2018 Award Winners
Mary Jo Huismann Administrator of the Year: Jennie Gilbert, Miami University
Jennie Gilbert has been the senior women’s administrator at Miami for the last 10 years, serving as primary administrator for 11 sports in the athletic department. She attended Mercy High School and among her coaches and teachers was Mary Jo Huismann.
Donna deVarona Spirit of Sport Award: Janet Smith, Hamilton County Special Olympics
Janet Smith serves as executive director of Hamilton County Special Olympics but does so much more, including organizing events, driving athletes to competitions, and cheering each and every Special Olympian on to victory. Leading Special Olympics for more than three decades, Janet Smith demonstrates what it means to be a selfless leader.
Lauren Hill Courage Award (College): Jenna Fessler, Thomas More College
Jenna was First Team All Conference and a Co-SIDA Academic All American for Thomas More in volleyball, all after sitting out a year after contracting West Nile Virus. She was in a coma, battled encephalitis and meningitis in 2016 before returning to play one year later.
Lauren Hill Courage Award (High School): Allison Robertson, Notre Dame Academy
Last September, Allison broke her neck and damaged her spinal cord in an accident and sat out most of her junior year after having surgery to fuse two of her vertebrae. She returned to Notre Dame’s soccer team her senior season and helped lead the team to the state championship game and set the NDA single season assist record.
Lifetime Service Award: Theresa Check
Theresa Check was women’s basketball coach and athletic director at Cincinnati State, where she was inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. She also was head coach at Alter High School and coach and athletic director at Central State and is a member of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.
Business of the Year: Oxford Physical Therapy
Oxford Physical Therapy supports more than 50 non-profits with free medical support and financial contributions. During the 2017 season Oxford Physical Therapy provided free medical care for the Cincinnati Sirens women’s soccer team and is the physical therapy partner for a number of high school athletic programs in the Tri-State.
Masters Award: Carolyn Mindel
Carolyn started golfing at the age of 39 and competed in her first Senior Olympics at age 50. At the Senior Olympics, she was a national silver medalist five times, including once just five months after her second hip replacement. She also tied for fourth at the Senior Women’s Met in 2017.
Inspirational Sportswoman of the Year: Freedom Fogt, St. Henry High School
Freedom has been the softball coach for Saint Henry for seven years and has had multiple surgeries connected with her diabetes that have now left her a double amputee. But that has not slowed her down, as she has led the team to District wins in 2012 and 2014 and a Regional win in 2012. She is truly an inspiration to her team, her school and her community.
High School Coach of the Year: Jeni Case, Ursuline Academy
Jeni Case led Ursuline Academy to the Ohio Division I state championship in volleyball this past season with a 28-1 record. In 2016 she earned her 400th career win. A star volleyball player in high school and college, she has coached at Ursuline since 2006 and was named AVCA High School Coach of the Year in 2016.
College Coach of the Year: Susan Seaton, University of Cincinnati
Susan has guided the University of Cincinnati to back to back American Athletic Conference outdoor track and field championships before winning the program’s first indoor title this year. The 2018 indoor team had seven individual champions, more than any other school, and had two national runners-up at the NCAA Indoor Championships, placing 12th overall, the highest national finish ever.
High School Players of the Year
Basketball: Sammie Puisis, Mason High School
Bowling: Audrey Wilson, Seven Hills School
Cross Country: Samantha Bush, Turpin High School
Golf: Katie Hallinan, Walnut Hills High School
Soccer: Ravin Alexander, Summit Country Day
Softball: Rachel Lewis, Lakota East High School
Swimming: Co-Players of the Year: Cora Dupre, Mariemont High School, Sophie Skinner, Notre Dame Academy
Track: J’Alyiea Smith, Withrow High School
Volleyball: Ali Thompson, Ursuline Academy
College Players of the Year
Basketball: Abby Owings, Thomas More College
Cross Country: Madeline Britton, Xavier University
Field Hockey: Paula Portugal, Miami University
Golf: Mikayla Fitzpatrick, Xavier University
Lacrosse: Monica Borzillo, University of Cincinnati
Soccer: Macy Hamblin, Northern Kentucky University
Softball: Alix DeDreu, Thomas More College
Swimming and Diving: Pei Lin, Miami
Tennis: Brooke Warden, Thomas More College
Track and Field: Loretta Blaut, University of Cincinnati
Volleyball: Olivia Rusek, Miami University