XENIA — Championships.
There was plenty of sports talk in Greene County in 2022. The staff of the Gazette and Daily Herald chose the the top five. And it wasn’t easy.
1. Beavercreek swimming state title
The Beavercreek boys swimming team pulled off a historic feat in becoming the first public school to win the state championship in Ohio’s top division since 1987.
Beavercreek edged out Cincinnati St. Xavier, which had won 13 consecutive championships, by four points to secure the title.
The 10 members of the squad were Dillon Edge, Ethan Otten, Michael Rine, Luke Sullivan, Anthony Braun, Nathan Dunhac, Ryan Ju, Blake Krupinski, Caleb Manning, and Conner Peaden.
Edge was the top swimmer on the team, earning three championships at the state meet. He brought home a title in the 200 yard freestyle race and was a part of two relay wins in the 200 yard medley to win by .06 seconds, and 400 yard free by more than two seconds. He was joined by Sullivan, Rine and Otten in both relays.
2. Legacy Christian Academy wrestling state title
Legacy Christian trampled the competition to win consecutive state championships. The Knights secured the team points title before the individual champions began to be determined.
LCA had nine individuals make it to Columbus, the most of any Division III school. Gavin Brown won his third individual championship, and Dillon Campbell and Camron Lacure got their second individual titles.
The 2022 title got to come in front of cheering fans in Columbus after the 2021 event was held with limited capacity.
LCA’s program has only been in existence for five years and already has two state championships.
3. Xenia football soaks up awards
The 10-0 Xenia football team got the recognition it deserved from its peers in postseason awards.
Six Buccaneers were named All-Ohio in Division II, including first-team players Trei’Shaun Sanders, Jamell Smith, and Tremell Wright. Gabe Funk was second-team, and Ronnie Butler and Gunnar Stephan were honorable mention.
Head coach Maurice Harden was named the Co-Coach of the Year in D-II.
At the district level, the six players already mentioned were first-team selections. Jaxen Lewis, Kaleb Martin, Gavin McManus, and Trent Smith were four picked to the second-team, and another three were honorable mention in Trimonde Henry, Trenton Lee, and Jackson Tate.
In the Miami Valley League, eight players were first-team picks, including Ramon Browder, while five made the second-team and one honorable mention.
4. Wright State’s first NCAA win
What started off as an inauspicious start to the season eventually concluded with three of the most memorable weeks in Wright State’s basketball history.
Sitting at 16-13 near the end of the regular season, the Raiders improved their conference tournament seed with a pair of wins, which led to a Horizon League tournament championship and automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Getting to play near its home town, Wright State ran over Bryant with the crowd behind the Raiders to win the school’s first tournament game.
Wright State had grappled with a decision to move its athletic programs to the Division II level, and the positive light the win brought to the university helped make the move to stay an easy one.
5. NIL denied for Ohio HS athletes
While name, image and likeness is running rampant at the collegiate level, the OHSAA member schools rejected it to high school level.
Two-thirds of the state turned NIL away, which would have mirrored policies set for NCAA institutional athletes to sign endorsement agreements and not lose their amateur status.
It is likely not the last time the issue will be heard.
Other notable stories:
Angie Smith chases down 2,000 points — the Yellow Springs senior tried to reach the historic milestone for four seasons, including one shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and set numerous school and league records as she wrapped her career.
Girls wrestling sanctioned — an end of season tournament had been held for a few years, but the OHSAA officially put the sport under its watch beginning this season in a move heralded for the future growth of the sport.
Beavercreek wheelchair team — the Beavercreek Rolling Beavers debuted to a capacity crowd and is providing kids with physical limitations a chance to remove barriers and be part of a team.
Bengals big game fever — An unexpected playoff run earned the Cincinnati Bengals a trip to the biggest game in American sports and cause a two-week stir in the lead up of Who Dey chants and general excitement about the team.
Jasper Hills opens — A nine-month restoration project brought back the local golf course into playing condition and has quickly become one of the most popular courses in the area.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.