Morrow, Ohio - For the first time in Little Miami history, the varsity academic team will be advancing to state competition.
The Little Miami High School varsity team defeated Batavia, St. Xavier, Talawanda, Madeira and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in the regional tournament recently to qualify for state. This strong showing in the post-season continues the winning ways of what has become a powerhouse program under Coach Ron Maupin, who was named Southwest Ohio Conference Coach of the Year for 2014.
Maupin said the strengths behind the academic team are some very gifted players and a methodical approach to grooming new talent.
Team captain Will Thornton, who scored a perfect 36 on the ACT last fall, is “arguably a talent that you come across once in a career,” Maupin said. “His knowledge runs the gamut of content areas from math to the fine arts, but he is particularly strong in history. But Will is more than a wealth of knowledge, his leadership as the captain is tremendous.”
Maupin also had praise for varsity team members Ryan Papali, Justin Griggs, J.J. Mizer, Cemantha Lane and Calvin Ware, who is credited with answering the winning question to win the state play-off berth.
Little Miami had a perfect 14-0 record this season, winning the SWOC championship for the second year in a row (the 2012-13 season ended in a tie with conference rivals Talawanda). Prior to that, the team was a consistent performer in the Fort Ancient Valley Conference as well. Despite the district’s recent financial difficulties, Maupin said Little Miami has consistently been able to bring together talented students.
“ I would attribute our success to many factors,” he said. “We are aggressive in identifying those students who are talented and encourage them to participate. We have also benefitted from past success breeding a winning culture that encourages a lot of student participation.”
The state academic team playoffs will take place in Columbus on Saturday, May 3.