CINCINNATI – The Greater Cincinnati area experienced a very significant calendar year in high school sports.
The area was on the national scene in multiple sports with several state titles and national rankings to reflect those accomplishments.
Whether it was a team or individual accomplishment, Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky continued to be in the spotlight.
As we prepare for 2019 and the second half of the school year, let’s take a look back at nine storylines to remember from 2018:
Wyoming wins its first state football title in 41 years
The Wyoming football team captured the Division IV state title Dec. 1 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton with a 42-14 win over Girard.
The Cowboys (15-0) became just the third team this season to be undefeated all year, joining Hoban (Division II) and Kirtland (Division VII). There were 717 teams statewide this season.
Wyoming, which celebrated its 100th year of high school football in 2018, won the school’s second state football title and the first since the Cowboys were Class AA state champions in 1977.
“Coach said all year the only team that could beat us was us,” senior wide receiver Joey Edmonds said. “And we proved that for 15 weeks.”
Wyoming junior quarterback Evan Prater, named the Division IV state offensive player of the year, rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the state final.
Wyoming also became the seventh Ohio high school football program to reach 700 wins after it defeated Indian Hill in overtime in the regional semifinal.
Colerain football team finishes as state runner-up
Colerain (14-1) made it back to the state final for the first time since 2004, but lost to Lakewood St. Edward 24-10 in the Division I state final Nov. 30 in Canton. A week later, Colerain coach Tom Bolden accepted the Lakota West head coaching vacancy.
Colerain went undefeated for 14 weeks, including 11 consecutive games with a running clock (30-point differential or better in the second half) leading into the state semifinal.
Colerain, ranked No. 1 in the Division I state media poll all season, won its 19th consecutive Greater Miami Conference title. It was the fifth consecutive season the Cardinals won the conference title outright.
The Cardinals were led by several players including senior fullback/linebacker Ivan Pace Jr., who was named the Division I defensive player of the year in Ohio.
“It’s been a good ride with these guys for the past four years,” senior quarterback Deante Smith-Moore said. “They will be my brothers for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love them. We might have lost the last one, but we did something nobody else did for the last 14 years. I am proud of every one of them.”
Beechwood wins state football title, CovCath runner-up
Beechwood won its 14th Kentucky state football title and third straight by outlasting playoff rival Pikeville 21-20 in a thrilling Class 1A final Nov. 30 in Lexington.
Sophomore quarterback Cameron Hergott’s 1-yard touchdown plunge with 9:42 left in the game and the extra point made the difference, thanks to Pikeville’s two missed extra points earlier in the game. With Pikeville driving for a go-ahead score, John Odom’s interception in the endzone with 1:07 left saved the day for the Tigers.
"My heart was in my chest the whole time. I can tell you that right now," Odom said after the game. "It was nuts. It was nuts. It was awesome."
Beechwood is 14-5 all-time in state finals with the third most titles in Kentucky history behind Louisville Trinity (25) and Highlands (23).
South Warren defeated Covington Catholic 20-16 in the Class 5A state final.
CovCath (14-1) had won 29 games in a row and was trying for its second straight 15-0 season.
"Obviously, we wish it would have ended different, but they're a good ball club and I can't be more proud of our guys," CovCath coach Eddie Eviston said.
Cincinnati dominates soccer championships
This fall won't be remembered only for football.
The Ursuline volleyball team (27-2) won the Division I state title and finished No. 9 nationally by MaxPreps. Middletown senior Conant Smith won the Division I state boys cross country title.
But the greatest team success was in soccer. The area had three state soccer titles in November while three area teams finished as state runners-up.
The Summit Country Day boys soccer team won a state-record fourth consecutive state title in a 4-0 win over Richfield Revere at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus. The Silver Knights have won a state title in six of the past seven seasons.
In Division I, Moeller was the state runner-up after it lost to Medina 1-0 in overtime. It was the Crusaders’ first state final appearance.
In Kentucky, Highlands was the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state runner-up to Louisville St. Xavier.
In Ohio girls’ soccer, Indian Hill won its second straight Division II state title. The Braves are the ninth team in OHSAA girls soccer history to win back-to-back state championships.
In Division III, Cincinnati Country Day defeated Kirtland 3-0 to win the state title. It was the first state girls soccer title for Cincinnati Country Day, which also made a finals appearance in 2016. The Indians outscored their opponents 43-1 in seven postseason games.
In Kentucky, the Highlands girls soccer team was the KHSAA state runner-up to Sacred Heart.
St. Xavier wins national swimming title
The St. Xavier swimming and diving team won its fourth consecutive national title as it finished first in the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association national dual meet rankings. It marked the 10th overall NISCA crown for St. X and the “four-peat” is the first by any boys school in at least the past 20 years, according to the school.
The AquaBombers captured an Ohio record 39th state championship in February. The margin of victory was the largest in Ohio boys swimming and diving history. St. X placed first in five events and picked up an additional five runner-ups to headline the scoring.
Darius Bazley in the national news
Former Princeton basketball standout Darius Bazley was in the spotlight this summer and fall after he decided to forgo his scholarship opportunity to play for Syracuse and longtime head coach Jim Boeheim.
Bazley, a McDonald’s All-American, announced in the spring he would skip a collegiate career and enter the NBA G League Draft this fall. However, he later decided to forgo the draft and work out privately in order to prepare for the NBA Draft next June.
This past October, the New York Times reported Bazley signed a contract with New Balance that would pay him $1 million and it could reach up to $14 million if he reaches performance incentives.
Moeller captures the school’s fourth state hoops title
Moeller defeated Solon 83-65 in the Division I state final March 24 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus for the Crusaders' fourth state title as a program.
Moeller (27-3), winners of 20 consecutive games and ranked No. 2 in the season’s final Associated Press state poll, shot 71 percent from the field and had 64 points in the paint.
Senior guard Jeremiah Davenport had 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Senior forward Jaxson Hayes had 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
“I am at a loss for words right now,” Davenport said. “I am so happy for my guys, man. It feels so good.”
Deer Park wins its first state hoops title
Deer Park (29-0) captured its first state basketball title and became the only team to finish undefeated among 799 boys’ basketball teams in the state last winter.
The Wildcats defeated Columbus Africentric Early College 67-57 in the Division III state final in front of 8,705 at the Schottenstein Center.
Just like all season, Deer Park had multiple players step up in crucial moments. Trailing by nine at halftime, the Wildcats didn’t fold.
“This team is the most relentless team I’ve ever coached in my life,” Deer Park coach Steve Gentry said. “They never say die.”
Covington Catholic wins state hoops title
CJ Fredrick scored 32 points to lead CovCath past Scott County 73-55 in the Kentucky Boys Sweet 16 state final at Rupp Arena in March.
Fredrick was named the tournament's most valuable player and his team claimed its second state basketball title, becoming the first Ninth Region team to win a second state championship in boys basketball. The Colonels also won in 2014.
“It’s so special,” Fredrick said. “We all came together and had one goal and it was to win a state championship. To just be able to smile and hug them, my brothers, I’m not going to forget this moment.”
Information used from WCPO stories along with the OHSAA and KHSAA websites.