CINCINNATI -- St. Xavier’s Grant House and Mason’s Ashley Volpenhein were named the LaRosa’s High School MVPs of the Year Sunday afternoon.
Inaugurated with the class of 1987, the LaRosa's Male and Female MVPs of the Year awards are the oldest ongoing awards given annually in Greater Cincinnati to honor outstanding high school athletic achievement.
The male and female winners were announced at WCET studios during a live telecast. There were 12 overall finalists for the awards.
House, an Arizona State signee, ranks as the winningest swimmer in Ohio High School Athletic Association state history.
He has accumulated 13 state titles in individual (eight) and relay events (five). He also helped lead the AquaBombers to four consecutive team state championships. He was named Ohio’s Most Valuable Swimmer in Division I for the second time in his career.
This past year, House won four Ohio state titles and set state and tournament records in all four events.
He captured the 200-Yard Freestyle in 1:34.59. His time in the 500-Yard Freestyle of 4:19.15 also set a CT Branin Natatorium pool record in Canton.
The 200-Yard Freestyle Relay team etched a 1:21.44 record, while the 400-Yard Freestyle Relay team’s time of 2:51.13 blistered the previous state record by three seconds.
House was named a six-time All-American this past year. He holds six St. Xavier school records in the 200- and 500-Yard Freestyle, the 200-Yard Individual Medley, the 100-Yard Breaststroke and both the 200- and 400 Yard Freestyle relays.
House participated in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. He is a member of the 800-Meter Freestyle Relay that holds the Junior World Record set in Singapore in 2016. He is the YMCA National Champion in the 200-Yard Freestyle, which set the YMCA National record.
Volpenhein, a Stanford signee, concluded a significant high school career with seven Ohio state championships, including six individual state titles and one relay state title.
A six-time high school All-American, Volpenhein captured the Ohio Division I state title in the 100-Yard Freestyle for the third straight time in 50.24.
She holds two Ohio Division I state records in both the 50-Yard Freestyle (22.35) and the 100-Yard Freestyle (48.96). She holds three Ohio state Long Course records for the 11-12, 13-14 and 15-16 age groups, including the 50-Meter Freestyle (25.59). She played a key role in Mason's third place finishes (2014 and 2015) and second places finishes (2016 and 2017) in the Ohio Division I state tournament.
Named the Ohio Division I Co-Swimmer of the Year as a junior, Volpenhein won three state titles, including her record-setting performance in the 50-Yard Freestyle.
She was named the Greater Cincinnati Women's Sports Association Swimming Sportswoman of the Year her junior year and this season was named Greater Miami Conference Swimmer of the Year for the fourth straight year.
Volpenhein competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2016. She was selected to USA Swimming's 2015 World Junior Team and the 2015-16 National Junior Team. Her seventh place finish in the 50 Freestyle at the World Junior Championship in 2015 was the highest finish by a USA athlete.
She is the 2017 NASA (National Age group Swimming Association) Junior National Champion in the 50- and 100-Yard Freestyle in the 17-18 age group.
An Academic All-American with a 4.6 grade-point average, Volpenhein was ranked in the top 10 percent of her graduating class.
Also Sunday, four outstanding former area high school sports stars, a coach and WCPO's John Popovich were inducted into the Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame.
The new members of the 42nd annual class included:
- Angela Bizzarri (Pflugrath), Mason High School (track/cross country), Class of 2006
- Irv Goode, Boone County High School (football), Class of 1958
- Dominick Goodman, Colerain High School (football/basketball), Class of 2005
- Robert Hite, Winton Woods High School (basketball), Class of 2002
- Donna Mechley, Mount Notre Dame (Girls’ volleyball coach)
Popovich, longtime WCPO sports anchor, is just the second person selected to receive the Lifetime Media Achievement award.
The Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame has honored 263 exceptional individuals since its founding in 1975. It is the oldest and one of the only halls of fame of its kind in the country.