The Athletes of the Year were named at the ThisWeek Sports Awards banquet May 24 at Villa Milano. A story on Dublin Coffman’s Jacy Sheldon, the Super 12 girls basketball captain, also can be found on ThisWeekSPORTS.com. Stories on Upper Arlington’s Dane Goodwin, Super 12 boys basketball captain, and Central Crossing’s Jaden Mattox, Super 12 wrestling captain, will be posted next week.
Here are the other Athletes of the Year for the winter season:Dakota Elliott
GIRLS SWIMMING & DIVING
The Upper Arlington senior ended her prep career by winning her second consecutive Division I state title in the 200-yard individual medley.
Elliott won the event in 1 minute, 58.78 seconds, just missing the state record of 1:57.98.
Also in the state meet that concluded Feb. 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, the Pittsburgh commit placed second in the 500 freestyle (4:52.78) and helped the 200 medley relay place fifth (1:44.31).
During her career, Elliott won nine individual or relay district titles, was on the state and state-meet record-setting 200 medley relay as a junior and won state titles as part of the 200 free relay as a sophomore and the 200 medley relay as a freshman.
“Dakota is a fierce competitor. She has a unique ability to turn it on when she steps up onto the blocks,” coach Dan Peterkoski said. “I have seen very few athletes that have the competitive instincts possessed by Dakota. I think a lot of this competitiveness comes from the idea that Dakota hates to lose more than she likes to win. This has allowed her to be successful at the highest levels of competition.”
Jordan Aurnou-Rhees, Columbus School for Girls, So.
Rachel Peroni, Olentangy Liberty, Sr.
Kristyn Sabol, Dublin Coffman, So.
Maycey Vieta, Gahanna, Jr.
Miranda Donley, Columbus School for Girls (2017); Katie Trace, Upper Arlington (2016); Gracie Long, Upper Arlington (2015 and 2013); Olivia Ball, Olentangy (2014)Bethany Hurt
The Dublin Coffman senior won the district championship in the all-around with a 37.0 after sharing the title as a junior.
Also in the district meet Feb. 24, Hurt finished first on floor exercise (9.45), tied for first on balance beam (9.35), tied for second on vault (9.15) and tied for third on uneven bars (9.05).
Her best finish in the individual state meet March 3 at Hilliard Bradley came on vault, in which she tied for 19th (9.125). She finished 34th in the all-around (33.65).
Hurt also was the OCC-Central champion in the all-around for the third consecutive season and won all-around titles at the Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 16 and the Wolfpack Invitational on Jan. 6 at Worthington Kilbourne.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” coach Kristen Willms said of Hurt, who was named the top athlete for the second consecutive year. “Between all the changes we made to the program when she was a sophomore, she’s done so well.
“She’s one of the few kids in high school who literally added difficulty and new skills. When kids go to high school, they’re often on a decline and she was trying to get her start skills up. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to represent our school.”
Gianna Brooks, Westerville Central, Jr.
Mary Dimitroff, Big Walnut, Sr.
Greta Planck, Hilliard Bradley, Sr.
Chloe Shook, Hilliard Darby, Sr.
Hurt (2017); Darian Connors, Hilliard Bradley (2016); Ally Duckworth, Hilliard Bradley (2015); Alexa Markulls, Dublin Coffman (2014); Katie Miltko, DeSales (2013)Jason Mathews
BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING
This Westerville North senior and Ohio State signee capped a stellar prep career by winning his second consecutive Division I state title in the 100-yard breaststroke (54.76 seconds) on Feb. 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
As a junior, he won the event in 54.91 while competing for Pickerington North.
Mathews was Westerville North’s first state champion since 2015 graduate Mason Miller, who won the 50 freestyle in 2013 and the 100 butterfly in 2014 and 2015.
Mathews also placed third in the 200 individual medley (program-record 1:50.43) at state after placing fifth (1:51.67) as a junior.
“Jason loves to compete and always steps on the blocks ready to race,” coach Rich Morris said. “He is a student of the sport and he’s meticulous in his preparation.”
Mathews also set the Warriors’ program record in the 100 breast (53.89) in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 16 at Ohio State and holds the program record in the 200 free (1:39.27).
“Jason not only excelled in competition, but also did a great job of leading our younger swimmers,” Morris said. “He became a great teacher of relay-exchange technique.”
Jacob Eismann, Columbus Academy, Jr.
Benjamin Kuriger, Olentangy, Jr.
Eddie Michael, Dublin Coffman, Sr.
Max Scott, Dublin Jerome, Jr.
