Early Signing Period a Family Affair at CJ

Three CJ student athletes autographed NCAA National Letters of Intent during the early signing period this November, becoming the first members of the CJ class of 2013 to officially commit to continue their athletic careers in college.

On Nov. 14, Heidi Hess and Grace Kauth agreed to play volleyball at Ohio Dominican University and Cleveland State University respectively. A day later, rower Gretchen Bruggeman signed to join the crew team at the University of Notre Dame.

After years of playing club and Eagles varsity volleyball together, cousins Hess and Kauth penned the next individual chapters of their athletic careers alongside one another during a joint college signing ceremony after school.

CJ’s pair of four-year varsity starters will spend the next four apart. Hess will play libero and be a defensive specialist for the NCAA Division II Panthers of Ohio Dominican University, where she’ll major in early childhood education. Kauth, an outside hitter, is headed to Division I Cleveland State University to study business and marketing.

At CJ, Kauth recorded more than 1,000 kills. She was selected the District 15 Player of the Year as a senior, earned first team All-State honors as a junior and has twice been named the GGCL Grey North Athlete of the Year. Hess has been named to the first team GGCL Grey North (2011, 2012), first team District 15 (2012) and was awarded team MVP throughout her career as a setter for the Eagles.

From 2009 to 2012, the cousins helped guide CJ’s program to a 61-37 record (.622 wining percentage) and 12 postseason victories. Both played for the Dayton Juniors Volleyball Club.

The girls come from a family with a rich CJ volleyball lineage that traces back more than 30 years. Moms Margie (Meyers) Kauth ’84 and Rita (Meyers) Hess ’82 were both four-year volleyball players for the Eagles. (Read the Dayton Daily News' 2009 feature story for more on the Meyers family's volleyball legacy.)

Senior Gretchen Bruggeman signed Thursday afternoon to row with the crew team at the University of Notre Dame.

Gretchen will receive an athletic grant and re-join her sister Molly, a 2010 CJ graduate, in South Bend where she intends to study biomedical engineering. The elder Bruggeman is currently a junior rower with the Fighting Irish.

Entering her fourth crew season overall, Gretchen will earn her third varsity letter when the Eagles take the water this spring.

CJ men’s and women’s crew athletes compete as members of the Dayton Boat Club under the direction of coaches Mike and Trish Miles. Three women's rowers have gone on to Notre Dame in the last five years. Along with the Bruggeman sisters, 2009 CJ graduate and rower Abby Meyers is currently a senior on the team there.