Athletes of the Year

Area's best highlight winter sports season

As another sports season winds down, it's time to announce the winter Athletes of the Year. The wrestling and girls basketball honorees were captains of the previously announced Super 12 teams. Jae'Sean Tate of Pickerington Central was named the top boys basketball player. A story on him can be found in this edition. Here are the winter honorees:

Jonathan Massey

BOYS BOWLING

This Granville sophomore emerged as one of the top boys bowlers in the area this season with a 208 average.

He finished seventh (636 series) of 100 competitors in the state tournament March 2 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. Michael Davidson (664) of Versailles was medalist.

"I was pretty relaxed going in," Massey said. "I'm happy, but I wish I would have done better."

Massey was 16th (543) among 168 competitors in the 30-team Eastland Lanes sectional Feb. 16 to help Granville finish third (3,564) behind champion Westerville South (3,766) and advance to district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.

In the 18-team district tournament, Massey was fourth (657) among 117 competitors and Granville (3,590) was 12th behind champion Newark (3,935).

As a freshman, Massey had a 192 average. He tied for 22nd (531) at sectional and was 14th (576) at district.

"I was a little surprised that he made the transition from last year as a freshman to this year as a sophomore as smoothly as he did," coach Todd Bowen said.

Miranda Singer

GIRLS BOWLING

This DeSales senior finished eighth (589 series) in the girls state bowling tournament March 1 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl and earned all-state honors as 103 individuals competed.

Singer averaged 195.2 per game during the regular season. She advanced to state by finishing second in the district tournament Feb. 23 at HP Lanes, rolling a 614 series to place behind medalist Savannah Slark (625) of Westerville Central.

"(Singer's) dad, Rod, has trained her since she was 6," coach Connie Emlich said. "Miranda's competitive. She wants to bowl, she wants to compete. She doesn't want to be average."

Emlich said Singer has not picked a college, but wants to attend one with a good bowling program.

"It helped that she competed against boys all year (because DeSales does not have a girls team), but a great thing for us was our boys were trying hard to compete with Miranda, too," Emlich said. "We have two or three guys saying they want to be just like her next year."

Kate Miltko

GYMNASTICS

The senior capped her career with the DeSales gymnastics team by winning a district title in the all-around and making her third state appearance.

Miltko was first in the all-around (36.375) in the district meet Feb. 23 and placed ninth on the balance beam (9.025) in the individual state meet March 2.

At state, she placed 18th in the all-around (35.0), 19th on uneven bars (8.65) and 31st on both floor exercise (8.5) and vault (8.825). At district, she placed second on beam (9.375) and tied for second on vault (9.225).

Miltko also won all-around titles in the McGee Invitational on Jan. 12 and Sweeney-Smith Invitational on Jan. 26.

"She held her composure (at state) like she has all year," coach Misty Lloyd-Matthews said. "She almost was undefeated in the duals and big invitationals. She has an amazing attitude, amazing composure and was an amazing team leader. She's supportive of her teammates and all around just has the full package of a true competitor. ... This year was special for her."

Chris Bergamesca

HOCKEY

Bergamesca helped lead Olentangy Liberty to its second state appearance in three seasons and a league championship.

The junior forward led the Patriots with 46 assists and 84 points and was second on the team with 38 goals. He was named first-team all-Capital Hockey Conference and first-team all-CHC-Red Division.

"Chris can just take over a game whenever he wants," Liberty assistant coach Mike Battaglia said. "We were trailing by two goals (Jan. 27) at (Dublin) Jerome and Chris scored three goals in the final three minutes (of the third period) in a 4-2 win. For him to do that in a big game like that, at their rink and on their senior night, says everything about him."

Liberty, which was ranked eighth in the final state poll and was the top seed in the district, finished 26-6-5-1 overall and won the CHC-Red at 15-0-1-1. The Patriots beat Jerome 4-3 in overtime in the district final March 2 before losing to Sylvania Northview 4-2 in a state semifinal March 8 at Nationwide Arena.

Joey Long

BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING

The Upper Arlington senior and Ohio State signee ended his prep career as a 13-time All-American and a three-time Division I state champion, having won two titles in the 200-yard freestyle and one in the 500 free.

At state this season, Long won the 200 free in 1 minute, 38.45 seconds and placed second in the 500 free (program-record 4:28.62). He also teamed with Max Jelen, Ian Reardon and Thomas Trace to place third in the 200 medley relay (1:33.31), as the Golden Bears placed second (187.5) to Cincinnati St. Xavier (270) for the team title.

As a junior at state, Long won the 200 free (1:38.64) and 500 free (then-program record 4:29.82).

"He's had one of the best careers in swimming in central Ohio history," said coach Mike de Bear, who helped teach Long how to swim as a youth. "He's always been able to race. Sometimes it was frustrating to me that he liked to race others more than just going out and swimming his own race. He loves winning, not for the trophy but for the feel of beating someone."

Gracie Long

GIRLS SWIMMING & DIVING

The Upper Arlington sophomore helped her team's 200-yard freestyle relay win the Division I state championship in a meet-record 1 minute, 34.19 seconds and placed second in both the 100 free (49.85) and 200 free (1:48.63).

The Golden Bears finished second (215) to Cincinnati Ursuline (234) for the team title, ending their streak of consecutive state championships at eight.

Long, who teamed with Erin Sheehan, Jenny Smith and Grace Van Fossen on the 200 free relay, also helped the 400 free relay place second (3:26.7) at state and won district titles in the 100 free (50.3) and 200 free (district-record 1:48.21).

"Grace Long just continues to work hard to be successful," coach Dan Peterkoski said. "Each of the last two years, Grace has made great strides in becoming a better trainer. I think this year the dryland component of her training really improved.

"Grace is extremely competitive and is very driven to be successful. She has a long way to go if she is going to tap out her potential."

-- From staff reports

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