CCDS inducts five alumni into Athletic Hall of Fame
CCDS inducts five alumni into Athletic Hall of Fame

Cincinnati Country Day School inducted five alumni athletes into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Jan. 20. They were honored at a dinner in the Middle School Commons where their coaches praised the inductees not only for their gifted athleticism, but their character, leadership and sportsmanship.

The inductees were then introduced during half time of Country Day's basketball home game versus Seven Hills. Head of School Tony Jaccaci presented them with their Hall of Fame plaques.

The new Hall of Fame athletes are:

Dr. John Minturn (Class of 1972)

Football, Basketball, Baseball

Earned 12 Varsity Letters

Captain and MVP for Football and Basketball

All State Football Honors

All City Basketball Honors

Rodney Geier '71 introduced Minturn and relayed written comments by Hall of Fame Coach Dudley Hoffman, who attended the event.

"John played both ways in our offense and defensive schemes. He played a hybrid position in our defense, end and linebacker. He was a monster on defense. Teams would run away from him. On offense, he was a tight end. He was a crushing blocker!"

"He played both ways and as far as I can remember he never came out of a game, except one against Beechwood, KY where he had the flu ...didn't tell anyone and missed about three plays! John will live in my memories as a man of great character ... dynamic leadership qualities and a fierce competitor. This award is long overdue."

Chris Bortz (Class of 1992)

Football, Track

Member of State Track Championship 4x400 Relay Team

Three Time State Qualifier in Track

All City Football Honors

Member of State Final Four Football Team

Merle Black introduced Chris Bortz on behalf of Bortz' head coaches: Tim Dunn, Howard Brownstein and Jim Wright.

"Chris' years at Country Day were a golden age for the school's track program. Not before or since has there been comparable talent—Andre Barkley, Beau Parry, Treigg Turner, Raj Mehta, John Lambert, David Riley, Pat Gates—all competed at the state level ... I doubt whether there has been another instance in which a high school athlete ran prelims and finals at state in the three relay races. Chris is something of a freak and a selfless one at that—the distances run in those three relays 100 meters, 400 meters, and 800 meters cover the gamut from sprint to distance ... We came close to winning a state team championship because Chris had the unique ability and the selfless temperament to run at incredibly high levels in the three relays."

Laura Heinichen (Class of 1995)

Soccer, Basketball, Track

Captain of all three teams

All State Soccer Honors

State Qualifier in Track

Top 3 All Time Leading Scorer in Soccer

She was introduced by soccer coach Theresa Hirschauer, and track coach Steve Conner.

Hirschauer said, "On the soccer field, Laura was tough as nails! Her will and fearless play made her an incredible all-around player. While some players are only scorers or only defenders, #14 excelled in all phases of the game ... When Laura graduated she was Country Day's all-time leading scorer ... Laura was an incredible teammate and a coach's dream---her whole goal was to do whatever we needed to win even if it meant playing hurt or adjusting her game for the good of the team. There are plenty of good players but the great players like Laura make those around her better and the team the best it can be.

"On the basketball court, #24 was an athlete who could disrupt all opposing teams. In my opinion, as a freshman she was a member of the finest team in Country Day Girls Basketball History coached by legends Dan McNeil and Dave Walsh with Hall Famers Mary LaMacchia and Kristy Walsh. Although many of the inside players towered above her, Laura was tougher and wanted it more than they did. She came away with rebounds, steals and floor burns because she refused to be outplayed."

Conner said, "I had the honor of coaching Laura for five seasons in track and field, from 8th grade through 12th. Laura was a great combination of speed and power, with some added finesse. She was a sprinter, shot putter and 100 hurdler.

"Beside the open sprints, in all four years of varsity track, Laura ran both leadoff and anchor for the girls 4 X 100. As a freshman, she was the anchor. It is rare to have a freshman to run that leg. Usually a more experienced runner will have that position, but Laura's desire to win was so strong we did not hesitate. The team made state that year.

"As a shot putter, she is the third best in school history. She not only had great strength, but the balance and body control to pick up the technique. When the team needed hurdlers, she was more than willing to pick up the 100 hurdles and was very competitive there as well.

"In her senior year, she was named the Heinichen Award winner for outstanding female athlete, The award that was named after her Grandmother, Shirley Heinichen."

Brad Keiser (Class of 2003)

Football, Wrestling, Baseball

Earned 12 varsity letters

McDaniel Award Winner – Top Male Athlete

All MVC Honors in Football, Wrestling, Baseball

All State Honors in Wrestling (2 time state qualifier)

Member of State Championship Baseball Team

Coach Tim Dunn introduced Keiser. "He was the epitome of the three sport athlete and a dedicated and loyal teammate ... It was on the wrestling mat where Brad had his greatest impact while wrestling for Coach Jack Ayer at the 145 and 152 pound weight classes. Brad blazed an unprecedented and still unequaled trail in Country Day wrestling history. Among his many firsts and onlys: district qualifier all four years, state qualifier his junior and senior year, a two-year captain, 125 career victories. He finished top 8th in the state his senior year while winning multiple team awards.

In the words of Coach Ayer, "I have worked with many good wrestlers in my 42 years in the sport, but Brad Keiser is clearly the best wrestler I have ever had the pleasure to coach. None better. Bradley was one tough SOB. It was my pleasure to have coached such gifted, driven and hard-working athlete."

John Graves (Class of 2006)

Soccer, Football, Basketball, Rowing, Baseball

McDaniel Award Winner – Top Male Athlete

All State and All Midwest Soccer Honors

All City Basketball Honors

Two Time National Qualifier in Rowing

Team Captain and MVP in Soccer, Basketball, Rowing

Soccer Coach Greg Hirschauer introduced Graves.

"While I was reflecting and preparing for this Hall of Fame induction speech, it became clear to me that Hall of Fame athletes all share certain similarities: they are obviously talented physically, but also possess high-level athletic IQ, an ability to make others around them better through leadership qualities, and a strong sense of sportsmanship and pride in their school colors.

Finally, a CCDS Hall of Fame athlete is excellent to outstanding in multiple sports, as reflected by the resumes of each athlete honored tonight. John Graves played five sports in his CCDS career, and as Coaches Brownstein, Dunn, Harry Graves and myself can all attest, John exemplified the qualities referenced AND was excellent to outstanding in all five sports, a truly special young man!"

"During his four-year varsity soccer career, John was starter in all seasons, All-MVC each year, All SW Ohio District (3) years, All-Ohio, All-Mideast Regional & All-American. He was one of only three players in my (26) years as Head Coach who was so dominant as a defender that we were able to play and win with only (3) defenders. John was always composed and in command in the back!"