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The Buddy LaRosa high school Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1975 to recognize outstanding athletes from area high schools. Each year, nominees are considered based solely upon high school accomplishments. Collegiate, professional, or other amateur achievements have no bearing on the selection process. The nominee must have graduated high school 10 years before eligibility may begin.


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Five outstanding area high school athletes — all of whom went on the play their sport professionally — are the latest inductees into the Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame, along with a legendary Northern Kentucky football coach, a long-time Cincinnati sports’ broadcaster and two fabled high school sports’ teams representing basketball and football.

The latest additions to the LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame will be officially inducted into the Hall in ceremonies in summer 2024. Now in its 49th year of recognizing outstanding local high school athletes and coaches, the Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame has honored 301 athletes and coaches and 14 top teams since its founding in 1975. It is the oldest and one of the only Halls of Fame of its kind in the country.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi
Madeira High School Class of 2013

A strong case can be made that Andrew Benintendi is the best baseball player out of Cincinnati since Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. Andrew was a stellar two-sport athlete for Madeira and started all four years in basketball and baseball. He was named Ohio Division III Player of the Year in both basketball and baseball in the 2011-12 season. He finished his high school career setting almost all of Madeira’s basketball records and baseball marks.

In baseball, Benintendi wound up with 213 career hits – still the second most in Ohio high school history. He scored a state-record 199 runs. His 166 RBI ranks in the top 4 in Ohio history. His career batting average of .542 (213-for-393) ranked 7th seventh all-time, while his 112 stolen bases put him in the top 20 in Ohio history. He had 62 career doubles, 20 triples and 24 home runs. As a pitcher, Andrew finished 16-6 in 108.6 innings pitched with 142 strikeouts and a 2.90 ERA.

In basketball, he set Madeira school records in career and single-season points (1,753 and 638 free throws made (371 and 125) and three-point field goals (180 and 73). He is the career leader in steals (175) and games (91 consecutive starts), and single-season points per game (25.5).

Andrew was named The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Division III Player of the Year two straight years in basketball. He was the Associated Press Division III Player of the Year in Basketball (2011-12) and was third-team all-Ohio in 2013. He was The Enquirer’s Player of the Year in Baseball in 2012 and 2013. He was named Ohio’s Gatorade Player of the Year in baseball, the Ohio Division III Player of the Year by the Ohio Baseball Coaches Association, and the ACBA/Rawlings National High School Player of the Year.

He continued his stellar career at the University of Arkansas where as a sophomore in 2015 he was named the SEC Player of the Year, the SEC Male Athlete of the Year and the Baseball America College Player of the Year. Andrew also won the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award which recognized him as the National Collegiate Player of the Year.

Drafted seventh overall in the 2015 June Free Agent Draft by Boston, Benintendi made his major league debut in 2016. He has played for Boston, Kansas City, New York Yankees and currently with the Chicago White Sox. Andrew won a World Series championship with Boston in 2018, a Gold Glove with Kansas City in 2021 and was selected as an All-Star with Kansas City in 2022.

Currently, Andrew Benintendi lives in Nashville, TN.

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Rose Lavelle

Rose Lavelle
Mount Notre Dame High School Class of 2013

Unquestionably the finest soccer player in Greater Cincinnati history, Rose Lavelle was an outstanding high school talent and went on to become an All-American at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the United States 2019 World Championship team.

A four-year varsity starter for the Mount Notre Dame Cougars, Rose never missed a start during her career. She graduated as Mount Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer with 57 career goals, including a single-season record-setting 18 goals as a junior. As a senior, she scored 15 goals with eight assists for a Girls Greater Cincinnati League-Scarlet-leading 38 points for the 11-3-3 Cougars.

She was named first-team all-city Division I by The Cincinnati Enquirer three times and The Enquirer’s Player of the Year in 2012. She was selected first-team all-Ohio two straight years and was second-team as a sophomore. She was first-team all-GGCL-Scarlet twice and named League Player of the Year.

She was twice named all-region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and was named Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Sports Woman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Association. While at MND, Rose was a member of the United States Under-20 National Team.

A four-year starter at the University of Wisconsin, Lavelle made 19 appearances as a freshman, and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Lavelle, who was first-team All-Big 10 for four years, was named Big 10 Midfielder of the Year consecutively in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, she was also named first-team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the first UW player to do so since 1991.

Rose started six games for the U.S. at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, scored three goals, and was awarded the Bronze Ball at the FIFA Women's World Cup awards as the third-best player in the tournament. Lavelle was named one of the world's top 11 players by The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 (finishing sixth), and was chosen as one of the world's top three midfielders by her professional peers in 2019.

