HYDE PARK –
In a historic library featuring the names of Milton, Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Tennyson, administrators from Anderson, Glen Este, Kings, Loveland, Milford, Turpin and Walnut Hills welcomed Withrow High School to the Eastern Cincinnati Conference Aug. 18.
Most recently in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference, Withrow has an athletic history that includes 36 league championships in football, four state championships in basketball and three state titles in baseball. Girls basketball has won 12 league titles.
Among the Withrow athletic elite are former Xavier and NBA player Tyrone Hill and former second baseman and Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame member Ron Oester.
Withrow makes the ECC an eight school league.
“The students that they will compete with on the field weekly are the same students that our students will compete against for college scholarships, college entrance, jobs and workforce,” Withrow principal Paul Daniels said.
More than 1,400 students attend Withrow and the school offers up a top-notch gym that has hosted tournaments and a stadium built into the school that recently received new artificial turf from Cincinnati Public Schools. Adjacent baseball fields have been supplemented by the Reds Community Fund.
“We just want to offer our kids comprehensive academic and athletic options,” athletic director Darren Braddix said. “This league offers us that. It gives us an option to add more sports and be more competitive as well.”
The Tigers have competed on a non-conference basis with ECC teams and fared well since Braddix has been at the helm.
“That was by design,” Braddix said. “When we realized we were going this direction, we wanted to make sure we were really acclimated. We’ve been shooting for this particular day for the last two years. We have a lot to offer.”
The partnership also renews a rivalry between a pair of Cincinnati Public Schools within close proximity of one another.
“For Walnut Hills, it means a lot,” Walnut Hills principal and alum Jeff Brokamp said. “The history between Walnut Hills and Withrow spans decades and decades. We just knew we liked playing each other and we liked competing. Those competitions were fierce, but they’re great memories. We’re really happy to make some new memories now.”
Some of the sports have already began league competition, but Withrow’s inaugural ECC football game is against Milford Sept. 19.