Ohhhhhhh, we’re halfway there


By Scott Halasz and Steven Wright - editor@xeniagazette.com



Fairborn senior Donovan Dierker (3) is our mid-season male athlete of the year. He leads the MVL in goals and points this season, scored twice in this match against Troy on Sept. 14, and tied a school record with a six-goal performance against Greenville.

Fairborn senior Donovan Dierker (3) is our mid-season male athlete of the year. He leads the MVL in goals and points this season, scored twice in this match against Troy on Sept. 14, and tied a school record with a six-goal performance against Greenville.


Gracie Knapp (6) and Meagan Thompson (2) are two of our top volleyball performers this season. The girls are leading the MVL in kills and digs, respectively, and Fairborn is in first-place in the MVL Valley Division.


We are roughly midway through the fall sports season, give or take a few games.

There have been a few COVID cancellations but for the most part it’s been a fairly normal season in what has been a less-than-normal calendar year. The pandemic has not prevented athletes and teams in our coverage area from doing what they do best.

So it’s time to had out some mid-season hardware. Sports reporter Steven Wright and managing editor Scott Halasz (a sports nut, or maybe just a nut) wracked their brains to come up with the best of the best. They agreed on most. On some they didn’t so they each had a chance to offer their reasoning.

Check back later to see if these selections hold up, or if someone else emerges.

Top male athlete: Donovan Dierker, Fairborn soccer. The senior is tops in the Miami Valley League with 39 points, and 15 goals, and tied for second with nine assists. He had six goals and two assists in an 11-0 win at Greenville (yeah, it’s Greenville, but six goals is six goals) and has a point in all but two matches this year, a 2-0 loss at Fairmont and a 6-1 loss to Yellow Springs. Dierker is also three of three in extra points for the football team.

Top female athlete: Grace Dailey, Beavercreek cross country. Cross country is a tough sport. It’s just grueling, especially at the beginning of the season when it’s still hot and humid. The senior had her best time at the Hot Summer Bash, finishing in 19:09. That’s 27 seconds faster than her best time last year and almost as minute faster than her sophomore year. She ranks fourth in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, but in reality she is third behind Springboro’s Cara Mooney (18:54) and Northmont’s Abby Drosdak (18:58.40). Centerville’s Mia Robillard, defending Division I state champ, ran a 17:48 at the Marion Invitational this year and is No. 1 in the area. But it’s just unfair how good she is so in my book, No. 2 is really No. 1.

Best team: Bellbrook girls volleyball. This one is always a tough call. Lots of good teams. But the Golden Eagles are 11-3 overall and 5-0 in the Southwestern Buckeye League East Division. The three losses are at Tippecanoe in five sets (the Red Devils are tied for 10th in the state in Division II), at Centerville in four sets and at Badin. The Elks are 9-2 overall and Badin is 9-4 overall. No shame in any of those losses. And there are Bellbrook players all over the top five in the league stats.— Halasz

Yellow Springs boys soccer. A team which has scored 47 goals, allowed eight and won all nine matches it has played must be pretty good. Twice the Bulldogs have been challenged a bit in one-goal wins, but every other game’s final margin has been three or more. They’re ranked No. 2 in the MVSSCA Division III poll. — Wright

Top offensive player, football: Offensive line, Xenia. I’ve never been one to color inside the lines. So instead of one player, I give you five: Center Gunnar Stephan, guards Ryland Falvey, and Blayke Dudley, and tackles Landen Partee and London Butler. The Bucs (4-1 heading into tonight’s game at Tippecanoe) have one returning starter in Falvey, a junior. Stephan is a freshman, and Butler and Partee are juniors. Dudley is the only senior. Four of the five had to learn a new system — the spread — under first-year coach Maurice Harden. It’s no easy task to ask linemen to switch from a run-oriented scheme to a pass-heavy format. The Bucs Big Boys have made the adjustment quite well. Sure, there are individuals worthy of this award. But the OL never gets the love. — Halasz

Seth Borondy, Bellbrook. Sitting second in the Southwestern Buckeye League in rushing yards, Borondy has successively increased his performance in yards and touchdowns scored in each of the Golden Eagles’ five games. The latest for the senior produced 356 yards for three touchdowns on 25 carries. He even has an eight catch, 172-yard receiving game back in the season opener. Borondy is averaging seven yards per carry and has scored eight total TDs this season. — Wright

Top defensive player, football: Elliot Braun, Carroll. The 6 foot, 2 inch senior defensive end is second in the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed with 63 tackles. Braun also has two forced fumbles and an interception. He had 27 tackles in a loss to Tecumseh and 12 in each of three other games. He had 44 in nine games last season. — Halasz

Joe Darrah, Beavercreek. It’s been a rough year so far for the Beavers, but the senior has been a bright spot on defense. He leads the team in solo tackles (19), solo (23) and thus total (42), along with sacks (3), forced fumbles (2) and fumble recoveries (1). Quite a load. — Wright

Coach of the year: Maurice Harden, Xenia football. This is a no-brainer. New coach. New scheme. Lots of success so far. Oh yeah, there is a freshman at QB and Harden moved some players around so they can best use their athletic abilities. Tremell Wright is one of them. Installed as QB during the season last year, Harden moved him to wide receiver and he has taken off. Wright is second in the Miami Valley League with 282 receiving yards and fourth with 20 catches. And that is in just four games. One win was a forfeit. There is a buzz around this team. The Bucs still have a lot of work to do but they are in position to make the playoffs again.

