Rocky Fork Enterprise

Ralph Young All-Sports Trophy

Gahanna wins first All-Sports trophy

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Gahanna Lincoln proved throughout 2013-14 that it's more than just the high school with the OCC's largest enrollment.

That's what winning the Ralph Young All-Sports trophy for the OCC-Ohio Division for the first time represents for the school, according to girls track and field coach Roger Whittaker.

"People always say that Gahanna is such a big school and we should be good in everything, but we're not a university," Whittaker said. "We don't recruit. We've just recently turned up the knob on every sport and we've got a lot of different athletes who excel in different sports."

The All-Sports award, in its fifth year, is given to the school in each OCC division that performs the best in the league's 16 common sports over the course of the school year. Eight points are awarded for finishing first in a particular sport, seven for placing second, six for finishing third, and so on.

Gahanna scored 102 points to place ahead of four-time champion Pickerington North (95.5), Pickerington Central (92.5), Grove City (75.5), Lancaster (73.5), Reynoldsburg (57.5), Newark (52) and Groveport (24.5).

The award is named in honor of Young, a longtime OCC secretary and former athletics director at Delaware who also was a longtime track official and managed basketball tournaments at the sectional, district and regional levels for the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Young also served as treasurer of the OHSAA's Central District.

New Albany won the All-Sports trophy in the OCC-Capital, Olentangy Liberty won the OCC-Central and Westerville Central won the OCC-Cardinal.

Gahanna captured outright OCC-Ohio championships in boys soccer, girls cross country and girls track and tied for first in boys basketball and softball.

The Lions also earned runner-up finishes in boys cross country, girls tennis and boys golf. They tied for second in girls basketball and boys tennis and placed third in boys track.

A second-place tie in the OCC-Capital in boys volleyball and a championship in the OCC-Ohio in girls swimming and diving did not count toward the point total because not all schools field teams in those sports.

"Pickerington North has swept it every year since its inception and we've always been right there, but we've always been the bridesmaids," athletics director Justin Sanford said. "We knew after we had a pretty consistent fall and winter that we had the lead going into the spring season. We talked to the kids in March about how we wanted to close the deal, and it was a great spring season. We knew we had an opportunity to get it done."

Last Oct. 12, Kelsey Sandlin was first in 19 minutes, 31.6 seconds to help the Lions score 29 points to capture the girls cross country league title.

A boys soccer team featuring goalkeeper Christian Grimme, who was OCC-Ohio Player of the Year, went 7-0 to win at least a share of the program's 10th consecutive league title.

With OCC-Ohio co-Player of the Year Javon Bess leading the way, the boys basketball team went 11-3 to earn a share of the league title with Pickerington Central and Newark.

In the spring, the softball team went 13-1 to tie Grove City for first and the girls track team scored 202.5 points May 15 and 17 at Thomas Worthington to capture its second consecutive league title.

Catcher Becca Gavin, who will play for Ohio State, was league Player of the Year in softball.

Sandlin also led the girls track team to the league title, winning the 1,600 meters (5:10.7) and 3,200 (11:39.4) and also running on the winning 3,200 relay (9:34.63). Also capturing two individual league titles was Sydney Stokes in the 300 hurdles (45.35) and long jump (17 feet, 2 3/4 inches), while MiAngel Daniels won the 100 hurdles (14.68) and ran on the winning 400 relay (49.9).

Rylee Tanner, who also was a key runner in cross country, won the 800 (2:20.61) and ran on the winning 3,200 relay.

"(Winning the Ralph Young trophy) is a testament to Justin Sanford's leadership," said Todd Keenan, who was boys soccer coach the last two seasons before stepping down July 9 to become dean of students at New Albany. "He speaks a lot to all of the sports teams. He's about every sport and does a good job of hiring coaches."

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