Greater Cincinnati prep stars have outstanding professional careers


No matter the level of competition, Cincinnatians have always prided themselves on homegrown talent. Here are 10 former Tristate High School stars who have superb professional careers.

Rose Lavelle, OL Reign/ United States Women’s National Team

Of the Cincinnatians currently in the pros, Lavelle is arguably the most accomplished.

USA Women's Soccer team player Rose Lavelle waves to fans after being honored at halftime during the MLS soccer match between FC Cincinnati and DC United on Thursday, July 18, 2019 in Cincinnati.

The Mount Notre Dame graduate quickly rose through the ranks during his time at the University of Wisconsin on his way to the first overall pick in 2017 National Women’s Soccer League Disorganized. On the club scene, Lavelle has spent time with the Boston Breakers, Washington Spirit, Manchester City and his current club, OL Reign.

His greatest moments, however, came as a member of the international team. Lavelle was first called up to the senior national team in 2017. She broke through in 2019 fifa world cupscoring three goals including one in the final against the Netherlands.

Lavelle won the bronze ball, awarded to the tournament’s third-best player. Two years later, she won a bronze medal with the national team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Off the pitch, Lavelle has made his love for his hometown known. In a 2021 interview with Pat Brennan of The Enquirer, Lavelle said, “I’m so happy every time I can get home, but to be able to come home and show the city to all my teammates, I’m so excited about it.”

After:Rose Lavelle talks about the next generation of the USWNT, the TQL stadium and the return to Cincinnati for the friendly match against Paraguay

The USWNT visited Cincinnati twice during Lavelle’s tenure, beating New Zealand 3-0 in 2017 at Nippert Stadium and beating Paraguay 4-0 in November 2021 at TQL Stadium. Lavelle had one goal and three assists against Paraguay.

Sam Hubbard, Cincinnati Bengals

What could be better for a kid from Cincinnati than to play for their hometown team? Hubbard, a Moeller graduated, played his varsity prom at Ohio State before being drafted by the bengals in 2018.

Sam Hubbard, seen here at organized team activities, has seen his career path take an upward trajectory.  Entering his fifth year as a professional, he will be looking to bring the Bengals back to the playoffs.

In his four seasons with the Bengals, Hubbard has seen it all. His first season was Marvin Lewis’ last. He was part of a two-year rebuild in which the team had a combined 6-25-1 record. In each of its first three seasons, the Bengals finished last in the AFC North. Still, Hubbard remained a key part of Cincinnati’s defense.

After a 2020 season in which he missed time due to injury, Hubbard came back strong in 2021. He recorded 62 tackles (12 for loss) and 7.5 sacks in the regular season. Perhaps Hubbard’s greatest performance came in the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs when he recorded eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in the Bengals’ 27-24 overtime win. to switch to Super Bowl LVI.

Andrew Benintendi, Kansas City Royals

Much like Lavelle, Benintendi made a name for himself in college. After graduating from Madeira High SchoolBenintendi spent two years in Arkansas, where he was named 2015 College Player of the Year by Baseball America and won the Dick Houser Prize and the golden spikesboth awarded to the top player in college baseball.

Benintendi was drafted seventh overall by the Red Sox in 2015, spending six years with the organization.

Benintendi was drafted seventh overall by the Boston Red Sox in 2015, made his major league debut in August 2016 and enjoyed the first five years of his professional career in Beantown. He finished second in the 2017 Rookie of the Year voting and won the 2018 World Series.

After:Meet 13 Greater Cincinnati High School/College Players On MLB Lists

Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Benintendi was traded to the Kansas City Royals. In his first season with his new team, he hit .276. His defensive play has always helped him stand out as an outfielder, and a .987 fielding percentage helped him win his first Gold Glove.

Some fun facts about Benintendi: He also played basketball in Madeira and holds the school record in career points (1,753). He had already been drafted in the 31st round in 2013 by the Redsbut chose to pursue his amateur career.

Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph spent 11 years in the NFL, 10 with the Minnesota Vikings and one with the New York Giants.

Rudolph had a long and accomplished professional career. As one of the best high school recruits in 2008, the Senior High School graduate played for Notre Dame for three years before being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.

After:10 Former Cincinnati High School Stars Who Excelled In College Sports In 2021-22

Along with the Vikings, Rudolph appeared in two Professional balls and made four playoff appearances. He recorded multiple career highs in 2016, totaling 83 catches for 840 yards. In the 2019 NFC Wild Card game, he notched the game-winning touchdown in overtime for a 26-20 win over New Orleans. Over a 10-year stint with Minnesota, Rudolph caught 453 passes for 4,488 yards and 48 touchdowns.

