Milford’s varsity boys water polo team has won the Ohio state championship tournament.
“This was a very senior dominated team. Most of this group were in the program all four years of high school,” said a very proud Gary Tameris, the head coach of the Eagles.
Tameris had nothing but praise for his seniors.
“They are dedicated and they love the sport. This senior group is one of the largest we’ve had and they’re going to be hard to replace. They were very committed to the team’s goals.
“Elliott Keefer is the best player in Ohio. He amazed me with his talent. He was our scoring leader, our go to guy.
“Luke Wasserman was second in scoring.
“This was a very strong team in the field. Mark Fernandez, Kevin Metzger, and Tyler Scheid were outstanding. Our exhange student from Italy, Lorenzo Paracchini, was the goalkeeper and he completely changed the situations and success of our team,” Tameris said.
The Red and White concluded the campaign with an enviable record of 34-4-3.
“This year’s team was a very special team. We’ve had other very good (boys water polo) teams at Milford, but this one was very special,” said the Eagles’ taskmaster about his first state title team. “This is a very tough game, but I’ll take a year like this one any time.”
Tameris said he began to believe that this team was very unique when “we won the Huron (Michigan) Tournament. We then realized we had a very special team. Everyone was close-knit. They interacted very well with each other.”
Tameris is disappointed the sport of water polo has not grown in the number of participating schools throughout Ohio. He said there were approximately 15 to 20-plus teams in the Buckeye state. Due to the low number of participating schools in the state, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) does not recognize water polo as one its sanctioned sports.
“We treat this sport like any other sport at Milford,” said the coach. He pointed out all the procedures pertaining to the other sports pertains to water pole including eligilibity by academic status in the classroom.
“Unfortunately there are not enough facilities in the Greater Cincinnati area and the state to have teams. Having a swimming pool at a school is very beneficial for sports and physical education classes. . .
“Because there aren’t many local programs we do a lot of traveling.
“The sport has grown a little bit in the state. A couple of more schools may soon start the sport in the Columbus area.”
New Richmond High School is the only other Clermont County school with a swimming pool.
The state is divided into the north and south regions.
In the South Regional Tournament, the Eagles opened with a 14-2 victory over Mason. Keefer and Matt D’Errico each scored three goals, Wasserman two, and Fernandez, Metzger, Joey Griffin, Gil Marchant, Dan Matulis, and Chris Williams one apiece.
The championship battle was won over Upper Arlington 12-5. Keefer netted seven goals, Metzger two, and D’Errico, Griffin, and Scheid one each.
The state championship tournament took place at Mason High School.
Milford, the number-one seed from the south, took on Sylvania (of Lucas County in northwestern Ohio), the number-two seed from the north, and the Red and White emerged victorious 13-3. Keefer amassed another seven goals to his and his team’s credit, Wasserman added three, and Fernandez, Metzger, and Kyle Tepe each added one goal.
Milford garnered the state championship with a 9-8 triumph over Thomas Worthington High School, the north region’s number-one seed. Keefer accounted for four goals this time, D’Errico two, and Fernandez, Metzger, and Wasserman put in extremely important goals.
For the season, Keefer made 173 goals, Wasserman 91, Metzger 59, D’Errico 36, Fernandez 29, Griffin 25, Scheid 22, Matulis 20, Kyle Petrosky 10, Kyle Stone nine, Kevin Brown eight, Alan Keefer eight, Tepe six, Michael Bucci three, Marchant two, Max Ringwald two, Williams two, and Hayden Owens one.
The most accurate with their attempted shots at the goal were Petrosky 71-percent accuracy, Scheid 65-percent, Matulis 59-percent, Griffin 57-percent, Keefer 56-percent, and D’Errico 50-percent.
Keefer, despite leading his team with goals scored, also led the Eagles in helping others to score. He made 78 assists, Wasserman 71, Metzger 42, Paracchini 34, D’Errico 32, Scheid 24, Griffin 14, Matulis 11, Fernandez 10, Petrosky eight, Bucci five, Stone five, Michael Thaxton five, Brown three, Ringwald three, Alan Keefer two, Tepe two, Marchant two, Jared Bussell one, and Owens one.
Keefer was also a defensive standout. He was in the forefront of the Eagles by stealing 105 of the foe’s passes, Wasserman stole 60, D’Errico 52, Paracchini 48, Metzger 41, Griffin 36, Scheid 32, Fernandez 28, Matulis 22, Bucci 17, Petrosky 17, Thaxton 13, Alan Keefer eight, Stone eight, Marchant seven, Tepe six, Ringwald five, Williams five, Brown two, Joey Limke two, and Bussell one.
Paracchini in the goal blocked 247 of the opponent’s shot attempts, Thaxton blocked 71, Scheid 28, Fernandez 13, D’Errico 10, Matulis nine, Metzger nine, Keefer six, Bucci five, Griffin five, Marchant three, Wasserman three, Limke one , Owens one, Petrosky one, Ringwald one, and Tepe one.
For Milford, the state boys water polo championship is the school’s second state team title. The boys golf team earned the Ohio laurels in 1989.
Clermont County, in addition to the Eagles’ state golf crown, has earned three other Ohio state team championships in OHSAA sanctioned sports. They are Amelia (Class B baseball in 1950), Goshen (Class B baseball in 1958) and Batavia (Class A boys track and field in 1966).
The county has achieved team state championships in non-sanctioned OHSAA sports – Amelia boys volleyball (1967 and 1968), Amelia powerlifting (1980), and Glen Este girls slow pitch softball (1993).
Faith Baptist School (of Williamsburg) won the Christian School of Ohio boys state basketball championship (1981) as did Goshen Christian Academy (1988) and Milford Christian Academy (1996).
The first individual state championship earned by a Clermont countian was Milford’s John Oester in the Class B javelin throw (159-feet, 8-inches) that took place on May 23, 1931.