By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — On Saturday, November 4, 2017, four of Miami County’s teams were playing in regional championship games: the Tippecanoe boys and girls soccer teams, Troy Christian’s boys soccer team and the Miami East volleyball team.
Following that in the winter, the Tippecanoe girls basketball team reached the regional final for the third time in four years.
And to put an exclamation point on it all, the Bradford softball team won a regional championship in the spring and made its first ever state semifinal appearance.
It all got me thinking — was this the best year for the county’s teams in recent memory? So I went back through the OHSAA’s records to see how the 2017-18 sports year stacked up against the rest in the past decade, from the 2008-09 year to now, to see how Miami County has fared in the regional tournament and beyond each year.
Now, I’ll say this right now: I focused only on the team-only sports where the tournament goes from the sectional level to district to regional to state. Those sports include boys and girls soccer and volleyball in the fall, boys and girls basketball in the winter and baseball and softball in the fall. Yes, I realize that Troy bowling has won team state titles in the past decade, but bowling’s tournament is only sectional to district to state, and it also offers individual titles. Same thing with Troy Christian wrestling — sure, the Eagles won a pile of team titles, but wrestling’s tournament is sectional to district to state, as well, and it has individual brackets, too. Also, just last week, the sports year ended at the state track meet with a trio of individual state champions, but again, track’s postseason runs from district to regional to state and has individual awards, as well. And football? Well, not everyone gets into the postseason, and every team that gets in is a regional qualifier, as there is no sectional or district level to the playoffs. This is a study only on the team sports that play a full four-level tournament.
And just in the past 10 seasons, there was plenty of interesting data.
In the 2017-18 season, there was a total of eight regional qualifiers: Tippecanoe boys and girls soccer and girls basketball, Troy Christian boys soccer, Miami East volleyball, Covington girls basketball and Bradford and Newton softball. Of those teams, six reached the regional final level, with Bradford softball winning a regional title and advancing to the state semifinal round before it fell 1-0 in eight innings to Jeromesville Hillsdale. Tippecanoe’s boys soccer team lost 2-0 to Alter and Troy Christian boys soccer lost 2-0 to Summit Country Day in the regional final, Tippecanoe girls soccer lost 4-1 to Indian Hill in the regional final, reigning state champion Miami East volleyball lost 3-2 to Versailles in the regional final and the Tippecanoe girls basketball team came up short in the regional final against Bellbrook, falling 47-41.
Eight regional qualifiers is the highest total for one year in the past decade. But, it turns out, there were also two other years back to back that Miami County sent eight teams to the regional level: the 2012-13 season and the 2013-14 season.
Miami East volleyball began the 2012-13 season by winning its second straight state championship, while the Troy Christian girls soccer team reached the regional final, where it lost 3-0 to Summit Country Day. And in the winter, the Troy Christian boys basketball and Miami East girls basketball teams were also regional qualifiers, with the Vikings falling in the regional semifinal round but the Eagle boys winning a regional championship and advancing to the state semifinal, where it lost 67-36 to Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph.
And in the spring of that year, four county schools reached the regional level — and two of them reached the regional final. In baseball, Tippecanoe advanced to the regional final, where it lost 3-0 to Jonathan Alder — the only baseball team to reach a regional title game in the past 10 years. In softball, Miami East, Newton and Covington were all regional qualifiers, with only the Buccaneers advancing past the regional semifinal round. Covington won a regional title, though, advancing to the state semis for the third straight season, falling 3-0 to Strasburg-Franklin in that round.
So this past year had six regional finalists and one regional champion. The 2012-13 season had five regional finalists, but it had three regional champions and one state champion. Between those two years likely lies Miami County’s overall best in the past decade.
The 2013-14 season also saw eight regional qualifiers come from Miami County, but no regional champions. Miami East volleyball again reached the regional semifinal — the third year of its still-running seven-year regional streak — but it lost in the semifinal round, as did the Tippecanoe girls soccer team. The Troy Christian boys basketball and Miami East girls basketball teams both lost in the regional semis, as well, and the Troy, Tippecanoe and Covington baseball teams all lost in the regional semis. Only the Milton-Union softball team reached the regional title game that season, where it lost 14-6 to North Union.
Other interesting notables:
A total of 57 Miami County teams qualified for the regional tournament in the past decade, with 29 advancing to the regional championship game, 11 of those winning regional titles and four of them going on to win state championships — the Newton softball team in 2010 and the Miami East volleyball team in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
Year by year, the decade began with six regional qualifiers in the 2008-09 season, falling to a decade-low three in 2009-10. There were five regional qualifiers in 2010-11 and 2011-12, then eight in 2012-13 and 2013-14, six in 2014-15, four in both 2015-16 and 2016-17 and finally eight in 2017-18.
By sport, softball has been the most successful with 14 qualifiers, including a whopping six state appearances and one state title. Volleyball is a close second with 11, but with four state appearances and three state titles — all by Miami East. Girls basketball had 10 regional qualifiers, baseball and boys soccer had seven apiece and girls soccer had five — but none of those teams made any state appearances. And boys basketball had the least regional qualifiers with only three, but the Eagles made one state appearance.
And by school, Tippecanoe has had the most regional qualifiers with 22 — five in baseball and girls basketball, four in boys soccer and volleyball, three in girls soccer and two in softball. Miami East is next with 15 regional qualifiers — seven in volleyball, four in girls basketball, two in softball and one in boys basketball and girls soccer. Covington has had six — four times in softball and once apiece in baseball and girls basketball. Troy Christian has had five — twice in boys basketball and boys soccer and once in girls soccer — and Newton has had four, all of the in softball. Troy’s only regional qualifier has been in baseball in 2014, Milton-Union’s was softball in 2014, Bethel’s was boys soccer in 2010 and Bradford’s was softball this year.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.