Growth in the community certainly has not been a problem for the athletics programs at Canal Winchester High School, as the 2007-08 school year proves.

Growth in the community certainly has not been a problem for the athletics programs at Canal Winchester High School, as the 2007-08 school year proves.

Once a school that competed in the Division IV level in many sports, Canal Winchester now fields teams primarily in Division II, with the exception of football (Division III) and boys and girls track and field (Division I). Still, the success the Indians earned last year was impressive.

"It makes you feel good to know we've got success in a lot of different sports," athletics director and boys basketball coach Kent Riggs said. "It's a reflection of the community, the good people and the good coaches we have here. The concern you have when you grow like we have is you want to try to keep a good balance and have everybody believe we're one big group pulling for each other.

"We've had a lot of success over the years, just not this much in one year. The thing I take the most pride in is we're getting bigger and we're still competing against teams our own size in tournament play. So we're not just better because we're bigger, we've continued to improve as we've grown."

Led by first-year coach Phil Mauro, the football team finished 10-2, won the MSL-Buckeye Division and earned the program's first postseason win when it toppled Germantown Valley View 17-16.

Jason Vest, another first-year coach, guided the baseball team to its first appearance in a state championship game. The Indians fell to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 6-0 in the Division II title game after reaching the state tournament for the first time since 1949.

"Obviously you hope for good things when you hire new coaches," Riggs said. "The coaches before them, Chad Young in baseball and Gary Metzger in football, they both did a good job with the kids. But give Phil and Jason a lot of credit for coming in and knowing the strengths of their teams and getting the kids on the same page."

In between, the Indians won district championships in boys basketball and softball, saw athletes advance to state in cross country, wrestling, track and field and swimming and won league titles in girls soccer, cross country, volleyball, boys basketball and boys and girls track and field.

"I knew Canal Winchester had some pretty good athletes before coming here," Mauro said. "I don't think there's any lack of people here with athletic abilities.

"Basketball, baseball, track, volleyball and softball have always been successful here so I wasn't all that surprised at what happened this year."

Athletes at Canal Winchester are encouraged to participate in multiple sports. That sounds like a simple concept, yet it is frowned upon at some of the other schools in the area.

"We try to stress that at Canal Winchester it's not about an individual or one sport," Riggs said. "The coaches have done a good job encouraging the kids to play as many sports as they can, and that's one thing I've really tried to promote here over the years. We want kids to get involved in as many things as they can and not hold them back."

"I say that we always want them to be hunting dogs," Mauro said. "The two Rosch brothers (Conrad and Harrison) played football and went to state in wrestling. The Romanowskis (Matt and Mike) did well in basketball and baseball. So we really try to encourage them to be multi-sport athletes. You're only in high school such a short time so we want the experience for them to be as complete as it can be."

Despite all the success, Canal Winchester finished second behind Circleville for the MSL-Buckeye all-sports title.

The title is based strictly on how the teams fared in league play, so postseason success by the baseball and softball teams did not factor into the equation.

Canal Winchester captured the MSL-Buckeye all-sports title last year.

"As far as overall championships and how we fared in postseason play, I don't think there's any question this is the best year the school has had," Riggs said.