of what drew her to the sport.

»PHOTO GALLERY: D-I district track and field at Piqua

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And after that first lesson?

“I was obsessed with it,” she said.

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Moell highlights a strong contingent of Tigers heading into the regional as 10 different West Liberty-Salem girls athletes qualified in 11 different events. The girls program record is 12 in 2013.

Moell advanced in four events (800 relay, 300 hurdles, long jump and pole vault), along with senior Taylor Lauck (400 relay, 800 relay, 1,60 relay and 400 run) and freshman Katelyn Stapleton (800, 1,600, 1,600 relay and 3,200 relay).

»RELATED: D-I baseball sectional photo gallery

West Liberty-Salem used that surge to win the girls district championship with 114 points, a four-point victory over Covington.

The Tigers won district championships with senior Reghan Bieleski in the 3,200-meter run, Stapleton in the 800 and 1,600 runs, Moell in the pole vault and in the 400 relay with freshman Kaylee LeVan, Lauck, senior Janie Kopus and sophomore Alex Burton.

“We’re super excited we got all four relays out,” Moell said. “I’m excited and I’m ready to go.”

»OHSAA: No more stacking teams

Moell’s best event to qualify for state is the pole vault. She’s considering dropping the long jump competition to keep her legs fresher for that and the hurdles since both the pole vault and long jump competitions are at the same time. Becky Moell said he calculated on Saturday Lydia performed 12 pole vault attempts and six long jump attempts in addition to her relay race and the hurdles.

“It can be kind of hard to focus,” Lydia said of going from event to event. “You just have to relax and try to think about what you’re doing in the moment. Just go with the flow.”

»RELATED: Wildcats take their place in track history

Her goal for the pole vault is to clear 11-0. She cleared 10-0 at regional last year to finish seventh.

In addition to those drives to the Buckeye Pole Vault Academy in Columbus for lessons, Moell has had other family assistance in the sport. Moell’s grandmother ran a gymnastics school in West Liberty.

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“It’s helped me so much with my body awareness and just knowing what’s going to work and what’s not,” Moell said. “It’s having more control when I’m doing it and what it should feel like.”

Her mom, Becky, qualified for state all four years in relays and middle distance at West Liberty-Salem and ran with current head coach Ann Vogel.

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“She was a track star so I’m trying to be as good as her, maybe better,” Moell said of her mother, whose best finish at state was third in the 3,200 relay. “I feel like I have a better chance (to qualify this season). If I do my best I’ll definitely be where I want to be.”

If all goes well, that means heading toward Columbus. And this time with better weather.

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Bengals signs first-round draft choice from Ohio State

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 2:16 PM
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 2:25 PM

            Ohio States Billy Price plays against Army on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
Ohio States Billy Price plays against Army on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

The Cincinnati Bengals signed first-round draft pick Billy Price on Monday.

A center, Price was selected in the first round and 21st overall out of Ohio State University. The Bengals agreed to a four-year contract with an option to extend one year through 2022.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes. He was a guard for three seasons, when switched to center as a senior.

A two-time Buckeyes captain, he earned multiple awards and was a two-time All-American. He set an all-time OSU record with 55 total and consecutive starts.

The Bengals have signed all but two of their 11 draft choices, defensive end Sam Hubbard also of OSU (third round) and linebacker Malik Jefferson of Texas (third round).

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District softball: Kenton Ridge beats Monroe to reach regionals

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 9:27 PM

Highlights: Kenton Ridge beats Monroe in district softball

Kenton Ridge and Monroe dealt with postponements of their Division II district softball final on Friday and Saturday and then watched a storm roll past Brookville High School at 6 p.m. Sunday just when they were supposed to start play. Players waited inside the high school, hoping they would be able to play before it got dark.

"It's stressful," Kenton Ridge pitcher Carly Turner said of the waiting.

Turner overcame stress of a different sort when the game finally did begin at 7 p.m. An umpire called her for several illegal pitch violations. She didn't let it rattle her, however. She struck out nine batters as the Cougars advanced with a 6-2 victory.

"She knows how to correct that," Kenton Ridge coach Sarah Schalnat said. "That's the biggest thing, just slowing it down when that happens and regaining focus. She does a great job."

» PHOTOS: Kenton Ridge vs. Monroe

Turner also drove in the first run of the game in a three-run fourth inning. Paige Williams's single scored the second run. Then a squeeze bunt by Madison Hall scored a third run.

Lexee Trainer made it 4-0 with an RBI single in the fifth. Jordan Rucker drove in two runs with a triple in the sixth.

Turner didn't allow a run until the seventh inning. Monroe senior Faith Hensley, a Ball State recruit, hit a two-run home run in the last at-bat of her high school career.