Top individual effort: Seth Borondy, Bellbrook football. The 6 foot, 2 inch senior ran 25 times for 356 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-21 win over Franklin last week. Three hundred. Fifty. Six. That’s likely a school record since yards in a game doesn’t exist in the school’s archives. Borondy has 776 rushing yards this season, more than four other teams in Southwestern Buckeye League.

Bright future: Gavin McManus, Xenia football. Just a freshman, the 5 foot, 10 inch quarterback has completed 51 of 104 passes for 604 yards and six TDs, a 107.2 passer rating. He’s fourth in the Miami Valley League in yardage. But most importantly, he is running the new spread offense with the poise of a fifth-year senior. Sure, he has five interceptions, but three of those came in the loss to Piqua when the Bucs were playing from behind. McManus is averaging 26 attempts per game so yes, there will likely be a few passes picked here and there. Never hurt Brett Favre’s legacy. — Halasz

CJ Scohy, Bellbrook boys golf. Another freshman having a great season, he is second in the SWBL in scoring average by shooting 38.3 per nine over 234 holes played. He recently fired a 1-over 73 to finish in third-place at the Best of West Invitiational. — Wright

Boys soccer: Tyler Hurley, Greeneview. The senior currently leads the Ohio Heritage Conference in points (43), goals (16) and assists (11). He has scored at least two goals in five of the team’s first nine matches and turned in an astounding three goal, four assist performance against Madison Plains on Sept. 9. — Wright

Donovan Dierker, Fairborn soccer. The senior is tops in the Miami Valley League with 39 points, and 15 goals, and tied for second with nine assists. He had six goals and two assists in an 11-0 win at Greenville (yeah, it’s Greenville, but six goals is six goals) and has a point in all but two matches this year, a 2-0 loss at Fairmont and a 6-1 loss to Yellow Springs. Dierker is also three of three in extra points for the football team. — Halasz

Girls soccer: Alayna Vela, Xenia. The MVL leader in points and assists, Vela also has the most assists for Xenia as a senior. She scored four goals in her team’s last game against Yellow Springs, and shared the wealth against West Carrollton with a three assist game to go with two goals scored.

Volleyball: Gracie Knapp, Fairborn; Meagan Thompson, Fairborn; Alanna Vavao, Bellbrook. A tough call with so many in the area having great seasons, so we will cheat and recognize multiple players. Knapp leads the MVL in kills as a sophomore, Thompson is the MVL leader in digs and near the top in aces, while Vavao has been balanced in averaging three kills per game with a 41% success percentage, 0.7 aces, and 2.3 digs.

Boys cross country: Keegan Souhan, Beavercreek. At the Hot Summer Bash meet hosted by Hilliard Davidson, the junior runner got the best time of any Greene County runner with a 16:05.

Girls cross country: Grace Dailey, Beavercreek. Also at the Hot Summer Bash meet, Dailey finished in sixth-place individually with a time of 19:09 to top the Greene County chart.

Boys golf: Shane Ochs, Carroll. The senior is capping off a consistently great career averaging 35.9 per nine holes in matches this season.

Girls golf: Meredith Goecke, Carroll. Another senior improving her scoring year after year, she shoots 41 per nine on average.

Girls Tennis: Anna Bowman, Cedarville. Playing No. 1 singles, Bowman has a 5-2 overall record and 2-0 in the OHC so far in her junior year.

Fairborn senior Donovan Dierker (3) is our mid-season male athlete of the year. He leads the MVL in goals and points this season, scored twice in this match against Troy on Sept. 14, and tied a school record with a six-goal performance against Greenville.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2021/09/web1_CMYKDSC_0050.jpgFairborn senior Donovan Dierker (3) is our mid-season male athlete of the year. He leads the MVL in goals and points this season, scored twice in this match against Troy on Sept. 14, and tied a school record with a six-goal performance against Greenville.

Gracie Knapp (6) and Meagan Thompson (2) are two of our top volleyball performers this season. The girls are leading the MVL in kills and digs, respectively, and Fairborn is in first-place in the MVL Valley Division.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2021/09/web1_CMYKDSC_0082cropped.jpgGracie Knapp (6) and Meagan Thompson (2) are two of our top volleyball performers this season. The girls are leading the MVL in kills and digs, respectively, and Fairborn is in first-place in the MVL Valley Division.

By Scott Halasz and Steven Wright

editor@xeniagazette.com

Contact these reporters at 937-372-4444, ext. 2116.

Contact these reporters at 937-372-4444, ext. 2116.