For the third year in a row and for the fourth time in the five-year history of the award, Olentangy Liberty High School has earned a Ralph Young All-Sports trophy.
The Patriots won the award in the OCC-Central Division for the 2013-14 school year, scoring 100.5 points to finish ahead of Dublin Coffman (96.5), Hilliard Davidson (89), Upper Arlington (82), Thomas Worthington (75), Marysville (69.5), Central Crossing (33.5) and Westland (30).
Liberty also won the award in the OCC-Central for the 2012-13 school year, scoring 101 points to edge runner-up Coffman (100.5), after winning it in the OCC-Cardinal in the 2011-12 and 2009-10 school years.
"This award is a big deal for everyone involved in Liberty athletics because it's a testament to the hard work put in by our coaches, athletes and support staff," athletics director Darin Meeker said.
"It all starts with the people we have and the year-round hard work they put in. This past year, we implemented a new strength training and conditioning program (through Ohio State Sports Medicine) and our coaches and athletes really bought into it, which helped make our programs even more successful."
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.
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, totaling 107 points to finish ahead of Olentangy (90), Worthington Kilbourne (81), Orange (79.5), Delaware (70), Big Walnut (64), Mount Vernon (59.5) and Franklin Heights (23).
The other All-Sports award winners for the past school year were Gahanna in the OCC-Ohio and Westerville Central in the OCC-Cardinal.
"We've created a great culture in our athletics department at Liberty, where there's quite a competitive spirit that's shared amongst our head coaches and our student-athletes are embracing the opportunity to take on big challenges," Liberty baseball coach Ty Brenning said. "It's a pretty cool place to be as a teacher and a coach, and the success we've had is a tribute to the hard work of our student-athletes."
The only sport in which Liberty won the OCC-Central title outright this past school year was baseball. The softball team shared the league title with Marysville. Placing second were the boys basketball, boys track and field and wrestling teams, with the boys cross country and boys soccer teams both tying for second.
Liberty finished third in boys golf, girls basketball, girls soccer, girls tennis, girls track and field and girls volleyball, tied for third in football and finished fourth in boys tennis and girls cross country.
The Patriots were the only team in the OCC-Central to place fourth or higher in all 16 sports.
"We were consistently good across the board in all 16 of the sports that they use to determine this award, which is exciting because all of our athletes played a role in us winning it," Meeker said. "I also want to point out that we were successful in all of the 29 sports that we offer, top to bottom, at Liberty."
Entering the spring season, Coffman had 76.5 points in the OCC-Central standings and Liberty had 67. The Patriots overcame that deficit, due in large part to their baseball and softball teams.
"The (All-Sports award) is something we talked about this spring and our girls knew that they, along with our baseball team, could put us over the top if we won the OCC," softball coach Bob Lee said. "We both came through and we were all real happy about it because it gives us a lot of pride in our school. It's a prestigious award because it's about sportsmanship as much as it's about winning."
Among the athletes who helped Liberty fare well in the OCC-Central in more than one sport were Chatham Anderson, Andrew Johnston, Brad Wiemels and Josh Wojciechowski in cross country and track and Devin Collins in soccer and track.
"We don't have as many multi-sport athletes as we used to because our school is so big, but the core of my team ran both cross country and track," boys track coach Ryan Snivley said.
Collins, a 2014 graduate who will be playing soccer at Wright State University, said the All-Sports award is unique in that it can be shared by all of the school's athletes.
"We feel good about this because it took an all-around great effort from all of our teams to win it," he said. "As a multi-sport athlete, I take a lot of pride in this because I know I did my best to help contribute to us winning it.
"When it comes to sports at Liberty, the students all come together to support each other because we're all in the same boat. We're like a big family, and I'm going to miss being a part of this school."