She was a member of the 2020 U.S. Summer Olympics bronze medal-winning team, and the national team for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

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Luke Maile

Luke Maile
Covington Catholic High School Class of 2009

Covington Catholic has seen a run of incredible athletes in the last decade, and Luke Maile ranks among the best to ever come out of the Park Hills, KY school. An outstanding three-sport athlete, Luke was a dominating presence in both basketball and baseball, earning four varsity letters in each sport. He also played golf for the Colonels. He continued his exceptional baseball prowess at the collegiate and professional levels.

At CovCath, Maile was an inside force for the Colonels’ basketball team, racking up more than 1,000 career points. Luke received numerous post-season honors during his career including being named to First Team All-Northern Kentucky by the Kentucky Enquirer two straight years.

Baseball, however, is clearly his best sport as he was regarded as the top professional prospect in Greater Cincinnati in 2009. Luke was named the Gatorade Kentucky Baseball Player of the Year. He finished his senior season batting .514 (55-for-107) with 56 runs scored, 12 homers and 55 RBI. He struck out only 3 times! Maile wound up setting 13 school records, including most hits – career (198), most career home runs (29), most doubles career (44) and most RBI – both single-season (66) and career (187).

A member of the Connie Mack World Series Champions while playing for the Midland Redskins, Maile has been named The Enquirer’s Player of the Year in baseball three straight seasons and was twice named to the all-state team.

Luke went on to play catcher at the University of Kentucky where he was a three-year letterman. He posted 130 career hits, 24 home runs and 93 RBI. He was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference and was a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy in 2012.

Draft in the 8th Round of the Major League baseball draft by Tampa Bay (242 overall) in 2012, Luke has played for Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Toronto. He joined the Cincinnati Reds in 2023 and currently plays for the hometown team.

Luke Maile, and his wife Paige, live in Palm Harbor, FL with their daughters Evelyn, Collette and a third on the way.

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Cindy Stern (DeMartino)

Cindy Stern (DeMartino)
Mother of Mercy High School Class of 1996

One of the last great volleyball players to graduate from Mother of Mercy High School, Cindy Stern was a two-sport star for the Bobcats and went on to become an All-American in college and later played professionally in the United States Professional Volleyball League.

At Mercy, Stern earned six varsity letters -- three in volleyball and three in basketball. While she was a two-time honorable mention all-city selection in basketball and set the school record for field goal percentage (56.2%), it was volleyball where Cindy was truly exceptional.

In volleyball, Cindy was Player of the Year in the Girls Greater Cincinnati League (1996), a first-team all-city selection by both The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Post and a third-team all-state selection. Upon graduating, Cindy held three Mercy volleyball records – Most kills in a game (7), match (15) and season (139).

She signed a college volleyball scholarship with Clemson University, where she went on to become the first All-American volleyball player in Atlantic Coast Conference history. Cindy was ACC Player of the Year (1999) and was selected to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America team.

Cindy was inducted into the Clemson University Hall of Fame in 2005, was a member of the ACC 50th Anniversary Top 50 Female Athletes, earned All-ACC Honors 1997-1999, and was a member of the USA National Team (1998). She ranks in the top five in Clemson history – first in career blocks and assists (488), second all-time with 1,744 kills and fourth in blocked solos (163).

She joined the Clemson coaching staff as a student assistant during the 2000 season. Cindy played professionally on the U.S. Professional Volleyball League’s Dream Team from 2000-01 and was part of the league’s inaugural season in 2002.

Currently, Cindy Stern DeMartino is a Product Manager Sr. Diagnostics with Medline Industries, LP. She and her husband, Cliff DeMartino, reside in Chicago.

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Adolphus Washington

Adolphus Washington
Taft High School Class of 2012

There is little doubt that Adolphus Washington should be regarded among the finest athletes ever to play at Taft High School. A highly-decorated high school player, Adolphus continued his excellent career at Ohio State University and in the NFL.

A two-sport superstar in football and basketball, Adolphus was a high school All-American in football and was selected as Ohio’s Gatorade Player of the Year in basketball.

The awards and achievements he collected were staggering. In football, he was The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Division II Player of the Year; he was First Team All-Ohio and was named Ohio’s Division III-IV Defensive Player of the Year. He was named U.S. Army All-American, and was second team All-America by both Sports Illustrated and ESPN. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was invited to the Under Armour All-America Game. He was ranked as the No. 1 Player in Ohio and No. 21 in the nation by

As a senior, he in led Taft to its second-straight post-season appearance. Washington had 90 tackles, 23.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, 1 fumble for recovery for a touchdown and one interception for a touchdown during the regular season. In three years at Taft, Adolphus had 342 tackles, 56.5 sacks and six fumble recoveries.

