Academic Team sets even higher goals this season

Posted on: November 30, 2017
Photo of academic team

When your team wins the league championship four out of the last five years and is ranked sixth in the state, where do you set the bar for this season? When it comes to the Little Miami Academic Team, you keep setting that bar even higher.

“Our goals for this season are very lofty, in fact the greatest aspirations in program history,” said Head Coach Ron Maupin. “We would like to be able to win another SWOC title and repeat as Southwest Regional champs. We would like to return to the state tournament, and improve on our previous program best, which was a #6 finish. 

“And we also want to continue our tradition of proudly representing our community in all matches and tournaments by showing good sportsmanship.”

All of these goals are within reach, thanks to the program that Maupin and assistant coach Ron Levo have built. In his nine years as head coach, Maupin has been named Coach of the Year three times. His teams have historically been rock solid and this year is no different.

Leading the squad will be a core of experienced players like this year's captain, senior Tejas Dinesh. Dinesh is a three-year starter on varsity and according to Maupin, has grown to be perhaps the top player in the Cincinnati area. 

“His confidence and work ethic are outstanding, and he will do a great job leading this year's squad,” Maupin said. “He is lightning quick on the buzzer and has perhaps the greatest range of talent that our program has ever seen.”

Maupin will also depend on junior Thomas Sweeney, a close rival to Tejas as the team's top scorer, and senior Jacob "Andy" Anderson. And along with these veterans is up-and-coming player Robbie "Bert" Billups, a junior.

“He would be my best bet to be the player to improve the most as the season goes on,” Maupin said. “In fact, at the Beavercreek Invitational in October, Bert had the winning buzz against Dublin Scioto and against last years' state runner-up Fisher Catholic.

The Panthers’ toughest opponents in the area are rivals Walnut Hills, a perennial top-20 team in the state. Before last year, Little Miami had never defeated them, but in the 2016-17 season, Panthers handed them four losses. And when it comes to conference contests, Maupin is cautiously optimistic.

“Within the SWOC, many of the teams are rebuilding, but Ross and Talawanda are typically strong competitors,” he said.

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