Parker Neri, Upper Arlington (2017); Cameron Thatcher, Olentangy Liberty (2016); Mason Miller, Westerville North (2015); Thomas Trace, Upper Arlington (2014); Joey Long, Upper Arlington (2013)Devon Richardson
The Westerville Central junior helped the Warhawks earn a Division I state tournament berth and win Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A and OCC-Buckeye championships.
Richardson ranked first in the area with a 216.9 average during the regular season and finished 18th of 205 competitors at state March 9 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl with a 624 three-game series.
Central finished seventh at state behind champion Celina. It reached the championship round at state by finishing third (3,594) of 16 teams in the qualifying round behind first-place Cincinnati Oak Hills (3,737).
The Warhawks went 12-0 in the COHSBC-A and 7-0 in the OCC-Buckeye.
“Devon is one talented junior,” coach Julie Wells said. “He comes from a bowling family and the apple does not fall far from the tree. This season, Devon has grown into a great anchor and is learning more each time he puts his shoes on to bowl. I look forward to seeing what his senior season will bring.”
As a sophomore, Richardson helped the Warhawks win the program’s first state title and finished 19th (630) of 102 competitors.
Jason Kefauver, Whitehall, Jr.
Ryan O’Connor, Westerville Central, Sr.
Cameron Singer, Northland, Sr.
Daniel Valz, Olentangy Liberty, Sr.
Ryan O’Harra, Ready (2017); Alex Fleetwood, Westerville Central (2016); Chad Szczepariski, Reynoldsburg (2015); Wayne Russell Jr., Walnut Ridge (2014); Jonathan Massey, Granville (2013)Madison Stiffler
The Whitehall senior was named ThisWeek girls bowler of the year for the third consecutive season.
Stiffler ranked second in the area during the regular season with a 214.8 average. She won the Division I sectional title with a 677 three-game series Feb. 24 at HP Lanes and placed fifth at district March 3 at HP Lanes with a 546.
A Wright State commit, Stiffler capped her prep career by placing fourth (660) of 104 bowlers in the state tournament March 10 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, earning first-team all-state honors as the Rams finished ninth of 16 teams.
“This (award) is very well-deserved for Madison,” said Jess Biller, who stepped down as coach following the season. “I couldn’t be more proud of her. She sets her sights on goals and she just works and works until she reaches them. She’s very dedicated.”
Stiffler helped lead Whitehall to its sixth consecutive MSL-Ohio tournament title and its third consecutive COHSBC title this season. The Rams went 10-0 in the COHSBC-D.
Stiffler won the state title in 2016 (719) and was state runner-up in 2017 (659). She placed ninth at state in 2015 (586).
Makayla Barber, Whitehall, Sr.
Averi Brown, Eastmoor Academy, Sr.
Shannon Gonzales, Gahanna, Sr.
Briann McKnight, Gahanna, Sr.
Stiffler (2017, 2016); Tori Pappas, Briggs (2015); Paige Sutfin, Ready (2014); Miranda Singer, DeSales (2013)Sam Turner
There were few better finishers in central Ohio, if not the state, than this Olentangy Liberty senior.
The fact that Turner is a defenseman makes it all the more impressive that he had 32 goals and 44 assists while making first-team all-Capital Hockey Conference and first-team all-state.
“Sam is the best all-around player in high school hockey,” coach Kevin Alexander said. “It was so great that the other coaches in Ohio agreed and gave him all-Ohio first-team (honors). Sam is great defensively, a great leader and, as you can see with 76 points as a defenseman, he’s highly skilled offensively.”
Turner helped Liberty reach the state tournament as a junior.
This season, he led the CHC with 28 assists as Liberty went 13-2-1 to finish runner-up in the CHC-Red Division.
The Patriots also were runners-up in the Blue Jackets Cup tournament as well as district runners-up, losing to Dublin Jerome 4-1 in the district final March 3 at OhioHealth Ice Haus to finish 28-7-3 overall.
“No matter what his personal stats were, Sam was our captain first and would trade all the awards to have his team win first,” Alexander said.
Harrison Graff, Dublin Jerome, Sr.
Nick Kuraly, Watterson, Sr.
Carter Patchett, Dublin Jerome, Sr.
Tyler Riddle, New Albany, Sr.
Jack Dolan, Upper Arlington (2017); Grant Powell, Dublin Coffman (2016); Chris Cathis, Dublin Jerome (2015); Alex Ward, St. Charles (2014); Chris Bergamesca, Olentangy Liberty (2013)