Six outstanding area female high school athletes have been named as finalists for Greater Cincinnati’s premier prep sports’ award for the 2013-2014 school year.
St. Ursula track and cross country standout Annie Heffernan, St. Ursula volleyball standout Kristen Massa, Princeton basketball standout Kelsey Mitchell, Notre Dame Academy volleyball and basketball standout Elly Ogle, Ursuline standout Mehvish Safdar and Ursuline swimming standout Emily Slabe.
The male and female winners of the prestigious LaRosa’s “High School MVP of the Year” Award will be announced at the annual Buddy LaRosa’s Sports Hall of Fame Banquet June 29, in televised ceremonies at the CET studios Downtown.
The athletes were nominated by area high schools, fans, coaches and a LaRosa’s selection committee. The male finalists will be announced next week.
Here’s a closer look at each nominated athlete (information provided the LaRosa’s MVP program):
Annie Heffernan, St. Ursula Academy, Cross Country-Track
Only a junior (2015 class), she has already established herself as a dominant runner in both cross country and track. In cross country this past season, she was the Ohio Division I state champion, becoming the school’s first-ever cross country state champion. In track, she was the state champion in the 1,600-meter run.
Kristen Massa, St. Ursula Academy, Volleyball
A volleyball two-time All-American hitter, the senior (class of 2014) she registered a school-record 1,068 kills in her varsity career at St. Ursula Academy. This past season, she was the only high school player from Ohio named as an Under Armour All-American. She holds numerous school records, including most kills in a game, season and career as well as most blocks in a game and career.
Kelsey Mitchell, Princeton High School, Basketball
The senior was one of the most decorated women’s basketball players in Cincinnati high school history. A consensus No. 1 point guard nationally for the 2014 class, she led the Vikings to the Division I championship. She was named a McDonald’s All-American, Parade Magazine All-American, Women’s Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year, Ohio Ms. Basketball among numerous other honors.
Elly Ogle, Notre Dame Academy, Volleyball-Basketball
A two-sport all-star athlete, the senior was a 4-year varsity volleyball starter at Notre Dame and helped lead the Pandas to this season’s district and regional titles and a Kentucky state runner-up finish. Holding several school volleyball records, she was named MVP of the Ninth region tournament, first team all-Northern Kentucky for the second time and first team all-state for the second time. She was also an honorable mention All-American. In basketball, Elly scored more than 1,000 points in her career.
Mehvish Safdar, Senior, Ursuline Academy, Tennis
The All-American standout is the only Ohio Division I player to win a state tennis championship in doubles and two state titles in singles. She won the doubles’ tennis title her freshman year, teaming with her older sister Komal to win the championship. She then went on to win the Ohio state singles’ tennis titles both her sophomore and senior years. She notched a 30-2 record this season, winding up with a 140-8 career mark.
Emily Slabe, Ursuline Academy, Swimming
The All-American won 12 state championships, including four individual titles, six relay titles and two overall team championships. The senior holds two state records, one in the backstroke and as a member of the 2013 400 freestyle relay team. This past season, Emily was the state champion in the100 butterfly (55.12) and set a state record with her title in the 100 backstroke (53.35). She was part of the state champion 200 medley relay team (1:43.53) and the state record-setting 400 freestyle relay team (3:21.89).