Athletic Future For Our Firebird’s

Ethan Vaught

Here at Lakota West High School, there is a very large number of student-athletes competing in a wide variety of Division 1 sports against teams all across Ohio. Primarily in the past two years, Lakota West has experienced multiple elite athletic teams across the board. In 2019, the Firebirds Girls Soccer team rounded out the season as the State Champions. The girls finished off ranked a whopping #2 ranked team in the nation, finishing with an undefeated record of 22-0-2. This year, the team fell just short of this feat, ending the 2020 season as Regional Runner-Ups. The team led by a strong senior core featured 4 members signing to continue their athletic careers in college. The duo of Kailyn Dudukovich and Sydney Jones will be sticking together, as they’re headed to Ohio State University to represent Lakota West as Buckeyes next fall. Jones led the GMC in assists this year with 27, the next closest with 14. Jones received first-team GMC honors back to back years. When talking about her decision on OSU, Dudokovich said “OSU just felt like home, the coaching staff, as well as the players, made me feel welcomed and part of the team right from the start.” While many know Dudokovich as a scoring phenom for the Firebirds, she explained that “playing with the team in high school really prepared me for college soccer, having to fight through the adversity of being constantly double or even tripled teamed”. Kailyn believed that “the environment of the team and the competition among players is what is really helping me most to prepare me for my future at OSU”. Starting off the 2020 season strong, Brooke Brockman had a crucial injury midway through the year that took out a key part of the Firebird offense. Brooke will continue her soccer career at Cleveland State next fall. Julianne Hureau, the defensive captain for the Firebirds, will be attending Kenyon College in 2021. Savannah Grubbs, another key contributor for the Firebirds, was a four-year-varsity starter for the girls and will be heading to the University of Southern Indiana next year. The girls had a successful high school career and will continue to represent West by that success at the collegiate level. 

More fall sports representatives came into the fall signing day, this year as State Champions. The Lakota West Boys Cross Country pulled off the upset last Saturday at Fortress Obetz Stadium, as they defeated the nationally-ranked St. Xavier Bombers. The boys completed the upset despite a 10 point loss just a weekend prior at the regional race. After not qualifying for the state race the year before, the Firebirds let the setback be the fuel to the fire for their 2020 run. The team was a complete senior group, led by Zach Beneteau and Cole Cronk. Zach finished 8th at the OHSAA State Championship on Saturday, posting a time of 15:42. Cole rounded out the scoring for the Firebirds, running a 16:17 and finishing 41st, despite not feeling 100%.  The two, along with teammate Zach Plotkin, have been on a mission, as they created their own running club, titled ZCZ. This “elite running club” as they call themselves, is nothing less than that. Cole Cronk will be continuing his running career at Florida State University next fall, and teammate Zach Beneteau will be attending Walsh University. Best of luck to the boys as they have one more meet this coming weekend in Terre Haute, Indiana, against a nationally ranked field. The Firebirds head into the race ranked the #14 ranked team in the nation. 

The Firebirds also showcased some spring sport athletes at the fall signing day event, with three West Baseball Players, and one Girls Lacrosse player. To start off with, Grant Miller, who has been the starting shortstop for the Firebirds since sophomore year, is the 100th ranked shortstop in the country for the 2021 graduating class. Grant will be attending Ball State University next year to continue his impressive shows on the field and in the classroom. Teammate Jacob Beall, who has also been a Varsity member since his sophomore year, is the 84th ranked right-handed pitcher in the country, with his fastball topping at 87 mph. Beall will have the opportunity to square off against Grant, as the two are both heading to Mid-American Conference teams. Jacob will be heading to University of Akron, where he will continue his dominance on the mound at the collegiate level. Beall said that “the campus and the life surrounding the team was such a positive group, and the coaches were really kind. Ultimately that sense of stepping in with the team is what stuck with me, and led to me choosing Akron”. The final Firebird that will be playing baseball in college is Senior Carter Rust, the 8th ranked third baseman in the state of Ohio, and is the 131st in the country. Rust will be going to University of Charleston next fall. The boys look to bounce back their senior season, after having their 2020 season taken away from them last spring. Annika Kinley, a high jumper for Lakota West Track, will be going to University of Cincinnati. Kinley finished 2nd last year as a junior at the OHSAA Indoor Track Championships, and also qualified for the triple jump and 400 meter dash, a more than respectable list of accomplishments. Our last Firebird signee in the fall is Kennedy Manning, as she will become a Chanticleer next fall at Coastal Carolina University, competing in women’s lacrosse. Manning led the GMC in saves for the Firebirds, and received 2019 GMC co-player of the year and all GMC team honors. Best of luck to all our Firebirds as they continue their athletic careers!