A three-sport athlete, Tabatha Piper has left her mark on Big Walnut High School.

A three-sport athlete, Tabatha Piper has left her mark on Big Walnut High School.

The 2011 graduate finished her prep career with 12 varsity letters - four in basketball, softball and volleyball - and was a four-year starter in all three sports. Piper collected 24 OCC-Capital Division, district and state honors. She also received numerous team awards.

"She's an amazing athlete," softball coach Jeff Hatfield said. "She hauled away a ton of hardware."

According to athletics director Steve Glesenkamp, the school does not keep track of the number of varsity letters an athlete earns. However, he said he was told that the last time a female athlete at the school earned 12 letters was in the 1970s.

"I'm very honored to be one of the people to accomplish that," Piper said. "Before high school, I wrote down some goals I wanted to accomplish and one of those goals was to get 12 letters. And as a freshman, I wanted to start, so I worked my butt off doing what I had to do."

Piper's love for sports began at a young age. So did her competitiveness.

"I've been playing basketball and softball since I was 5 and I played soccer until I started playing volleyball in seventh grade," Piper said. "I just love sports. I still remember when I was little how I would play pickup (basketball) with my brother (Tyler, a 2010 Big Walnut graduate). I would never want to lose to him. He would rub it in my face. That's how I got an edge. I never wanted to lose."

Thanks in large part to Piper, her teams won far more often than they lost. The combined record of the girls basketball, softball and volleyball teams during her career was 214-97, which equates to a .688 winning percentage. At 80-27, the volleyball team had the best record during her career, followed by the girls basketball team (67-24) and softball team (67-46).

"If you look at every sport she played, they won," girls basketball coach Bob Scott said. "She was a winner."

A 5-foot-11 guard, Piper concluded her prep basketball career as the program's fifth all-time scorer with 975 points, trailing 1982 graduate Molly McCaughey (1,225), 1991 graduate Jennifer Christy (1,194), 1998 graduate Carey Stumpf (1,157) and 2007 graduate Summer Hale (1,055).

Piper, who had 579 career rebounds, finished third on the team in scoring as a freshman, averaging 7.3 points.

"When she was in junior high, we could see that she had a pretty good chance of playing varsity as a freshman and she ended up starting from the first game," Scott said. "She had played a lot of basketball and she understood the game, and she was coming into a team where she didn't have to do it herself. To her credit, she didn't try to do too much."

Last winter, Piper averaged 13.3 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists, leading the team in each category. She also led the team with 40 steals and 25 blocks. She was named OCC-Capital Player of the Year and second-team all-district and special mention all-state in Division II, and she made ThisWeek's Super 12 team.

"She led us in a lot of categories this past season," Scott said. "She did a lot for us. She was a pretty good defender, she rebounded well, she scored and she had a lot of assists. She was a good all-around player.

"You look for kids who make your team better, make other kids better, and she had the ability to do that."

A setter for the volleyball team, Piper finished as the program leader in assists with 3,041.

"It's not very often that players start as a freshman, especially as a setter because it's such a key position to the success of a team," said Ron Lehman, who has coached the volleyball team the past 21 seasons. "Hitters depend on the setter, so there's a lot of pressure on that position, but she handled it very well.

"She improved each year."

As a senior captain last fall, Piper helped lead the Golden Eagles to the Division II state final, where they lost to Mentor Lake Catholic 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23 to finish 23-6. She was named first-team all-state, co-district Player of the Year and OCC-Capital Player of the Year as well as the team's Most Valuable Player.

"Her leadership was probably as much responsible for the success of the team as her playing ability," Lehman said. "She works really hard, which set a great example for the rest of the kids."

Lehman ranks Piper among the top players in program history.

"It's really kind of hard when you compare different positions and different eras, so to speak, but she's got to be one of the top three players that I've had at Big Walnut, maybe even the top one," he said.

A center fielder, first baseman and pitcher, Piper was among the softball team's top hitters each of her four seasons.

This spring, she hit .412 with 23 RBI, 19 runs and had no strikeouts in 107 plate appearances. She was named first-team all-district, second-team all-league and the team's Offensive Player of the Year.

Piper hit .374 with 28 RBI and 18 runs as a junior after batting .359 with 12 RBI and 16 runs as a freshman and .362 with 15 RBI and 16 runs as a sophomore.

"What's amazing is that she's a girl who doesn't pick up a bat until the season starts because she's so involved with basketball and volleyball," Hatfield said.

Piper, who was an OCC scholar athlete in eight of her 12 varsity seasons, plans to play both basketball and volleyball at Otterbein University.

"I already decided I was going to play basketball (in college) because that's my first love," she said. "But I love being active, I get bored easily, and so I went to talk to (Otterbein women's basketball coach Connie Richardson and Otterbein volleyball coach Monica McDonald) about playing both and they were very supportive and understanding."

Piper hasn't ruled out playing softball for Otterbein as well.

"We'll have to see how the other two (sports) go," she said.

Piper said she is spending the summer preparing to play at the college level.

"(After the springs sports) banquet, I hugged my parents and said, 'I can't believe it's over,'" she said. "I had a great career at Big Walnut, but now I'm moving on. I'm excited to see what the future brings."