"I'm really happy for Faith," Monroe coach Tim Kellis said. "Her last at-bat was a dinger. The same thing happened last year. We had a girl (Alexis Arnold), a senior shortstop going down to Georgetown (College), and her last at-bat in the sectional was a two-run home run."

» RELATED: Bradford wins district softball title | Lebanon beats Fairfield

Monroe, which was seeking its first district championship, finished the season 18-3.

"What I'm going to remember about this group is a lot of people aren't aware we lost six four-year starters last year, a team that went 23-3 but got beat in the sectional finals," Kellis said. "Then we started the season and lost two first basemen before we played our second game. We basically started the season with seven kids playing a position they had never played before. We got run-ruled at Brookville at our place in the very first game — and I think most people probably gave them up for dead — and we came back here a week later and beat Brookville and then they go through the rest of the league season and they've gone as far as any team at Monroe as gone."

» EARLIER COVERAGE: Kenton Ridge beats Northwestern in sectional final

The Cougars (23-1), ranked second in the state, will play another Central Buckeye Conference team, Jonathan Alder, at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Mason High School. No. 4 Greenville and No. 7 Clinton Massie will play at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the other semifinal.

Kenton Ridge and Jonathan Alder split two games in the regular season. Both games went to extra innings. Kenton Ridge won 4-3 in Springfield on April 18 and lost 7-6 at Jonathan Alder on April 27.

"It'll be a very good game," Schalnat said. "We've just got to be ready to go. We've got graduation coming up (on Tuesday). We've got to remain focused and have good practices the next couple days."


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Miami Valley boys tennis sends singles, doubles team to state

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 11:25 AM

Senior Colton Morehart and junior Niyanth Reddy are usually teammates but the Miami Valley tennis players were opponents Saturday in the D-II district semifinals. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Senior Colton Morehart and junior Niyanth Reddy are usually teammates but the Miami Valley tennis players were opponents Saturday in the D-II district semifinals. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

To say it was a good weekend on the courts for the Rams would be an understatement.

The Miami Valley tennis team qualified four boys – two singles players and a doubles team – to this week’s Division II high school state tennis tournament – a feat the Rams have not accomplished in at least 15 years.

»PHOTO GALLERY: D-I district track and field at Piqua

»RELATED: D-I baseball sectional photo gallery

Rams senior Colton Morehart – who qualified to state as a sophomore – faced off against teammate and first-time state qualifier Niyanth Reddy in the D-II singles semifinals on Saturday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Morehart and Reddy played first and second singles, respectively, for Miami Valley during the season, amassing identical 24-1 records heading into the district semifinals.

But the Rams couldn’t be more different. Morehart is intense and makes his presence known on the court while Reddy, a junior, quietly and methodically plays his game.

“Colton loves to be vocal, you know he’s there,” Miami Valley coach Brenna Bretscher said. “Niyanth is stoic, very even-keeled.”

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It was the fiery senior who dispensed with his teammate Saturday to advance to the finals. Morehart topped Reddy, 6-0, 6-2. Morehart – who finished the day as district runner-up after losing to Indian Hill senior Andrew Pregel – knows how critical seedings are at the state tournament. The IUPUI-bound player bowed out in the opening round in 2016.

“It was a good match, but I definitely could have played a lot better,” Morehart said of his last state appearance. “I wanted to get as far as I could at the district to give myself the best chance at state.”

»RELATED: Senior basketball standout a one-season track hit

»PHOTO GALLERY: D-I district track at Wayne

Makul Sharma and Reece Quigley of Miami Valley also finished just one win shy of a district championship. Sharma, a first-time state qualifier, and Quigley, who qualified last season, lost a three-set district final to Maanas Pisati and Mack Ellis, of Indian Hill, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“Makul is a senior and he could have played singles this season, but he told me he wanted to do ‘whatever was best for the team,’ ” Bretscher said. “That’s the kind of player he is, the kind of person he is.”

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• Cousins Nathan and Nick Brumbaugh of West Milton earned a D-II state berth in doubles with a third-place finish Saturday. Nick, a junior, and Nathan, a sophomore, lost to Miami Valley’s Sharma and Quigley in the semifinals but edged Ash Annapantula and Herschel Albert of Cincinnati Country Day in the finals to place third.

»OHSAA: No more stacking teams

• Beavercreek sophomore Austin Staiger is also state-bound after a fourth-place finish in D-I singles, as is Fenwick senior Dylan Sagan, who placed fourth in D-II singles.


When: Friday-Saturday.

Where: Lindner Family Tennis Center, Mason.

D-I area qualifiers: Austin Staiger, Beavercreek.

D-II area qualifiers: Dylan Sagan, Fenwick; Colton Morehart, Miami Valley; Niyanth Reddy, Miami Valley; Makul Sharma and Reece Quigley, Miami Valley; Nathan Brumbaugh and Nick Brumbaugh, Milton-Union.

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