Evelyn Prodoehl, Firebird Running Penom Finishes Fall with a Flourish

Lakota West Press Release from SID Emeritus, Bob Ashby:

Evelyn Prodoehl, Lakota West Junior, ran in 11 major cross country meets in the season just ended against fields ranging between 68 and 348 (average 182) and won them all.  She opened the season August 19 by winning the OHSAA early season meet over a field of 348 and ended the season December 2 with a win at the Garmon Running Lane Championship in Huntsville, Alabama ahead of a field of 281.

Along the way she won the GMC Championship with a time of 16:59.1, believed to be the fastest time ever posted in a high school girls 5K cross country race in Ohio.  She went on to close out the Ohio season by winning the girls State D-1 championship in a record time (17:23.77) over the Fortress OBetz and Memorial park course.

Prodoehl led the Lakota West Team to an 8th place finish in the Ohio D-1state meet. (D-1 includes the 151 largest high schools in Ohio)

Oak Hills Highlander Presley Pennekamp Named Soccer All-American

Oak Hills Athletic Department Press Release:

Presley Pennekamp was named a national All-American by The United Soccer Coaches Association. Pennekamp is the first player named All-American in the women's soccer program history.

Pennekamp, who just completed her junior season, has led the Highlanders to back-to-back GMC titles and has been the GMC Player of the Year for consecutive seasons. During the 2023 season, she netted 45 goals, had 10 assists, and tallied 102 points. For this season, she was also named the D1 Cincinnati Girls Soccer Player of the Year and 1st Team All-State, as well as All-Central Region for the second time.

During her Highlander career, Pennekamp now holds records for most goals in a season (45), most career goals (89), most points in a season (102), and most points in a career (212).

Pennekamp will head to Anaheim, California in January to receive her All-American Award and be honored by the United States Soccer Coaches Association.

Ben Hageman, Oak Hills AD

Mason's Girls Basketball Coach, Rob Matula, To Step Down

Press release by Mason SID, Dan Hilen:

Mason’s Girls Head Basketball Coach, Rob Matula, disclosed today that the forthcoming 2023-24 season will mark the conclusion of his outstanding coaching journey with the Comets. After 18 seasons at the helm and securing the title of the school’s most winningest coach, Matula bids farewell, leaving behind an unparalleled coaching legacy.

Returning to Mason in 2005 to coach the girls’ varsity team, Matula's leadership has been synonymous with success, encompassing seven GMC Championships, 14 Sectional titles, 10 District Championships, three Regional titles, and two state runner-up teams. With a coaching record of 352 wins and 95 losses during his Mason tenure, Matula has been a cornerstone of the Comets' basketball program.

Matula, reflecting on his decision, commented, “I've been thinking about when my tenure would come to an end, and honestly it came to me all of a sudden, just before the beginning of this season. When you know something is over, you know. My decision isn't a reflection on them (his players), but in all honesty, I need their support.  I'm going to continue to coach them over the next 3+ months with all of my heart and energy because I love them and I love Mason.”

Beginning his journey at Mason in 1988, Matula's coaching experience spans 25 seasons, including stops at other institutions such as Talawanda (boys 1999-2001), Sycamore (boys 2001-2005), and returning to Mason in 2005, where he has contributed to an overall coaching record of 433 wins and 190 losses.

Expressing gratitude to those who have influenced him, Matula stated, “I've had the opportunity to work under so many wonderful people over the last 36 years. They know who they are, and I love them all.”

Matula acknowledges the unwavering support of his family, especially his wife, recognizing the sacrifices required for a coaching career spanning 36 years. After 33 years of teaching, Rob retired following the 2021-22 school year, leaving behind a legacy decorated with multiple Coach of the Year awards and the development of outstanding athletes who continue on to successful collegiate careers.  

In response to inquiries about his most cherished moments, Matula emphasized the importance of relationships, stating, “Going to 3 final fours was special, but the best thing about this job are all the memorable relationships.  A special highlight for me is still being in contact with the kids that I coached when I first started my coaching career. I love it so much when I see past athletes that still call me, "coach".

DICK'S Sporting Goods Salutes GMC Chess Stars

DICK'S Sporting Goods supports sports of all sorts; in this circumstance it is field of chess. In one of the Greater Miami Conferences' closest contested arenas, Jason Wang from of the GMC Champion Mason Comets was selected as the "Player of the Year" and Arnold Franklin from the Princeton Vikings was tabbed as the "Coach of the Year". Both honors were the result of a vote by the conference head coaches.

Jason Wang has exhibited true dominance in this cerebral sport by winning the "first board" honors for three consecutive years, earning him the coveted position as the GMC "Player of the Year" on three occasions. In addition, Jason earned the distinction of being first-team all-conference  for his entire high school career. His final high school varsity record is a phenomenal 40-0 and that is "checkmate" in anyone's book!  Congratulations on a fantastic career!!

Jason Wang - Mason Comets"Player of the Year"

(Photo compliments of the Mason Yearbook Staff"

For the second time in the past three years, the Greater Miami Conference Head Chess Coaches have honored the leadership of Princeton's Arnold Franklin by selecting him as the league's "Coach of the Year".  His team went 3-1-1 on Tuesday, losing only to the eventual champion Mason Comets. In doing so, the Vikings moved up from seventh place at the start of the day to sixth place at the conclusion. That success is one of the reasons - along with his constant efforts to promote Princeton chess in the community - that he was voted GMC Coach of the Year.

Arnold Franklin - Princeton Vikings GMC "Coach of the Year"

(Photo compliments of the Princeton Athletic Department)

Mason Eighth Consecutive GMC Chess Crown


On Tuesday, November 28, the chess teams from all 10 GMC schools gathered at Sycamore High School for Round 2 of GMC Chess competition.  The first round consists of 9 matches, one with each of the other 9 schools in the league.  The second round is 5 matches for each team, all held on the same day at a neutral site, and the results are added together for a 14-match total record for each team that determines the league standings for the year.

Entering round 2, Sycamore and Mason were tied for first place at 8-0-1, the “one” being the result of a 2.5-2.5 tie in the Round 1 match between the schools, held at Mason on October 19th.  Lakota East was 3rd at 7-2-0, and Lakota West was 4th at 6-3-0 going into round 2.  In the 3rd match of round 2, the Aviators and Comets played their rematch, this time with the Aves as the home team (playing White and thus getting the first move on 3 of the 5 boards) even though all the matches were being held at a neutral site.  All 5 games nearly went the distance, meaning that they were all still closely contested as the maximum game length of 90 minutes of total time approached.  When the match ended, the Comets had won boards 1, 2 and 3 to take the match by the narrowest possible margin, 3-2.

Mason and Sycamore both won their remaining two matches and finished 1st and 2nd for the season, with the only difference being that narrow 3-2 victory for the Comets.  Not all the excitement for the day had concluded, though, as Lakota East faced off against Lakota West in the last group of 5 games held on Tuesday.  West scored a 4.5-0.5 victory over East, turning the tables on East’s 3-2 victory over West in Round 1.  The two teams finished the season in a tie for 3rd place in the GMC.  Final standings and award winners are shown on the website.

Mason Comets - GMC Champions

(Photo compliments of Mason Yearbook Staff)