As far as Tanner Cline is concerned, the groundwork for New Albany High School winning its fifth consecutive Ralph Young All-Sports trophy for the OCC-Capital Division began around the time the Eagles won their first.
"Ever since middle school, this whole class of kids has been together and the chemistry has always been there," said Cline, a 2014 New Albany graduate who was the starting quarterback for the football team. "I remember beating up on other OCC teams back then, too, and it carried on during our high school careers, too. So many of us have gone to New Albany schools all the way through, and it gives us a lot of pride when our teams win."
Nine league championships, including eight outright titles, over the course of the 2013-14 school year enabled New Albany to maintain its status as the OCC-Capital's premier athletic program and one of the area's best.
The All-Sports award, in its fifth year, goes to the school in each OCC division that performs the best in 16 common team sports over the course of the school year. Eight points are awarded for finishing first, seven for placing second, six for finishing third, and so on.
New Albany totaled 107 points for the second consecutive year. Olentangy (90) was second, followed by Worthington Kilbourne (81), Olentangy Orange (79.5), Delaware (70), Big Walnut (64), Mount Vernon (59.5) and Franklin Heights (23).
The other All-Sports award winners were Westerville Central in the OCC-Cardinal, Olentangy Liberty in the OCC-Central and Gahanna in the OCC-Ohio.
New Albany, whose point total was the highest in the 32-team conference, won outright league championships in boys cross country, girls cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, boys tennis, girls tennis, boys track and field and girls track and field and tied Delaware for the boys basketball title.
The football team finished second to Kilbourne before advancing to the Division II, Region 7 final, where it lost 35-28 to Zanesville.
"We take this very seriously. It means total program success," said athletics director Kevin Reed, who, like Cline, gave some credit for the award to strength and conditioning coach Jeff Sydes. "We see how much bigger and stronger our kids are, and that credit goes to coach Sydes. Our kids don't have 26 conditioning programs. They all do the same thing. (Sydes) is an expert, and we're lucky to have him."
The All-Sports 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.
Reed has a special attachment to the award. He was Delaware's athletics director from 1993-2010, succeeding Young.
"It'll be special to see him in the fall when this award is presented at one of our football games," Reed said.
Second-place league finishes in boys and girls swimming, boys lacrosse in the OCC-Ohio and girls lacrosse did not count toward the All-Sports award.
"I've heard teachers say for a long time that how the football team does in the fall seems to carry through the year with other teams," said Cline, who was a three-year starter on the football team and played basketball for four seasons. "I don't know why, but I've heard it, and there seems to be that momentum."