CINCINNATI — Six outstanding area female high school athletes have been named as finalists for the LaRosa’s High School MVP of the Year Award for the 2015-16 school year.
The male and female winners of the prestigious annual award will be announced at the Buddy LaRosa’s Sports Hall of Fame Banquet June 26, in televised ceremonies at the WCET studios on Central Parkway. The six male finalists will be announced June 14.
The athletes were nominated by area high schools, fans, coaches and a LaRosa’s selection committee.
The six finalists for the LaRosa’s High School 2015-2016 Female MVP of the Year Award are:
Kellen Alsip, Sycamore High School, Golf
Ohio’s top high school girls’ golfer this year was Sycamore senior Kellen Alsip, who was the Greater Miami Conference, sectional and Division I state medalist, shooting a 72-75-147 at the state championships. She was the first local state medalist at the state tournament in five years.
Alsip led the GMC this past season, averaging 38.20 for nine holes. Her golfing accomplishments were acknowledged with numerous awards. She was the Women’s Sports Association Cincinnati Golf Sportswoman of the Year. She was also first team all-city, first-team Southwest Ohio District and first-team all-state.
Alsip will play golf collegiately at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.
Malia Berkely, Badin High School, Soccer
Malia Berkely is one of the most decorated athletes in Cincinnati soccer history. She leaves Badin having helped the Lady Rams to back-to-back Division III state championships her sophomore and junior years.
Berkely tallied 66 goals and 33 assists (165 points) for the Lady Rams and holds six soccer school records. Her accomplishments have garnered an incredible array of top awards. She is an All-American and twice has been named Ohio Ms. Soccer, Gatorade Ohio Soccer Player of the Year, Division III Player of the Year, and the local Women’s Sports Association Soccer Sportswoman of the Year.
A 4.0 National Honor Society student active in community service, she is a member of the Under-19 USA national team and the USA Olympic Development Program, and she will play soccer collegiately at Florida State University.
Morgan Hentz, Notre Dame Academy, Volleyball
A four-year varsity starter at outside hitter for Notre Dame Academy, Morgan Hentz is a volleyball All-American and one of the top players in the nation in the class of 2016.
Hentz led her team to the Ninth Region title and was named MVP of the regional tournament for the second time this past season for the Pandas (33-6).
She was also named to the state championship’s all-tournament team.
In addition, Hentz was named Ms. Kentucky Volleyball, Kentucky Class 3A Volleyball Player of the Year, Gatorade Kentucky Volleyball Player of the Year, Woman’s Sports Association’s Sportswoman of the Year and first team all-state.
This summer, Hentz was named to the all-tournament team of the USA Volleyball girls’ national championships in New Orleans. She also was one of 12 players named to Team USA for the FIVB Girls U-18 world championships in Peru.
Active in community service, Morgan earned first honors every quarter at NDA and is a National Honor Society student. Hentz will continue her volleyball excellence next season at Stanford University.
Tiona Lattimore, Hughes High School, Volleyball, Track & Field
Hughes senior Tiona Lattimore is a high-level all-star athlete in volleyball and track and field. She earned first-team all-city honors in each sport, and earned 10 varsity letters in her distinguished career.
In volleyball, Lattimore is a two-time Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the reigning league champs. With 95 kills and 22 digs this past season, she was named not only to the all-city team but she also was named first-team all-conference for the fourth straight year.
In track and field, Lattimore was the 2016 Division II regional champion in both the 200 and 400 runs. She was the Division II state runner-up in the 400 run both her junior and senior season. She qualified for the USA Junior Olympic Track and Field nationals in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2015.
She also played basketball her junior year for the Big Red team that was undefeated in league play and were CMAC champs.
She will continue her excellence on the track at the University of Cincinnati.
Nia Staples, Lakota West High School, Basketball
A McDonald’s All America Game nominee, Staples is a four-year varsity starter who scored 1,270 points in her stellar career, and is the school’s all-time record-holder in assists with 268. She helped lead the 2015 team to a first-ever Division I state championship.
This past season, she averaged 16.9 points and 2.4 assists per game for the GMC and district champion Firebirds.
Her basketball accomplishments have earned her numerous honors, including her senior year being named Division I state co-player of the year, Southwest Ohio District player of the year and GMC player of the year. Staples was also named Women’s Sports Association Basketball Sportswoman of the Year and was selected to play in the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Game and the Ohio North-South All-Star Game.
Staples will play basketball collegiately at West Virginia University.
Madeleine Vonderhaar, Notre Dame Academy, Swimming
Notre Dame Academy’s Madeleine Vonderhaar is an eight-time swimming All-American and a 2016 Olympic Trials Qualifier in the 200 breaststroke. She has competed in both junior and senior USA national championship competition.
This past season, Madeleine helped lead the Pandas to an 18th straight regional title and a third straight Kentucky state runner-up finish.
At the regional championships this past season, she entered four events and won all four – the 100 breaststroke (breaking her own record), the 200 IM, and as part of the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. This performance gave her 13 regional titles in her career.
Vonderhaar went on to the Kentucky state competition where she finished as state runner-up in the 100 breaststroke, and 200 medley relay and finished third in the 200 IM.
A Scholastic All-American, she will swim next year at the University of Virginia.