For the fourth time in as many years, Bexley High School had the top athletics program in the MSL-Ohio Division.

The Lions won their fourth consecutive All-Sports Award for the league, prompting first-year athletics director Eli Goldberger to credit the 2017 senior class.

"This was one of the better years Bexley ever had and we had a really strong senior class," Goldberger said. "I think you have to give a lot of credit to the tremendous senior class. They were really good kids and I saw how much their leadership meant."

The Lions scored 78.5 of a possible 104 points to finish first in the overall MSL-Ohio standings for the 2016-17 school year, ahead of Worthington Christian (67.5), Grandview (66) and Columbus Academy (64.5).

The schools were assigned a number in each sport that correlated to a team's finish in the league standings. If seven teams participated in the sport, the champion would earn seven points, with six going to the runner-up, five to the third-place team, and so on. If two teams tied for the title in a seven-team sport, the co-champions each received 6.5 points.

Since the 2003-04 school year, the Lions have won the award six times, according to MSL commissioner Jim Hayes. They also won in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

"The kids really had great leadership in the coaches," Goldberger said. "I was impressed with the coaches and their commitment to the kids. Down the line, the coaches did a great job for us."

The Lions had four league champions: baseball, girls cross country, football and wrestling. Finishing second were boys cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, boys tennis and girls tennis, and boys basketball tied Grandview for second.

The football team won all six of its league games to win its second consecutive MSL-Ohio title. The Lions finished 11-1 overall and were the first team in program history to go 10-0 in the regular season.

"Not only is Bexley one of the top schools in the state academically, but (the award) shows how well-rounded the school is in a lot of areas athletically," said John Smith, who resigned as football coach in December after 10 seasons. "We had a very positive year and enough teams finished in the upper part of the league that they put themselves in position to win. It was a complete school effort across the board in all sports."

The girls cross country team won its second consecutive MSL-Ohio championship, edging Academy 35-36 in the league meet at London Country Club.

"We have high-achieving and hard-working kids who are dedicated to their sports," said coach Eric Acton, who has led the program for 29 seasons. "There is a sense of pride that goes with the award, and I think it brings all of the teams together. They root for each other and acknowledge their achievements. It's a great way to bring the sports teams together in a unifying manner."

The wrestling team captured its first league championship since winning the Buckeye Athletic Conference in 1998.

"We had an exceptional senior class in all sports at Bexley and (the juniors) will have some tough shoes to fill," said second-year coach Chris Bragg, a 2005 Bexley graduate. "Academics have always been huge here and it's nice to see sports also doing well."

The baseball team won its fourth consecutive league title. It was the first time it had won four in a row since 1941-44 in the Buckeye Central League.

"I think it's a pretty big honor," said coach Andrew Orlins, who has led the team for two seasons. "It just shows that all of the programs are successful and that has been contagious from the academic success. It shows how special this school is."

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