He spent the 2021 season with the New York Giants, but was released in March 2022 and is currently a free agent.

Kelsey Mitchell, Indiana Fever

Kelsey Mitchell, a product of Princeton High School and Ohio State University, was drafted second overall by the Indiana Fever in the 2018 WNBA Draft.

Success followed Mitchell wherever she went. To Princeton High School, she was the 2014 Gatorade Women’s Basketball Player of the Year. In four years at Ohio State, she was named to four All-American teams and is second on the all-time Division I points list (3,402).

In the 2018 WNBA Draft, Mitchell was ranked second overall by the Indiana Fever. She averaged 12.7 points in her rookie year, but has increased her scoring average each year.

After:How Indiana Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell became one of the WNBA’s top scorers

She is currently in her fifth year with the organization, is second in the league with 19.2 points per game and is in position to make his first career All-Star Game.

Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder

Bazley is still looking to make a name for himself after three years in the NBA, but he’s on the right track.

Darius Bazley (right) had an unorthodox road to the NBA but is still a rising star after three years in the league.

The Princeton High School graduate has had a winding road to the Association, including commitments to Ohio State and Syracuse, plans to play in the NBA G League and an internship at New Balance. At the time, Bazley was the first rookie to choose the G League over college, though it never came to fruition. As a consensus five-star recruit, he was named McDonald’s All American in 2018.

In his three years as a pro, Bazley averaged a career-high 13.7 points per game in 2020-21 and played in 69 games last season. In his young career, he also posted a career-high 29 points in a single game.

Kayla Harrison, mixed martial arts

After winning two Olympic gold medals in judo, Kayla Harrison turned to the world of mixed martial arts by competing in the Professional Fighters League.

The Middletown native is the second gold medalist on this list. But his first reward came in the form of a gold medal at the 2010 World Judo Championship.

After a bronze medal at the 2011 world championships, Harrison became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in judo in 2012. She won a second gold medal at the 2016 Olympics.

After her performance in Rio de Janeiro, Harrison was promoted to sixth-degree black belt, becoming the youngest American to achieve that rank.

Harrison is currently competing in the lightweight division of the League of Professional Fighters. She sports an undefeated record of 13 wins to zero losses, with five wins by knockout.

Nick Hagglund, FC Cincinnati

Nick Hagglund returned home to play for FC Cincinnati in 2019 after playing at Lakota West High School and Xavier University.

Similar to Hubbard, Hagglund is a hometown kid living his dream in the Queen City.

Hagglund made his debut at West Lakota before playing Xavier Universitywhere he won Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Atlantic 10 and Big East conferences, in addition to being selected to several first teams in all conferences.

In 2014, Hagglund became Xavier’s top pick in the MLS SuperDraft when he was taken 10th overall by Toronto FC. He played for Toronto for four years, culminating in 2016 MLS Cup appearance.

After:What’s next for football in Cincinnati? Maybe the MLS All-Star Game.

Hagglund returned to Cincinnati in 2019 when he was traded to the city’s new pro team. Now in his third year with the orange and blue, Hagglund scored twice for the club with his first coming against state rivals Columbus Crew.

Nick Goepper, freestyle skiing

Nick Goepper has skied his whole life and has won three Olympic medals and six X Games medals during his long career.

Goepper was introduced to freestyle skiing at a young age and has been competing against the best in the world ever since.

Although he was born in Fort Wayne, Goepper spent much of his young life in Lawrenceburg, honing his craft at Perfect north slopes. Freestyle skier specializing in slopestyle, he won a bronze medal at the Sochi Games in 2014 and silver medals in 2018 (Pyeongchang) and 2022 (Beijing).

Goepper also has two World Championship bronze medals (2013, 2019) and six X games medals (four gold, two silver).

Emmy Kaiser, wheelchair tennis

Emmy Kaiser won three Parapan American Games medals, leading to appearances at the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Paralympic Games.

Kaiser’s discipline is unique, but she has excelled since she started at the age of six.

Kaiser turned professional in 2010 and reached the 11th best singles player in the world (2016) and 15th in doubles (2014). The Fort Mitchell native and Saint-Henri competed in the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Paralympic Games, reaching the singles and doubles qualifiers each time.

Kaiser has also had success at Parapan Am Gameswinning two bronze medals (2015), one silver (2011) and two gold (2011, 2019).

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