For the first time, ThisWeek is honoring a Coach of the Year for all spring sports, and three of those eight coaches won state championships this season.

Ty Brenning

Olentangy Liberty

Baseball

For Brenning, winning a state championship was a new experience. The seventh-year coach guided the Patriots to an 8-1 victory over Whitehouse Anthony Wayne in the Division I state final June 2 at Huntington Park.

The Patriots bounced back from a 13-13 finish in 2017 to win the OCC-Buckeye Division at 14-1 and go 30-4 overall.

"I feel like our regular season really prepares us to play anyone from anywhere," Brenning said. "We're super humbled and privileged. ... We talk a lot about being champions first and winning championships second."

Steve Comisford

Dublin Coffman

Boys lacrosse

In two seasons under Comisford, Coffman has gone 39-6. The Shamrocks followed a 2017 season in which they shared the OCC-Central title by winning the league championship outright.

Coffman earned its second consecutive title in the Emerald Cup series between the Dublin programs, beat perennial-power UA for the second year in a row during the regular season and received the No. 1 seed for the Division I, Region 1 tournament.

Coffman lost to Cleveland St. Ignatius 16-15 on May 30 in a state semifinal to finish 21-2. Its only other loss also was by one goal, 10-9 on March 27 to eventual Division II state champion DeSales.

Karen Kochheiser

Olentangy

Boys volleyball

In her third season, Kochheiser has steadily led Olentangy to prominence. The Braves went 23-5 this spring, advancing to their first state tournament before falling to Cincinnati Moeller 23-25, 31-29, 25-22, 25-21 in a quarterfinal June 2 at Capital University.

Olentangy was 23-4 last year and finished as Division I East Region runner-up each of the previous two seasons.

The Braves also went 10-0 in the OCC-Buckeye this season to win the league title.

Wendy Pinta

Upper Arlington

Girls lacrosse

Pinta and the Golden Bears have made season-ending celebrations a tradition of late. In the seventh season of her second stint at UA, Pinta has won 361 career games and led the Golden Bears to eight state championships, including the last four.

UA finished 24-0, defeating New Albany 11-5 in the Division I state final June 2 at Ohio Wesleyan.

The Bears were the top-ranked team in the state all season and have not lost to another in-state team since 2014, a span of 76 games.

UA had the ThisWeek girls lacrosse Athlete of the Year in Lauren Farber, and honorable mention selection Megan Kozar as well as Brenna Smith and Brooke Smith gave the program a strong collection of talent.

"Our unit is extraordinary," Pinta said. "I'm biased, but I believe any one of those players could be considered not just the top player in central Ohio but could be argued to be the best player in the state. ... I think we have talent that is unmatched in the state. We play as a unit."

Jennifer Segner-Maxwell and Chris Shirer

Marysville

Softball

Marysville earned the No. 1 seed for the Division I district tournament under co-coaches Segner-Maxwell and Shirer.

Shirer, who spent 27 seasons with the program in some capacity, stepped down at season's end.

Segner-Maxwell is a 1996 Marysville graduate who was an assistant under Shirer for two seasons and has served as a head coach since 2010.

The Monarchs went 10-0 to win the OCC-Central and then reached a district semifinal, where they lost to Westerville Central 14-5 on May 14 to finish 19-2 overall.

Marc Thomas

New Albany

Boys tennis

In his sixth season, Thomas has overseen the continued dominance of one of the area's most successful programs. New Albany has won 76 consecutive OCC-Capital matches as well as 13 league championships in a row.

The Eagles captured two Division I state championships this year, as Robert Cash won the singles title and Devin Boyer and Nathan Jose won in doubles. They also finished as Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I state runners-up.

Adam Walters

Olentangy Orange

Boys track and field

Walters guided Orange to a Division I regional runner-up finish despite having lost a pair of state qualifiers, including the Pioneers' first state champion, to graduation.

Jayden Rodgers won the 110 hurdles as the Pioneers finished fifth at the state meet.

Orange finished fourth at state a year ago under Walters, who completed his fifth season this spring.

Roger Whittaker

Gahanna

Girls track and field

Whittaker is getting more accustomed to the feeling of being a state champion as the Lions won the title this season and shared it in 2015.

After earning a share of the state title, the Lions were runners-up each of the last two seasons. This time, they left little doubt, scoring 51 points June 1 and 2 at Ohio State to win the championship by 20 points over Lancaster and Twinsburg, who tied for second.

The Lions had one of the state's best corps of middle-distance runners, led by junior 800-meter state champion Madison Martinez, senior Claire Steigerwald and junior Shynae Deas, and won the 3,200 relay and the 1,600 relay.

After 30 seasons, Whittaker has used a simple form of encouragement when it comes to the ups and downs of his sport.

"What we preached all week long (heading into the state meet was) there were going to be some good things that happen and things that are not good, but you've got 90 seconds to get over it," Whittaker said.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek