2011 Award Winners

Women's College Athlete of the Year Award Winner
Xavier University

Amber Harris

Women's High School Athlete of the Year Award Winner
Notre Dame Academy

Ellen Williamson

This year’s winners are:

The Lifetime Service Award - Jane Meier

High School coach of the Year - Robert Hardin

Master Sportswoman of the Year - Rainey Rohrmeier

The Wilma Rudolph Courage Award - Jeanna Goettelman

College Coach of the Year is Kevin McGuff

Donna de Varona Spirit of Sports Award - Anita Burke

College Sportswoman of the Year for women’s basketball - Nicole Dickman of Thomas More College

College Sportswoman of the Year for volleyball - Stephanie Niemer of University of Cincinnati

College Sportswoman of the Year for swimming - Kelsey Vehr of Miami University

College Sportswoman of the Year Award for soccer - Brooke Livingston of Miami University

College Sportswoman of the Year for Field Hockey - Mary Hull of Miami University

College Sportswoman of the Year Award for basketball - Amber Harris of Xavier University

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for track - Anna Carrigan of Campbell County High School

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for basketball - Lauren Tibbs of Scott High School

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for swimming - Ellen Williamson of Notre Dame Academy

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for track and field - Brianna McCarthy of Beechwood High School

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for golf - Emily Wright of Mason High School

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for tennis - Alyssa Ritchie of Waynesville High School

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for soccer - Ellyn Gruber of St. Ursula

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for volleyball - Kori Moster of Ursuline Academy.

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for cross country and track - Michelle Thomas of Glen Este High School.

High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for softball - Erika Leonard of Mother of Mercy High School


The Lifetime Service Award goes to Jane Meier of Edgewood.  She is the recently-retired athletic director and coach at Northern Kentucky University. She began at NKU in 1978 as head volleyball coach, also coaching softball and women's basketball at the university before becoming its athletic director in 1988. During her tenure, NKU captured a pair of national championships, 20 regional titles and 61 Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) regular-season or tournament championships. In all, Northern Kentucky tallied a total of 76 NCAA Tournament appearances under her leadership, including 13 final four trips. Northern Kentucky captured the GLVC All-Sports trophy six times under Meier's watch. Academically, NKU produced 11 postgraduate scholarship winners during Meier's career and 24 student-athletes were named Scholar-Athlete of the Year in their respective sports. Two student-athletes were NCAA Today's Top VIII Award winners. Nationally, Meier served on a variety of NCAA committees, including volleyball (regionally and nationally), basketball (regionally and nationally), Nominating, DII President's Council Media Advisory Group and the Executive Committee Membership Group. On campus, Meier oversaw NKU basketball's transition into the state-of-the-art The Bank of Kentucky Center in November 2008. Two other facilities were constructed during her time at NKU - The Frank Ignatius Grein Softball Field and The Joyce Yeager Tennis Complex. In 2003-04, she was selected by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics as Southeast Region Athletics Director of the Year. She was named 2004 DII Administrator of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators. During 2000-01, she was Women's Basketball Coaches Association's National Administrator of the Year and, in 2008, was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame. She has also been inducted into the Villa Madonna Academy, Greater Cincinnati Basketball and Northern Kentucky High School Athletics Directors Hall of Fames. The Division II Athletics Directors Association recently announced Meier is the recipient of the 2011 DII ADA Lifetime Achievement Award, which she will receive in June in Orlando, FL. The Award recognizes an AD who, over the course of his/her career, has made an exemplary contribution to Division II athletics and the student-athlete experience. 


High School coach of the Year is Bellevue’s Robert Hardin, the tennis coach at Notre Dame Academy. He is an exceptional role model and truly passionate about teaching the game of tennis to players of all ages. Rob relies on humor to effectively deliver his knowledge, principles and discipline to his high school players. Rob is well organized and structured, yet he exercises great balance when combining hard work, fairness and fun into the day to day operation of the program. He was 2010 National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year Semifinalist, 2010 National Federation Coaches Association Sectional Coach of the Year, 2010 Kentucky High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year, 2010 Kentucky High School State Tennis Championship, 2010 Kentucky Enquirer Coach of the Year. Rob has been actively coaching high school tennis since 1991. In his 15th year coaching tennis at Notre Dame Academy, his lifetime record is 139-23. His teams have produced 15 consecutive regional championships, 2 state runner-up titles and 3 state championships titles (1997, 1998, 2010).


Master Sportswoman of the Year is Rainey Rohrmeier of Harrison, Ohio.  An electrician at General Electric, she is a superb athlete, administrator and coach of several sports.     Rainey began competing in Senior Games in 2005, her first year of eligibility, and has won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals in golf, cycling, table tennis, basketball, track & field, race walking and marathon in the Southwest Ohio Senor Olympics, the Ohio Senior Olympics, the Kentucky Senior Games, and the National Senior Games Association.  She has been the General Electric Employees Activities Association women’s golf club champion 16 times, completed the Flying Pig Marathon in 2000 and 2004 and walked it in 2010.  “When female athletes see women coaching, officiating, and in administrative roles, they see an opportunity they can aspire to as well,” she says. “My coaching career includes girls’ basketball 3rd through 12th grades.  I've worked as a High School referee in girls and boys basketball, volleyball, and softball, started the girls varsity golf program at Seton High School and coached girls soccer and boys knothole baseball.”  She was athletic director at Marian High School in 1978 and 1979 and served 13 years on the General Electric Employees Activities Association Board of Trustees, 9 as President.  She served a term on the Seton High School Board of Trustees and volunteered with the UC Athletic Department in awarding varsity letters to women who competed prior to NCAA affiliation. Since 2008, she has been a Big East Officials Observer for UC Women’s Basketball.


The Wilma Rudolph Courage Award goes to Mason resident Jeanna Goettelman.  Jeanna was a successful student-athlete in soccer for the first three years of her career - 2004, 2005, and 2006 at Northern Kentucky University.  A regular starter, she helped NKU to great success including a GLVC Championship. During the spring of 2007, she began to experience a number of difficulties which caused her to have to leave school.  After overcoming many medical obstacles and very difficult physical challenges, Jeanna returned to NKU in the spring of 2010 and played her senior year this past fall, starting in 15 games. She is on schedule to graduate in May. 


College Coach of the Year is Kevin McGuff , Xavier’s women’s basketball coach.  Arriving in June 2002, he inherited a Xavier team that had been 12-19 the previous season. The McGuff-led Musketeers quickly showed this was a new team with a gritty win on the road at Pepperdine to open the season and won seven of its first eight games. At the end of the year, McGuff had led Xavier to a 20-10 record. The turnaround from the previous season was the largest among the 55 teams who had new coaches in 2002-03. The No. 5 Xavier women's basketball team earned the No. 2 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the highest it has ever attained and this marks the fifth-straight appearance in the Big Dance. The Musketeers entered the tournament with a record of 28-2, including a spotless 17-0 in the Atlantic 10. McGuff has won more games than any coach in Xavier history. 2011 marks the 10th NCAA appearance all-time for the Musketeers and the 13th time in the last 14 seasons that Xavier has reached national postseason play. The women's program owns a 7-10 all-time record in the tournament, including 2010's "Elite Eight" run.


Donna de Varona Spirit of Sports Award goes to Anita Burke of Hughes High School. She has worked tirelessly for her players and gym students at Hughes. She is well-respected in the community for her integrity and sportsmanship. After losing six seniors in volleyball last year, the one returning player and the entire JV team won the CMAC this year over league favorite Withrow.  Moving right into basketball season, despite losing four starting seniors from the previous year, she led Hughes to the Co-Championship of the CMAC. The basketball team went 15-5, and feature two student-athletes who have received full scholarships to play basketball in college. Anita has 392 basketball career wins. If her softball team wins the league, Hughes will have won the triple crown with Anita’s influence in all three.  She excels at coaching and teaching. Her gym classes are hands on and sought-after by students. She has changed a large number of young lives over her years with CAPE, Walnut Hills, and Hughes.  Her understanding of young people is second to none.


Six Finalists for Overall College Sportswoman of the Year – One to be Chosen


College Sportswoman of the Year for women’s basketball is Nicole Dickman of Park Hills. She plays for Thomas More College where she is a senior in nursing. She has led the team to a 22-0 record and a No. 1 national ranking. She averages 13.2 ppg and 7.3 rebounds per game. She was named the Jan. 3 Presidents' Athletic Conference Player of the Week. “Nicole has been instrumental in the rise of the TMC women's basketball program,” says Brian Neal. “During her career, she has scored 1,420 points (3rd most in school history) and has 817 rebounds. Three Conference Championships, three NCAA tournament appearances - during her four years, her class is the all-time winner with a record of 105-8.”  “Nicole is probably the most recognized athlete on campus and handles the spotlight very well,” adds Lindsay Bramhall. “She is a great team leader, a natural talent, and a pleasant person to be around. More awards are to come for Nicole in the next few weeks.”


College Sportswoman of the Year for volleyball is Stephanie Niemer of Erlanger.  She plays for the University of Cincinnati where she is a senior in marketing. She is the first player in UC history to earn a selection on the AVCA All-America Second Team after finishing the season ranked fourth in the NCAA in kills per set and third in points per set. Volleyball Magazine named her a First Team All-American in Feb. 2011. The 2010 Big East Player of the Year, she was named an AVCA All-Regional performer and ended her career ranked first in UC history in service aces and second in kills and kills per set. She received six Big East Player of the Week awards in 2010, a single-season conference record. She also earned the National Player of Week award from The Collegiate Volleyball Update. Prior to the season, she was selected as the Big East preseason player of the year and led the team to the regular season Big East championship and to the second round of the NCAA tournament. She now plays professionally in Puerto Rico for the first-place Indias de Mayquez. “Stephanie Niemer is one of those rare student-athletes who exemplifies natural talents, a strong work-ethic and a passion to excel in every area of her life,” says Maggie McKinley. “She is the true definition of a winner. For the past four years, Stephanie has been a role model for all our female student-athletes by upholding a standard of athletic and academic excellence while carrying out her commitment to community service.”


College Sportswoman of the Year for swimming is Kelsey Vehr. Considered one of Miami University's greatest athletes in any sport, in her career, Kelsey has won 10 Mid-American Conference titles in breaststroke and individual medley, holds four MAC records and as a junior, was Miami's first-ever women's swimming All-American at the NCAA Championships.  She recently qualified for the 2011 NCAA Championships in three different events.  As a junior, she was named to Division I Mid-Major All-American Team by CollegeSwimming.com and won a team-high 17 individual events and helped seven relay teams to first-place finishes during the regular season. At St. Ursula Academy she was a three-time all-American in the relay events and anchored SUA's 400 freestyle relay team, helping the team to third-place state finish in 2006. She was named to the Cincinnati Enquirer all-city team as a junior.


College Sportswoman of the Year Award for soccer goes to Brooke Livingston of Lisle, IL . She plays for Miami University in Ohio, where she is a senior in exercise science. She is captain of Miami’s team, 1st team All Conference, 1st team All State, Academic All Conference, and CoSida/ESPN Academic All District.  “Brooke epitomizes the term ‘student-athlete,’ says Bobby Kramig, Miami’s head soccer coach. “She is of high ethical character, honest and loyal without fail. She speaks her mind yet always conducts herself with class and dignity. Intellectually she is very bright and Brooke combines this with a wonderful personality and sense of humor.”

College Sportswoman of the Year for Field Hockey is Mary Hull of Oxford, OH. The Miami University senior is majoring in sports studies and gerontology.  She is a two-time All-MAC First Team (2009, 2010), Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-West Region First Team (2010), Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-West Region Second Team (2009), and Two-time MAC All-Academic Team (2009, 2010). “Mary has recovered from two ACL reconstructions within her career at Miami and has returned in her 5th year to captain her team to its 1st MAC championship in program history,” says Jill Reeve. “She is one of the best athletes to matriculate through this program. She’s not only a perfect example of an all-around Division I student-athlete, she is also a wonderful person who has been an honor and a pleasure to coach.”


College Sportswoman of the Year Award for basketball is Xavier’s Amber Harris of Indianapolis. The redshirt senior is a criminal justice major. Amber was an integral part of Xavier’s run to the Elite Eight in last year's NCAA Tournament. Xavier's first-ever WBCA State Farm All-American in 2010, she was named an AP Third Team All-American and 2010 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. She has been named to the Naismith Midseason Top 30 list, is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and the Wooden Award Midseason Top 20. Amber was named to the Preseason A-10 All-Conference First Team, Sporting News' Preseason All-America First Team and to the Lindy's Sports and Athlon Sports All-American Second Teams. She is Xavier's all-time blocked shots leader and ranks second in points and rebounds. She is only the second player in Xavier history to pass the 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound mark. She volunteers in the Cincinnati Race for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research, speaks to young men and women about the importance of school and athletics and works four or five girls’ basketball clinics per year with grades 1-8. “Amber has been described by her coaches as a player that comes along once every few years,” says Jenna Wilhoit. “She has never been complacent as an individual or as to where her team can go. She came to Xavier as one of the best players in the country and five years later still wants to improve and help her team improve. Given the chance to enter the WNBA draft, leaving school a year early, she elected to return to Xavier for her final year of eligibility. Not many female student-athletes have the opportunity to leave early for the professional ranks and Amber was one of the first high-profile players to opt to remain in school given the chance. She was named a WBCA State Farm All-American after last season and with all of her accolades, the coaching staff at Xavier feels like she is their once-in-a-lifetime player.”


Ten Finalists for Overall High School Sportswoman of the Year – One to be Chosen


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for track goes to Anna Carrigan of CampbellCounty.A senior at Campbell County High School, Anna has excelled in the classroom and as a track student-athlete.  She led the Camels to the Class 3A state track championship in 2010, the first team title in school history.  She has won the individual 400 meters at state the past two years and anchored the state champion 4×200 and 4×400 relays each year, when the Camels produced a pair of record times.  Anna was selected as Kentucky Enquirer Athlete of the Year. She also earned the 2009 and 2010 Northern Kentucky Female Track Athlete of the Year.  She holds the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference record in the 400 meter dash and two relay records in the 4 x 200 meter and the 4 x 400 meter.  She holds eight Campbell County records and is also is a member of the Campbell County varsity soccer team.  She volunteers as a mentor to an elementary student in the Big Brother & Big Sister program.  She is a volunteer youth soccer coach and works with the youth of her church.  Anna ranks seventh in her class and will continue her education and track career at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.  


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for basketball goes to Lauren Tibbs ofTaylor Mill, a senior at Scott high School. She is a two-time NKYGBCA Player of the Year, two-time 10th Region Coaches Association Player of the Year, and NKAC Div 1 Player of the Year, 2nd Team All State by Lexington Herald and Louisville Courier Journal, Kenton County Classic All tournament team, and led the 10th Region and Northern KY in scoring and second in rebounding. She broke the school record for most points scored, most rebounds, and most blocked shots. Lauren is also student council secretary, member of FBLA, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Principal's Advisory Council, and Superintendent's Advisory Council. “Lauren has won many awards and continues to be recognized for her achievements on the court,” says Rhonda Klette.” However it is her work off the court that makes her stand out. She is a true leader by putting herself out there to make difference for others. She is involved in various leadership councils at school and on a district level, in which students are chosen by the principal and superintendent. Her participation speaks to her leadership ability and achievement. Lauren is a tremendous student-athlete and one of the hardest working players I have ever coached. Her passion and enthusiasm for the game is extraordinary which has enabled her to reach her goal of playing Division 1 basketball and taking our team to new heights. She has been a great ambassador and role model for all students at Scott High School.” She has signed a letter of intent to play at Marquette University.


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for swimming goes to Ellen Williamson of Fort Mitchell. The Notre Dame Academy senior has received a full swimming scholarship to the University of Virginia. Ellen is Regional Champ and Record Holder in 4 events. She is 2011 Region 4 Swimmer, 3-time All-State First Team, 6-time High School All American High School Academic All American, 4-time Conference Swimmer of the Year, 3-time All-Region First Team. She has been a Cincinnati Enquirer All-Star Team for 3 years and a LaRosa's MVP. She is on the USA National Youth Team, September 2010 NCSA Junior National All-Star team competing in Ireland, 2009 World Championship Trials Qualifier, two top-12 finishes in USA Junior Nationals Long Course. She is involved with Special Olympics, is a volunteer swim instructor at NKU, a volunteer coach for young swimmers for the Northern Kentucky Clippers Swim Team, a teacher’s assistant in Latonia Elementary School, and is a member of the National Honor Society. "Ellen's determination, dedication, and desire set her apart from many other student- athletes,” says Emily Maier Head Swimming Coach for Notre Dame Academy. “She focuses daily on both short and long term goals.  She attacks every race she's entered in and never ceases to amaze!"


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for track and field goes to Brianna McCarthy of Fort Mitchell, a senior at Beechwood High School. She was the 2010 KHSAA Class A State Discus Champion and 2010 Class A State Shot Put Runner-Up. A member of the Greater Cincinnati All-Area Track Team, she was named 1st Team All-State for both events. She currently holds school records in both events. A two-sport athlete, she also excels in basketball. Brianna was selected as the school representative for the Regional Youth Leadership Program and is president of pep club, a member of student council, volunteer club, and Future Educators of America. “Brianna is an outstanding young woman who has worked very hard to achieve,” said Alison Stokes. “She is deserving of being honored as the High School Sports Woman of the Year. As a two-time state champion in discus, she aspires to be a three-time state champion by winning this year and aspires to win in the shot put as well. Her goals include breaking both state records. She exhibits great sportsmanship in every athletic event and is the epitome of the phrase ‘student-athlete.’ Brianna is truly a positive role model for all underclassmen at Beechwood and for students anywhere.”


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for golf goes to Emily Wright.  She led Mason High School to three consecutive Ohio Division I state titles in 2008, 2009, and 2010, making it the first Ohio team to win three consecutive girls’ golf state titles. She won the individual state title as a senior in 2010 and is a two-time state first team honoree. Named the Cincinnati Enquirer Division I Player of the Year in 2008, 2009 and 2010, she was the No. 2 girls golfer in the state of Ohio according to juniorgolfscoreboard.com at the time of her signing with Wake Forest University.  She won the 2009 Cincinnati Women's Metropolitan, becoming the first junior champion in the event's 95-year history.  Emily earned the College Board AP Scholar Award and has been named to the Dean's List all four years.


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for tennis goes to Alyssa Ritchie. She is a senior at Waynesville High School. Alyssa returned to state for the third time in her high school career as the defending state champion in Division II Girl's Singles, claiming the title for the second year in a row. Waynesville declared an Alyssa Ritchie Day. She compiled a 33-0 record winning the league, sectional, and district titles prior to placing first at state. She was voted Player of the Year for the second year in a row by the Miami Valley Tennis Coaches' Association. Alyssa was team captain and voted Most Valuable Player. She was Channel 7 News Athlete of the Week and a State Finalists for the Wendy's High School Heisman. She also travels and competes in USTA junior tournaments, ranked first in the Ohio Valley and eleventh in the Midwest for the Girl's 18 and under division. She represented the Ohio Valley as a member of the Junior Davis Cup Team which placed second at the event for teams all across the Midwest. Alyssa is very involved in a variety of school activities and also spends time volunteering in the community. In her service as class president of student council for the last four years, she has been able to impact the lives of others. She is a member of National Honor Society and is treasurer of the National Art Honor Society, making art with residents at a nursing home. As a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, she planned Red Ribbon Week to promote staying drug- free. She is secretary of the Spanish Club, volunteers at a home for adults with physical and mental disabilities, and is chairwoman of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Drive. “Alyssa is a student athlete that not only shines on the court, but who also excels in the classroom,” says Tim Gabbard. ”She is the valedictorian with a 4.748 weighted GPA (4.0 unweighted). She challenged herself taking all honors and AP courses available. She is a confident young individual who balances tennis, track, academics, school clubs, and still makes time to help the community. I am confident Alyssa will continue to have success in college, medical school, and beyond. She also plans to play college tennis.”   


