June 19th, 2017

Reed: LCSN celebrates state champions from 2016-17

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Billy Reed

Executive Editor 

Reed: LCSN celebrates state champions from 2016-17
photo designed by Conor Revell

Cue up the song “We Are The Champions!” Let the confetti fly. It’s time to honor the Louisville Catholic athletes and teams that won state championships in the 2016-’17 academic year.

Some of the champs have repeated so much that they deserve to be known as “dynasties.” The public and the media have mixed feelings about such programs. On the other hand, their excellence is admired. But on the other, their dominance is resented.

The late Frank Deford, who became one of America’s iconic sports commentators during his 50-plus career with Sports Illustrated, addressed that very topic when talking about the UConn women’s basketball program on National Public Radio.

“…sports fans have allegiances to their teams so that when somebody else's team dominates, we get annoyed. By golly, it's just not fair. Give somebody else a chance,” Deford said. But then he ended his commentary with this: “Majesty is a thing of beauty to behold whatever the particular enterprise.”

Other of our Catholic champions, of course, are experiencing the majesty and magic of a championship for the first time. They learned what they “dynasties” learned a long time ago: That a championship in sports – or any endeavor, for that matter – can uplift the spirits of a school or a community.

From now on, long after the trophies have become tarnished and the uniforms stored away, everybody involved with a championship team will at least be partly defined by that singular achievement.

Nobody in the Louisville media knows more about all the Catholic championship teams than Conor Revell, our high school sports editor. He covered them all, usually multiple times. All the coaches and players know Conor, and respect him, because he always seems to be there.

So we asked Conor to give us a snapshot on the championship teams and athletes of 2016-’17:

1. Sacred Heart golf (fifth title  in six years)  

The Revell Report: “The Valkyries started a new streak of winning state titles. Lone senior Morgan Tinsley moved up 40 spots from the previous year to finish in the top 10 at state while Ryan Bender and Erin Rowland joined her in the top 10.” 

2. St. Xavier golf (third straight) 

The Revell Report: “The Tigers lost five Division I golfers and were replaced by a group that had never played in a state tournament. The result was the same. Senior Clay Amlung walked away with a second place finish in his only state tournament.” 

3. Trinity football 

The Revell Report: “What a year it was. The Rocks reclaimed the top spot in Class 6-A with its first perfect season since 2011 as senior quarterback Spencer Blackburn put on a show in his only year as a varsity starter.” 

4. Sacred Heart volleyball (first since 2002) 

The Revell Report: “The Valkyries sent Assumption and legendary Hall of Fame coach Ron Kordes home packing before the state tournament for the second time in three years. Outside hitter and Miss Volleyball Paige Hammons and first-year head coach Brett Versen then went to work and brought a state volleyball title to Sacred Heart for the second time in school history.” 

5. Sacred Heart swimming (fifth straight, seventh in eight years) 

The Revell Report: “The Valkyries’ dominance at the state meet continued with their fifth straight state title. Brooke Forde put on a show, winning two individual and two relay titles. She was later named KHSAA Female Athlete of the Year.” 

6. St. Xavier swimming (29th straight) 

The Revell Report: “If 29 straight titles doesn’t qualify as a dynasty, they might as well take the word out of the dictionary. The Tigers are tied with Phoenix Brophy Prep (Ariz.) swimming for the most ever state titles won in a row (both current streaks).” 

7. Presentation volleyball (second straight All "A" state title) 

The Revell Report: “Led by the Story sisters (Jalen and Jenna) and Cassie Jones, the Toppers overcame adversity and won the downtown school its second ever state title.” 

8. Holy Cross softball (third straight All "A" state title)

The Revell Report: “The Cougars had played in two dramatic small school state title games the previous two years, but this year was different: They outscored their opponents by an incredible 29-0 in four games. Holy Cross beat Pikeville 6-0 to win the title.”

9. Holy Cross baseball (first ever All "A" state title)

The Revell Report: “In his 50th and final season, Pat Wiegandt won his first and only state title of his career. The Cougars defeated Caldwell County 5-3 in eight innings.” 

10. Trinity lacrosse (first since 2013) 

The Revell Report: “St. Xavier had won the previous three state titles, but goalkeeper Michael Webb said it best: "There will be no "four peat!" The title was especially sweet for longtime coach Pete Schroeder.”

11. St. Xavier cross country (second straight, fifth in six year years) 

The Revell Report: “Chuck Medly and his runners dominated at the state meet once more. Patrick Schaefer led the way with a third-place finish.” 

12. Assumption Field Hockey

The Revell Report: “A year after being stunned in the state semifinals by Manual on overtime, the Rockets returned the favor beating the Crimsons in overtime in the state finals. That was just two days after beating archrival Sacred  Heart in overtime in the semifinals.”

13. St. Xavier tennis (wins ninth straight state title)

The Revell: “New coach, new scoring system, same results. The Tigers dominated at the state tournament and brought home another title. Spencer Blanford and Cameron Preston teamed together to win the doubles state title.”

14. Individual champions

The Revell Report: “Holy Cross got championships from Keeton Thornsberry (Class A cross country and Class A 1,600 and 3,200), and Mario Convenuto (discus). Trinity’s Ahmad Johnson, David Spalding, Alex Wilson, and Rondale Moore won the 4x200 meter relay (track and field). And Trinity’s Hunter Tapp won the 50 and 100 free in swimming.”

Everybody at the Louisville Catholic Sports Network congratulates the champions, and thanks all the athletes, coaches, and administrators, whether they won titles or not, for their cooperation and help throughout the season.

We wish everyone a safe and happy summer.


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