Pickerington High School North teams don't win every OCC-Ohio Division championship, but the Panthers claimed enough of them in 2012-13 to again be recognized as the league's best all-around athletics program.
For the fourth consecutive year, North won the Ralph Young All-Sports trophy for the OCC-Ohio.
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.
"That's awesome," North athletics director Molly Feesler said when told no other league school had won the trophy since its inception in 2010. "I feel we have great coaches and very talented athletes and it's a tribute to how much they all work together. As an A.D., most of us are former coaches and athletes ourselves, and we're still pretty competitive by nature. It's exciting to keep this award."
The award is named in honor of Young, a longtime OCC secretary and track official who also managed basketball tournaments at the sectional, district and regional levels for the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Young also formerly served as athletics director at Delaware and treasurer of the OHSAA's Central District.
During the 2012-13 school year, the Panthers won outright league championships in baseball, boys cross country, boys golf, boys swimming, boys tennis, boys track and field, girls golf, girls soccer, girls swimming and girls volleyball.
The football and wrestling teams each tied Pickerington Central for league titles.
Earning third-place finishes were the boys soccer, girls basketball, girls cross country, girls tennis and girls track teams.
North scored 106.5 of a possible 128 points to finish ahead of Gahanna (101.5), Central (94), Grove City (68), Lancaster (67.5), Reynoldsburg (62.5), Newark (45.5) and Groveport (28.5).
OCC-Ohio championships for the boys swimming, girls swimming and girls golf teams, a second-place finish for the boys lacrosse team in the OCC-Central and the boys volleyball team's third-place finish in the OCC-Capital did not count toward the point total because not all schools field teams in those sports.
The other Ralph Young All-Sports winners were New Albany in the OCC-Capital, Westerville North in the OCC-Cardinal and Olentangy Liberty in the OCC-Central.
Pickerington North's successes didn't stop at the league level.
Senior Desmond Palmer of the boys track team won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles state championships June 8 at Ohio State, and guided the 800 and 1,600 relays to state titles as North placed second (47) behind Lakewood St. Edward (62).
The football and girls soccer teams each lost in Division I state semifinals. The football team lost to Cincinnati Moeller 26-21 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton on Nov. 24, and the girls soccer team lost to Mason 1-0 on Nov. 6 at Bellbrook.
"You just want to carry on the tradition of excellence when you put on the uniform," said Christy Macioce, a 2013 graduate who was first-team all-league and second-team all-district in soccer and first-team all-league and all-district in basketball. "I think it definitely started with our senior class. We had a lot of success in a lot of sports. Our coaches have been around awhile and they know how to win. All of us have high expectations."
Perhaps magnifying North's accomplishment is the depth of its league. Gahanna's baseball team lost in a state semifinal; Central, Gahanna and Grove City's softball teams comprised three-fourths of the Division I regional at Ohio State; and Central and Gahanna won boys basketball district titles.