Olentangy Liberty High School athletics director Darin Meeker said the Patriots’ coaches and athletes were eager to test themselves in the OCC-Central Division during the 2012-13 school year after having been in the OCC-Cardinal.
Liberty more than held its own during its first year in the OCC-Central, as it won the Ralph Young All-Sports Trophy in the league after winning the award in the OCC-Cardinal two of the previous three school years, including 2011-12.
The award goes to the school that performs the best in the OCC's 16 common sports over the course of a school year. Eight points are awarded for finishing first, seven for placing second, six for finishing third, and so on.
“We’re thrilled and honored to win this award, especially given the fact that this is our first year competing in the OCC-Central,” Meeker said. “We definitely had some very strong competition in this division of the OCC and we had to do consistently well in all of these sports to win this award.”
Now in its fourth year, the award honors Young, a longtime Ohio Capital Conference 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.
Liberty, which was in the OCC-Cardinal the previous four years after spending four years in the OCC-Capital, scored 101 points to edge Dublin Coffman (100.5) for first place in the OCC-Central. Hilliard Davidson (92) finished third, followed by Upper Arlington (83), Thomas Worthington (78.5), Marysville (61.5), Central Crossing (32) and Westland (26.5).
Coffman had won the award in the OCC-Central the previous two years.
The other award winners for the 2012-13 school year were New Albany in the OCC-Capital, Pickerington North in the OCC-Ohio and Westerville North in the OCC-Cardinal.
“This is a great honor for everyone involved in Liberty athletics,” boys basketball coach Greg Nossaman said. “It’s every team’s No. 1 goal to win an OCC title, and we all work hard for this year-round, beginning with the hard work the athletes put into the offseason.”
During the 2012-13 school year, Liberty won outright OCC-Central titles in boys soccer and boys basketball. Coffman won four outright OCC-Central titles and Davidson and UA each won three.
The Liberty softball team shared the OCC-Central title with Marysville, and the Patriots had second-place finishes in boys cross country, girls volleyball and boys track and field and tied for second in baseball and girls tennis.
“In addition to winning three OCC championships, we had quite a few second-place finishes and had an awful lot of strong finishes across all 16 sports,” Meeker said. “A lot of the credit goes to our coaches because they do a great job preparing our athletes to be successful against great competition.”
Sam DeRoy, a 2013 graduate, helped Liberty win both of its outright OCC-Central titles. He was a starting midfielder for the boys soccer team and a starting guard for the boys basketball team.
“We take a lot of pride in this award as a school because we’ve really grown over the years,” DeRoy said. “Dublin Coffman’s a big school that we used to be scared of, but this shows that we’ve caught up with them and even surpassed them in the OCC.
“We had a special season in soccer and went all the way to win the (Division I) state championship. We were a big surprise in basketball. We were supposed to be down after losing a lot of good seniors, but we proved everyone wrong by winning the OCC again.”
Even though Liberty’s enrollment in the 2012-13 school year was more than 1,700 students, several athletes helped the Patriots place high in the OCC-Central standings in multiple sports.
“Half of our team ran both cross country and track and we were real happy with our second-place finish in the OCC,” boys track coach Ryan Snivley said. “We had some kids give exceptional performances in both cross country and track. Zach VanGundy, Andrew Johnston and Brad Wiemels were part of a solid foundation in our point scoring in each sport.
“Winning the all-sports trophy in our first year competing in the big-school division of the OCC is a big accomplishment and something all of us at Liberty are very proud of.”