Local seniors participated in National Signing Day ceremony Wednesday, February 2.

Contributed by Tammy Rosenfeldt, CHCA

SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, OH (February 10, 2022)Eight Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy seniors participated in National Signing Day, signing letters of intent to commit to playing at the next level next year. The ceremony took place on Wednesday, February 2, at 7:30 a.m. at CHCA’s Martha S. Lindner Upper School.

Caden Crawford of Liberty Township signed with University of Evansville, located in Evansville, Indiana, to play baseball. Crawford was named 2019 All-MVC Honorable Mention, 2021 All-MVC 2nd Team, a member of the 2021 PBR All-Ohio team, and a 2021 State Champion. “I first met Caden his grade 8 year,” shared CHCA Head Baseball Coach Tony Schulz. “Seeing the raw specimen that he was, we thought he had a chance to be great. But then getting him into the fold in our program, seeing how focused and driven he is, not just on baseball, but academics, the weight room… we knew then that he was going to be special.”

Will Murphy of Morrow signed with DePauw University, located in Greencastle, Indiana to play baseball. Murphy was named 2021 All-MVC Honorable Mention, a member of the 2021 PBR All-Ohio team, and a 2021 State Champion. “Will came in right away and meshed with our program, and in only a few months became one of the key leaders of our team,” shared Schulz. “I don’t think we’re the same team we were without Will. DePauw University is getting an absolute steal here.”

Cooper Robinson of Turtlecreek Township, signed with Butler University, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, to play baseball. Robinson was named 2021 All-MVC 2nd Team, a member of the PBR All-Ohio team, and a 2021 State Champion. After losing time due to multiple injuries and missing the 2020 season due to the pandemic, Schulz shares, “While I know this was a rough time for him, and all of this tested his mental tenacity, I believe it made him better. Not to mention it kept his arm fresh for one of the most dominating tournaments we’ve seen from a pitcher, culminating with a strikeout to end the state championship game.”

CHCA seniors who signed Letters of Intent to continue their athletic career in colleges (Photo Tammy Rosenfeldt)

Griffin Max of Loveland signed with Trine University, located in Angola, Indiana, to play soccer. Max was named MVC 2nd Team and was the recipient of the first annual Chuck Ausman Character and Service Award, which is based on exemplary character. In addition, he volunteered as the CHCA JH Assistant Soccer Coach. “Griffin is going to provide Trine University with a multi-talented player that can play most positions on the field,” shared CHCA Head Varsity Boys Soccer Coach Paul Rockwood. “He will provide tremendous energy. Add his keen soccer sense and he will be a definite difference maker to their team.”

Finley Payne of Mason signed with Harvard, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts to play softball. Payne was named MVC Player of the Year twice, held the highest batting average in the state in 2021, and has been in the top three in batting average in prior years. She is a perennial Xtra Innings top ranked player in the country and played on the Beverly Bandits in select ball, which is a perennial women’s softball powerhouse. Payne had twelve home runs in 2021, hit over 750, and had over 200 strikeouts on the mound as a pitcher. “I’ve been coaching varsity softball for twelve years and Finley is the best player I have ever coached,” shared CHCA Head Varsity Softball Coach John Schablein. “She is the heart and soul of CHCA softball. Finley is the best pitcher in the league, the best shortstop in the league, and the best hitter in the league. And she is every bit a better person than she is a softball player.”

Jessey Li of Mason signed with Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, for swimming. Li is currently the top ranked breaststroke swimmer in the state, and the 4th ranked recruit in the state overall. She swam at the Olympic Trials swim meet, where she attempted to make the Olympic team in the breaststroke. Li also finished 3rd at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships in the 100 breaststroke. She currently holds nine school records and a few league records. Li is the reigning District Champion in both the 50 Freestyle and 100 breaststroke and holds the District Record in the Breaststroke. “Jessey is one of the hardest working individuals I have ever met, and she has an incredible love for sharing her gifts with others,” shared CHCA Head Swimming and Diving Coach Don Rielag. “We are proud of the swimmer she is and even prouder of the young lady she is. She will excel in everything she does in life, and she will make everyone else around her better.  We are sad to lose her, but we are happy the rest of the world gets to have her now.”

Mary Jones of Mason signed with Palm Beach Atlantic University, located in West Palm Beach, Florida, to play volleyball. 

Jones was a member of the State Final Four team for two years, received All-District and All-League honors for four years and All-Academic for four years. She was also selected by the CHCA Athletic Director to represent the school, in a Desire to Lead program“Consistently when ‘Player Mary’ steps on the court, she has a purpose to use her platform to glorify God,” shared CHCA Head Volleyball Coach Lisa Schaad. “You can see this in the way she treats her coaches and teammates, as well as her drive to improve every day.”

Ava Kraft of Mason signed with Taylor University, located in Upland Indiana, to play volleyball. Kraft was a member of the State Final Four team for three years, named MVC All-Academic for four years, and received MVC honors two years.  “Ava has been the most transformed player I have had the privilege to walk alongside in my tenure at CHCA,” shared Schaad. “Her servant leadership and dynamic posture on the court will make her an asset to Taylor.”

“Choosing a college is a huge decision for an individual and family,” shared CHCA Executive Director of Athletics. “To have the chance to compete at the collegiate level as an athlete is a massive accomplishment, that only a very select few are presented with that opportunity. I don’t think most people understand that fully. Having personally been in the college athletics world for twenty-five years, it speaks volumes of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy to have eight compete at the next level. There is no doubt that these eight young men and women will impact the new communities in a positive way, just as they did at CHCA. We wish them the very best in the next steps of their life’s journey!”

To learn more about Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, visit chca-oh.org