Ryle and Cooper are five miles apart in Union, and both Boone County district schools have produced an abundance of college talent in recent years.
In the past several days, many of them have either set personal milestones, school records, or been involved in big wins. Here is an update on those athletes:
Maddie Scherr, Oregon – The 2020 Ryle graduate and Kentucky Miss Basketball is off to a great start to her sophomore season with the national power Ducks. Scherr has started all five games so far, averaging 8.4 points and 4.2 assists.
She had 10 points and five assists in a loss to top-ranked South Carolina last week. Oregon is 3-2.
"Maddie is one of the best two-way guards in the country.' said head coach Kelly Graves in a release. "Her versatility is her strength – she can play point guard, she shoots over 40 percent from three-point range, and she is a great rebounder and post-up player. Maddie is one of the nation's best defenders, as well. She is a winner, a competitor, an unselfish superstar, and a great student and leader."
Lauren Schwartz, Washington – The Ryle 2018 graduate transferred to Washington in the Pac-12 after two seasons at Rice, following her head coach Tina Langley who left Rice to take the UW job. Schwartz has averaged eight points per game while starting all three games this year, including a defeat to Jeff Walz’s highly ranked Louisville Cardinals Nov. 20. She has made 4-of-10 3-pointers so far.
She started all 56 games in her two seasons at Rice, averaging 11.2 points and 4.2 rebounds with a career-high of 27 points. Schwartz’s Huskies and Scherr’s Oregon Ducks will play each other once this season in Pac-12 action, with Oregon going to Seattle on Jan. 21.
Brie Crittendon, Eastern Kentucky – The 2021 Ryle graduate scored her first collegiate points Monday night as EKU’s women’s basketball team routed NAIA school Union 120-53.
Crittendon scored eight points, making all three of her field goals, and also added one assist and one steal. Former Ryle teammate Jayden Crist, also a 2021 graduate who was one of Ryle’s top bench players, came off the bench for Union.
Crittendon helped Ryle win the state title with Scherr in 2019 and reach the state quarterfinals in 2020 before the rest of the tournament was canceled by the pandemic, then she was first-team all-state this past season. EKU lost at NKU Nov. 14 and will host Xavier Saturday, then will return to the area Dec. 12 when the Colonels play at Miami.
Lexi Held, DePaul – The Cooper graduate scored 13 points in the fourth quarter Sunday as the Blue Demons came out on top 78-75 in a rivalry-game victory over Northwestern in Chicago.
DePaul describes her as a clutch senior who often saves her best for the biggest moments. Sunday, she hit a three-pointer and went 8-for-9 at the free-throw line to hold off the Wildcats. She finished with 16 points, eight assists and four steals.
She was named to this week’s Big East Honor Roll for her efforts.
Held is averaging 13.5 points, 6.3 assists and 2.3 steals through four games this year. She now has more than 1,200 points for her DePaul career. DePaul heads to the Virgin Islands for a Thanksgiving tournament beginning Thursday.
At Cooper, she finished with 2,430 points, 604 rebounds, 341 steals, 315 assists and 97 blocks.
Adam Kunkel, Xavier – As the Enquirer's Adam Baum noted Sunday, the Cooper grad scored a Xavier career-high 26 points, hitting 8-of-10 3-pointers, in a rout of Norfolk State. Kunkel, who transferred from Belmont before last season, is averaging 11.3 points for the 4-0 Musketeers, who play in the Preseason NIT in Brooklyn beginning Friday.
Sean McNeil, West Virginia – The Cooper grad had 13 of his team-high 15 points late in the second half to lead WVU to a comeback win over Clemson. WVU trailed by seven with seven minutes to go, but McNeil scored nine of WVU’s 11 during an 11-4 run to tie the game, then hit four straight free throws to seal the win. McNeil has started all five games this season and averages 13 points per game for the Mountaineers, who are 4-1.
Tanner Morgan, Minnesota – The Ryle graduate became the winningest quarterback in the history of University of Minnesota football, picking up his 25th win Nov. 20 at Indiana. He completed 14-of-20 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns and has a 25-13 record as a starter.
Head coach P.J. Fleck gave the game ball to him after Morgan lost his father, Ted, to a brain tumor this summer.
"It means a lot to me to know what that young man has been through,” said Fleck in a postgame press conference. “This young man lost his father five months ago, and how hard that’s been on him. Tanner’s not over the passing of his father, he goes through it every single day and he will for the rest of his life. Just to watch his resolve and his courage to just keep going, that’s what life is about. If you just keep going, you’re going to come out on the other end better. Tanner is better now than he was just because of how he’s never given up, he’s never quit. That’s why he’s the starting quarterback."
Morgan is also one of 20 semifinalists for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award. The award, now in its fifth year, is the first college football honor to focus primarily on a player's leadership, both on and off the field.
A two-time Academic All-Big Ten performer, Morgan has earned his degree in human resource development and is working toward a master's in sport management. He is also always present at Minnesota community service initiatives, which include hospital visits, the team's annual turkey drive, Hope Kids events and youth camps. Morgan is passionate about Athletes in Action and leads a Bible study group.
Jeremiah Lee, Indianapolis – The 2021 Cooper graduate finished his freshman season on his Division II football team, helping Indy to a 7-4 record with its final game Nov. 20. He was the team’s leading receiver with 36 catches for 557 yards and six touchdowns. He was also the main kickoff returner, averaging more than 25 yards per return with a 95-yard TD return. He had eight catches for 166 yards Nov. 6.
Dante Hendrix, Indiana State – The redshirt junior and Cooper graduate played six games for the Sycamores, averaging seven catches per game with 447 yards and three touchdowns, has nearly 1,800 career yards. Indiana State finished 5-6 on Nov. 20. He had the most receiving yards for the season despite missing five games. He had 10 catches for 121 yards Oct. 16.
Jake Chisholm, Dayton – The Ryle graduate had a day to remember on Senior Day Nov. 13. Chisholm led the Flyers with 272 total yards of total offense and five touchdowns, which tied the program record. He scored three times on the ground and caught two passes for scores.
For the season, he rushed for 1,033 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was second on the team in receptions with 30, with 361 receiving yards and a team-high five touchdowns. He finished his high school career with 4,763 rushing yards, 1,100 receiving yards, and 75 touchdowns. He holds Ryle records for single-game rushing yards (449), single-season rushing yards (2,315), career rushing yards (4,763), single-game rushing touchdowns (6), single-season rushing touchdowns (33), and career rushing touchdowns (64).
Hayley Bush, Purdue – The senior volleyball star setter at Ryle has had a big season as the Boilermakers set their sights on the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue is 22-5 and 14-4 in the Big Ten Conference entering this weekend’s final regular-season games vs. Indiana and Nebraska, both at home. Purdue is one game behind Nebraska and Wisconsin for the league lead. She has 1,024 assists, 10.2 per set, with 41 blocks and 255 digs. She was Big Ten Setter of the Week No. 3.
Last season, which took place in the spring of 2021 due to the pandemic, she led the Big Ten in assists (899) and was third-team All-American by VolleyballMag.com.
Austin Squires, Cincinnati - The former Ryle standout and Met runner-up earned his tour card for the Korn Ferry Tour in October. Squires reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur in 2018, losing to Viktor Hovland, who recently won a PGA Tour event.