In basketball, Washington powered Taft with a 23.1 point average, including 14.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals during the regular season. He was named The Enquirer’s Division II Player of the Year, the Southwest Ohio Division II Player of the Year, was selected First Team All-State for the second straight year and was named Ohio Division II Co-Player of the Year for the second straight year. As a junior, he and fellow LaRosa’s MVP of the year, Dwayne Stafford, led Taft to its first Ohio team state championship in basketball with a 95-52 victory over Cleveland Central Catholic.

At Ohio State, he played in 47 games, with 142 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and one interception. Drafted in the third round of the NFL by Buffalo, Washington played two-plus seasons with the Bills.

Currently, Adolphus Washington lives in Cincinnati and is self-employed.

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Highlands/Withrow/Sycamore 1984-2013

In the storied annals for Highlands High School football, the coaches read like a “Who’s Who” in Northern Kentucky sports. Dale Mueller may well be the best of those who helmed the Highlands Bluebirds.

In 20 seasons at Highlands, Mueller posted a 250-36 won-loss record and led Highlands High School’s football teams to 11 state championships with four runners-up. Under Mueller’s leadership, Highlands ended its seasons ranked nationally eight times, finishing as high as third in the USA Today Prep Poll in 2009.

Mueller also coached six seasons at Withrow High School (48-12) and three seasons at Sycamore High School (11-19). Overall, he has compiled a 309-67 record during his 29-year career.

He was recognized with numerous awards over his career including – Louisville Courier-Journal Kentucky Coach of the Year, Cincinnati Bengals Coach of the Year, Marvin Lewis Coach of the Year, Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching Award, Russell Athletic National Coach of the Year and National Federation of High Schools National Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2022.

“My biggest hope is that the players had an enjoyable experience and that playing football had a positive impact on their lives,” Mueller said. A Highlands graduate in 1973, Mueller was a two-sport athlete and team captain for the baseball and football teams. He earned a total of seven varsity letters and was named all-state his senior year in both sports.

Upon graduation, he attended Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) and was a three-year catcher on the baseball team. He earned his degree in secondary education at Xavier University.

Currently, Mueller lives in Fort Thomas, with his wife, Patty. They have four adult children and 10 grandchildren.

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LaRosa’s Special Recognition Inductee 1968-2019

To the best of his recollection, the first time Dennis Janson ever spoke into a microphone was during his senior year at Elder High School in 1968. He had a part-time job answering the request line at WSAI-AM radio and somehow Elder Athletic Director Fr. Edward Rudemiller thought that qualified him to make Friday final period announcements over the PA system. Little did anyone suspect those 2-minute, end-of-week sports schedule bulletins would lead to a nearly 50-year broadcasting career that embraced seven radio stations, four television affiliates, three cable networks and now two Halls of Fame.

DJ sees himself as an unlikely addition to the LaRosa's roster of honorees, having never distinguished himself as an athlete. He did though gravitate to where the action was and often that involved sports.

As an equipment manager for UC football teams of the early 70s, he was witness to the greatness of Bearcats like Greg Cook, Jim O'Brien and Bobby Bell and led to an association with Paul Brown and his fledgling Cincinnati Bengals, who called Nippert Stadium home their first two years of existence.

It was while at UC that he migrated to WKRC-AM and WKRC-TV as a weekend radio news anchor, Channel 12 production assistant, fill-in weather man, entertainment editor and eventually sports director as part of the legendary Nick Clooney, Ira Joe Fisher Eyewitness News team of the early 1980s.

His high school-spawned sports pursuits came full circle when he was enlisted to join the LaRosa's High School Hall of Fame selection committee. That role expanded to include serving as master of ceremonies for the induction banquet, a position he relished for 27 years, even as he wrapped up a 28-year stint as sports anchor for WCPO-TV.

Dennis becomes just the third media member to be so honored, joining the late Joe Quinn of newspaper fame and DJ’s long-time Channel 9 collaborator and colleague, John Popovich, as inductees.

He counts a regional Emmy, the George Ballou award presented by Western Hills Country Club for meritorious contributions to sports and induction to the University of Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame among his proudest professional citations, exceeded only by inclusion in what he terms the Gold Standard of Cincinnati sports commendations, the LaRosas's High School Hall of Fame.

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