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for soccer goes to Ellyn Gruber of St. Ursula. The senior wasPlayer of the Year for both the GGCL and Southwest Ohio, leading St. Ursula to an 18-1 record and leading the league in goals and assists. She was chosen First Team All-State and an NSCAA regional all-star.  “In four years as a varsity soccer player at St Ursula, Ellen has been part of 2 state championship teams, helping the program to a 76-4-5 record, with 54 goals and 31 assists,” says Dave Ruehl. “She has played all levels of the field during her career - defender, midfielder, and forward. In my 16 years as a high school coach I have not coached a player who has worked harder or was as competitive as Ellen Gruber.”


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for volleyball goes to Kori Moster, a senior at Ursuline Academy.  She is 1st Team AVCA All American, 1st Team All State, District Player of the Year, GGCL Player of the Year, 1st Team All GGCL, Northeast Ohio All Tournament Team Captain, 27-1 overall record League, Sectional, District, Regional Champs, State Final Four, Candidate for Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year (2010) She broke school records for Digs in a match, Digs in a season, and Aces in a season. Kori is also involved with Compassion International, Kids' Cafe, Peers as Leaders, Relay for Life, coaches 7th grade volleyball at St. Margaret of York, and is a volleyball camp instructor at Sports Express. “Kori is being nominated by the Southwest Volleyball Coaches Association,” says Jeni Case. “Her overall record for the last 3 years is 84-2. She has led the team to 3 regular undefeated seasons. She is the Best defensive player that I have ever coached in my 20 years and has accepted a full volleyball scholarship to Michigan State. She has a great work ethic and always tries her hardest. She is an awesome kid on and off the court. Kori is a great role model and great influence for younger girls!!”


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for cross country and track goes to Michelle Thomas, a senior at Glen Este High School.  She was the State Champion in the 3200 in the 2010 OHSAA track meet and cross country State Champion in the 2010 State Cross Country Division 1 meet. She is a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers on a regular basis, while being involved in dance outside of school. “Michelle is a model student and person at Glen Este,” says Dan Simmons. “She strives to always do her best in and out of the classroom. Her dedication to her grades, sport, and teammates is something all students and adults should strive to accomplish.” 


High School Sportswoman of the Year Award for softball goes to Erika Leonard of Cincinnati,a senior at Mother of Mercy High School.  She was named Top Shelf Sports Grille and the Western Hills Press Athlete of the Week for April 7, 2010 and Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Women's Sports Association High School Player of the Year for Softball in 2010. She was 2010 Southwest District All-State Metro Player, 2nd Team 2010 Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Scholar Athlete. In 2010, she led the GGCL in batting average and received the 2010 GGCL Softball 1st Team All-Star Award. She was also 2010 GGCL Softball Co-Player of the Year, 2010 Cincinnati Enquirer Division II 1st Team Softball Award, and 2010 Mother of Mercy High School Player of the Year. Erika holds 4 of Mercy's school softball records. Last spring, she broke the record for most runs scored in a single season with 38. She volunteers at The Drop-Inn Center, Bethany House, and Holy Family Food Pantry and assists in preparation of students for confirmation. “Erika is a very dedicated athlete who is constantly working hard to improve her game,” says Stefanie Kathman. “Outside of practice, she finds time to work individually with a hitting and catching coach. She encourages her teammates and is a positive role model on and off the field. Erika was asked in 2009 to try out for Florida Gold Coast Hurricanes, one of the top three U18 gold softball teams in the United States, playing with them since 2009. She excels in her sport and in her academic studies as well. She feels it is important to be involved in her community and proves this by volunteering.”