Comets Checkmate the GMC For 7th Consecutive GMC Chess Title
The Mason Comet Chess "juggernaut" steamrolled a tough GMC chess slate to finish with an undefeated 14-0 season record. This was the Comets 7th consecutive GMC league title; their 11th in the last 12 seasons. Guided by Head Coach Keith Brackenridge, who notched his 20th GMC Championship as a GMC Chess Head Coach (6 titles at Mason and 14 with the Sycamore Aviators). His commitment to the sport and his students are appreciated and to be commended.
Mason Comets GMC Champions 2022
GMC chess competition provides an opportunity for students to interact and compete for their schools. Popularity of this activity is evidenced by this "action" shot of the last day of league competition. The GMC "Chess Thunderdome" event was graciously hosted by Sycamore High School, who proved to be an outstanding host for this season ending activity. Many thanks to the Athletic Director Mark Harden and the Aviators for their outstanding hospitality!
(photos compliments of Keith Brackenridge)
DICK'S Sporting Goods Salutes GMC Chess Superstars
Update provided by Keith Brackenridge:
Greg Dodge - Fairfield HS Chess Coach - was voted by his peers as GMC Chess Coach of the Year. Coach Dodge has been the head coach at Fairfield for 15 years, and he has worked tirelessly to improve his program. He even shares his chess improvement materials with players from other schools whose coaches are trying to build up and improve their own programs. Jason Wang - 11th grade student at Mason High School - was voted by the coaches as GMC Player of the Year. This is his 2nd consecutive POY award, and it's his third time making 1st-team all-GMC. Jason is undefeated and untied in 3 years playing first board for Mason High School.
Fairfield's Head Chess Coach Greg Dodge and Mason's Jason Wang
Photo compliments of Keith Brackenridge
DICK’S Sporting Goods Honors GMC Football Standouts
DICK’S Sporting Goods appreciates outstanding achievements in a wide variety of athletic endeavors. This past GMC varsity football season provided numerous opportunities to celebrate milestone achievements within the conference both by players and coaches.
Hailing from the league champion Lakota West Firebirds, QB Mitch Bolden was selected by GMC coaches as the “Offensive Player of the Year”. This rare four-year starter at the quarterback position has led the Firebirds to three consecutive conference titles on their way to two straight OHSAA Regional Final appearances. Mitch Bolden’s leadership and poise under fire has been instrumental to Lakota West’s offensive success story. After three years as a first team All GMC quarterback, Mitch Bolden perhaps saved his best for last. He led the GMC in total passing yards with 2532 and 28 touchdowns, combined with 675 yards rushing on 162 attempts for a total offensive yardage total of 3,207, surpassing only Fairfield’s Talon Fisher who registered 2,952 total yards. For his exceptional efforts and leadership this year, Mitch Bolden was selected as the GMC “Offensive Player of the Year”.
Mitch Bolden (Lakota West) – “GMC Offensive Player of the Year”
On the defensive side of the ball, Lakota West’s Malik Hartford was selected by the GMC head coaches as the conference “Defensive Player of the Year”. This two-time first team all-conference selection anchored a nearly impenetrable secondary that held opponents to a scant 47 passing yards per game. Hartford, a “ball hawking” free safety was not only an outstanding “cover” defensive back but was also a dynamic run support force that enabled the Firebird defense to hold opponents to a mere 111 yards per game on the ground. This is the same defense that only relinquished 8.8 points per game. Hartford’s defensive statistics are equally impressive with 26 solo tackles, 14 assists and 4 tackles for losses. He also added two interceptions, one being a “pick 6” against the Mason Comets to seal the game. A multi-talented athlete, Malik filled many spot roles for the offense by returning punts and also receiving passes. This Ohio State commit was widely recognized across the GMC as being defensively the “Best of the Best” and as a result the GMC Head Coaches named Malik Hartford as the “Defensive Player of the Year”.
One of the highest honors a coach can achieve is to be appreciated by his coaching peers. In only his third year as head football coach for the Oak Hills Highlanders, Justin Roden was selected by his GMC head coaching colleagues as their 2022 “Coach of the Year”. Building a program is 12-month commitment with a great deal of dedication required to lay the foundations for future successes. The development and emphasis of the Highlander off-season weight program has been instrumental to the Oak Hills success story. In recognition of Coach Roden’s efforts and advancement of the Highlander football program, the GMC head coaches selected him for this “COY” accolade. After a 2021 season where the Highlanders did not dent the win column, the 2022 campaign saw a dramatic improvement where they improved to 4-5 in the conference and a 5-5 overall regular season record. In addition to being the GMC “Coach of the Year” for 2022, Coach Justin Roden has also been selected as the Cincinnati Bengals “Coach of the Week” and will be honored at the December 11th home game vs. Cleveland. Congratulations to Coach Roden for a job well done. Your extra efforts on behalf of your student-athletes are genuinely appreciated.
