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The calendar year has brought plenty of successful stories to the Ohio athletic department. As 2018 comes to a close, we wanted to look back at some of the brightest sports moments of the past year in Athens.
Ohio’s men’s and women’s basketball teams both found wins when things looked bleak. The softball team did something no team had ever done before it. The football program notched a signature win and a cross country runner sprinted into the history books. There were many moments for the Bobcats in the Mid-American Conference, so we boiled them down to the top five.
Here are the five best moments from Ohio’s 2018 athletic year.
Just a few days into the calendar year, Taylor Agler and the Bobcats found themselves in a close game with Akron. But she delivered a memorable moment during her redshirt senior campaign. Agler hit a layup, and she was fouled. Her 3-point play with under 10 seconds remaining doomed Akron, as the Bobcats won 70-67 in The Convo.
Carl Fonticella | FOR THE POST
Ohio senior guard Taylor Agler (#0) drives to the basket during the second half of the Bobcats' 69-66 loss to Miami in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament on Wednesday, March 7.
The Bobcats went on to the MAC Tournament, but they ultimately fell to rival Miami by three in the quarterfinals.
Ohio won its sixth straight Battle of the Bricks in an overtime thriller over Miami, 92-87, in The Convo on Feb. 17. Miami had a 3-point shot miss with eight seconds remaining, and Jordan Dartis knocked in two clutch free throws in the final seconds to clinch a big Bobcats’ win over their rival.
They went on to beat Miami again in the regular season finale, but lose to the RedHawks in the MAC Tournament first round.
Winning the MAC — no matter the sport — is an impressive feat. But what’s more impressive is taking that success and translating it to wins in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio softball did just that in Knoxville, Tennessee, in May. The Bobcats followed up their MAC Championship with their first two NCAA Tournament wins in program history. They defeated Monmouth,4-0, and James Madison, 7-3, to capture the college softball world’s attention. Ohio ultimately fell to host Tennessee, who advanced to the NCAA Super Regional, where it eventually lost.
Following the tournament run, coach Jodi Hermanek left Ohio to take the head coaching position at Pittsburgh. Kenzie Roark was hired from South Carolina Upstate in Hermanek’s place.
Ohio seemed destined to meet Buffalo on Nov. 14 with the MAC East Division on the line, and a spot in Detroit for the MAC Championship Game up for grabs. But the Bobcats lost the week before to Miami, all but clinching the East for Buffalo.
That didn’t stop the Bobcats from steamrolling the Bulls on national television. The Bobcats destroyed the Bulls in a 52-17 beatdown. A.J. Ouellette was battling a cold, but he had a career-high 196 rushing yards and three total touchdowns in the win. The Bobcats’ defense held MAC Player of the Year, Tyree Jackson — and his favorite wide receiver Anthony Johnson — in check, and they made sure the Bulls knew who was the class of the MAC.
But the Bobcats couldn’t find a way into the MAC Championship Game, and they’ll face San Diego State in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 19.
Again, MAC Championships aren’t easy to win in any sports. Josh Park is the most recent Bobcat to win one, winning the MAC individual title with a time of 24:08.8. He is the first Ohio runner to win the MAC since Josh Ritchie in 1996, and he is only the fourth since 1965. The sophomore from Amherst, Ohio, will have more chances to defend his title.
As a team, the Bobcats finished fifth in the MAC, but Park was definitely the story of the season for Ohio’s cross country team.