2013 High School Central Championships Preview

Posted: May 16, 2013 04:00 PM

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Girls Division, by Matthew Clayton
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Nothing less than top competition and spirit is expected this weekend at the 2013 High School Central Championships held at Heritage Oak Park in Mason, Ohio. Hosted by the Cincinnati Ultimate Players Association, teams from across the Midwest are looking to earn the title of Central Champion. Five teams form the girls division that looks to be one of the most intense divisions ever. Defending champion Holy Family Catholic will look to retain their title, but not if last year’s runner-up, Cathedral High School, can help it.

What to Watch For

Cathedral High School

A veteran squad, Coach Paula Meyer’s team from St. Cloud, Minn., is back at Centrals this year. The Phoenix will be looking to avenge last year’s defeat at the Central Championships in Naperville to Holy Family Catholic. An unusually snowy spring has plagued the squad’s ability to compete this year. However, a 5-1 record shows promise for the team led by seniors Alisha Knutson, Rose Berg-Arnold and Maddie Schwieteis. The Phoenix girls are sure to display top-tier ultimate again this year. 

Holy Family Catholic

Coach David Fry brings his hometown and defending champion Omega team just a few miles north for Centrals this year. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based squad has a strong mix of young and old players. Omega has had a strong showing thus far this year, boasting an 11-3 record, with two of those losses on universe point to recently crowned Southern Champions, Saga. Seniors Madison Wilker and Andrea Willging intend to lead the rest of the Omega girls to a second consecutive championship this weekend.

Hopkins High School

Hailing from Minnetonka, Minn., Hopkins Hert is a very experienced squad with nine players in their junior or senior years of high school. Coached by Jeanine Miakotina, Jenna Daily and Alex Fraser, Hert has traveled across the country this year to play ultimate with the best. Their 9-9 record does not reflect the skills and work ethic of the Hert girls. A quality showing by Hopkins is expected this weekend as seniors Sophie Stillman, Hattie Holm, Sarah Benton and Lisa Persson lead the squad in an effort to match the Hopkins boys’ achievement at last year’s Centrals – a regional title.

Mount Notre Dame High School

Another local team, MND Savage features five seniors, Katie Von Erden, Paige Brown, Ashley Poland, Grace Castelli and Alora Reiff. The Savage girls are coached by Mike Kaylor, Jenny Funk, Jeff Babiak, John Balbach and Zach Kaylor. Mount Notre Dame’s limited record of 2-1 should not fool anyone. The Savage girls are hard workers, on and off the field, and are sure to make a strong showing at the Central Championships this year.

Neuqua Valley High School

The Naperville, Ill., girls of Neuqua Valley Ultimate are back at Centrals again this year and are looking to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish. Coached by Becca Ludford, Jody Kissane, and Josh Waters, the 6-5 squad has some strong wins and will be a force to be reckoned with. Seniors Aisel Alcedo, Cleo Bubulka and Minjoo Seo will try to lead the Neuqua Valley girls to a Centrals championship. Look for Neuqua Valley to be the dark horse of the weekend.


Open Division, Izzi Bikun

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This weekend, 14 high school open teams will meet at Heritage Oak Park in Mason, Ohio.  The reason?  To find out, once and for all, who’s the best team in high school ultimate’s Central region. With only six teams returning from last year’s event, the field of play will be wide open for the newcomers to show what they’re made of. However, their work will be cut out for them.

The Favorites

The returning champions, Hopkins Hurt, comes in seeded third and are looking to hold on to their title and prove that their sixth place finish at the Chicago Invite, and tallying only two wins, was a fluke. They rebounded nicely at last weekend’s Hopkins Hustle, going 6-0 on the weekend and coming away with a 13-6 win in the finals.

Revolution from Holy Family Catholic, a local powerhouse, would like to avenge their 14-4 loss to Hopkins in last year’s final and finish as the top team in the region for the first time in school history. They are coming off of an undefeated weekend at the Ohio High School State Championships and will likely carry that momentum forward into the Regional Championships.

Neuqua Valley, the third-place finishers from last year, are looking to renew their rivalry with Holy Family Catholic and prove they have what it takes to shut down Revolution and take home the championship. Cathedral Ultimate took fifth place at Centrals last year during a rebuilding year. It will be exciting to see what they can do this year.

The Rest of the Field

The other remaining returners from last year’s event, Monona High School and Neuqua Valley B, are just looking to improve on last year’s performances and finish somewhere other than the bottom of the barrel.

Filling out the rest of the field are eight teams that have been proving their worth at the local stage and through various tournament appearances. Many of these teams are relative unknowns, with few games played so far this season. Anyone could turn into this year’s Cinderella story.

With only four players who are not graduating this year, the Bexley High School Scooberheads should prove to be an exciting team to watch. They have already proved their presence on the fields this year by finishing ninth at the Chicago Invite from a start as the 23rd seed.  It’s time to see if they can turn their Centrals six seed into something better.

Locally, Mason High School is looking to use their home field advantage to the best of their ability and prove they have what it takes to hang with the big boys at their first major tournament showing.  Always a fun team, the Bloomington High School Bullets will undoubtedly show that fun and competitive ultimate go hand-in-hand.

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