Head Coach Justin Roden (Oak Hills) – “GMC Coach of the Year”
Mason Wins Boys and Girls OHSAA State Cross Country Titles
Mason SID, Dan Hilen Press Release:
(pictures courtesy of Joe Schachleiter and Mason XC)
The 2022 Mason Boys Cross Country team finished their fine season with their second consecutive state championship at Fortress Obetz on Saturday. The Comets cemented their name as one of the all-time great cross-country programs in the history of the OHSAA. It is their fourth state championship also claiming state titles in 2008, 2014, and 2021.
The Mason boys join Hudson (2017/2018), St. Xavier (2012/2013), and Lasalle (2003/2004) as Division 1 boys teams that have won consecutive CC titles in the last 20+ years. Mason boys have not lost to a team from Ohio in the past two years and finish the 2022 season as the undisputed #1 team in Ohio.
This year's title for the boys was won with grit and determination. The team did not have their best day, but they certainly had enough. The Comets (128 points) built a huge lead and held on as rival, runner-up St. Xavier (142 points) was closing fast.
Junior Max Liao earned a place on the podium with an all-Ohio performance in 18th place. He was followed by Senior James Mroczka who closed hard to finish 32nd. Junior Brendan Roe ran a superb race as the third man.
The Comets exhibited their depth by having the best 4th, 5th, and 6th men in the state in Junior Jerry Xu, Senior Aidan Markich, and Senior Braeden Fedders.
While Senior Isaac Schachleiter struggled on the day, it is clear the Comets would not have pulled off the victory without his season-long leadership.
The male Comets shared the podium with their female counterparts as the girls won their third state championship in program history. The 2002 Hilliard Davidson HS CC program is the only other modern-era division 1 program that has earned victories in both the boy's and girls' state championships in the same year.
On a windy, warm, Saturday in early November, the Mason Girls' Cross Country team captured their 3rd state title and 5th trip to the podium at the State Cross Country Meet at Fortress Obetz. The Comet girls also won back-to-back CC titles in 2012 and 2013.
On this day the ladies were in an all-out war with the Hilliard Davidson Wildcats who came to fight, and it took everything the Comets had to win another state championship.
The team came through the first-mile mark with a solid lead, but the HD girls were closing in fast. During the 2nd mile, the girls held their position and looked primed for the win. However, in the third mile, the Comets faltered a bit, and HD was once again closing fast!
Thanks to some very tough running, the Mason XC girls were able to hold off the charging Wildcats and survive for a close victory. The results were slow to trickle in, but it was soon clear the Comets would take the day scoring just 75 points to HD's 91 points.
Mason was led by freshman standout Efa Paschka. Efa went big and ran with defending state 2-mile champ Katie Clute, but after 2 miles this began to hurt. Efa fell back a few spots but held on for 6th place.
Grace McKay ran a nearly perfect race and just chipped away at the competition moving up nicely all the way into 8th place.
After Grace, there was a small gap, but the amazing trio of Bella Teply, Carlie Condit, and Addi Stephens all finished within 2 seconds of each other and secured the win!
Bella got out very strong and faded some, but ran tough in mile 2 and 3 to secure her spot. Meanwhile, Carlie and Addi ran hip-to-hip to help each other along and ran lights out to help the team take the top spot on the podium. Avery Legault and Abby Slife also ran tough and did their part by getting out hard, and battling to the last minute with everything they had.
"We could not be more proud of these young ladies, they are so tough," said Mason head coach Chip Dobson. "They worked so hard this year. Thanks to the parents, fans, and administration that were all in attendance. The girls put on a great show for them, and we are so thankful for their support!"
Mason Girls CC joined the Mason Boys CC team as only the 2nd school to win both titles in the same year since Hilliard Davidson did it in the 2002 season.
DICK'S Sporting Goods Honors Boys Soccer Stars
DICK'S Sporting Goods appreciates the extraordinary efforts in GMC Boys Soccer, specifically the GMC Player of the Year", Mason's Will Wettengel and the conference "Coach of the Year", Sycamore's Brian Wissel.
Will Wettengel was an offensive leader for the undefeated GMC Champion Comet squad this season. Will was the league points leader with 35 points, tied for second in goals scored with 12, and unselfishly was also the conference leader in assists with 11. Will Wettengel's leadership played an instrumental role in Comet success story as the team brought home their fifth consecutive conference title.
Will Wettengel - Mason GMC "Player of the Year"
(Photo compliments of Mason SID, Dan Hilen)
Being recognized by fellow head coaches for hard work, dedication and program progress is the perhaps the most gratifying honor as coach can garner. After leading his Sycamore Aviator program to a hard fought second place GMC finish (7-2) improving on the 2021 fourth place position, Sycamore Head Coach Brian Wissel was selected by GMC head coaching colleagues as the 2022 conference "Coach of the Year".
Head Coach Brian Wissel - Sycamore GMC "Coach of the Year"
(Photo compliments of Sycamore Athletic Department)