Nick Darragh's actions often have spoken just as loud as his words the last few years.
One of two seniors and a captain for the Olentangy Liberty High School boys tennis team, he has become one of the best cello players in the school and last summer started a tennis program for people with special needs.
His hope of studying medicine when he gets to college also backs up his values.
"I really like helping people," Darragh said. "I learned that I think it was my great, great, great, great grandfather was (a pioneer in) radiology in the early 1900s, so that instantly made me interested in it. I did a small internship over the summer with the professor of radiology at Ohio State."
Darragh won seven of his first 11 matches this season, including teaming with the program's only other senior, co-captain and first-singles player Hoang Do, to win at first doubles during a 4-1 loss April 20 to Olentangy.
He has spent most of the season splitting time between first doubles, second singles and third singles.
The Patriots lost to St. Charles 5-0 on April 24 and were 5-6 overall before playing Hilliard Darby on April 26.
They finished 3-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division.
Orange is leading the league at 4-0 with a match to make up against Westerville North.
Coach Josh Matusky has been impressed with what Darragh has brought to the team.
"We're young so we've tried some different things out, but we've gotten stronger as the season has gone on," Matusky said. "Nick plays in the symphony and he also runs a program for Special Olympics tennis so he's involved in the community. He's a really great kid."
Darragh's sister, freshman Allie Darragh, plays soccer and field hockey at Liberty. He played football for three years before choosing to focus on other pursuits this school year.
He and his father, Alex Darragh, helped coach basketball with the Delaware County Special Olympics program when he was a seventh-grader.
That helped spur on the idea of starting a tennis program through the organization last summer.
"I coach Special Olympics tennis through the Delaware Special Olympics on Mondays," Darragh said. "Right now we're supposed to have six players, and the athletes range from a 10-year-old to a 52-year-old."
Darragh missed his sophomore tennis season after breaking his right ankle while playing pickup basketball. Last spring, he teamed with 2016 graduate Daniel Moran to reach the third round of the Division I sectional tournament at Hilliard Davidson.
Darragh is hoping for a strong finish to his prep career before heading to Ohio University, where he hopes to continue playing the cello.
"We started off pretty rough, but we've picked it up and started to get our lineup going," he said.
"I'm in the chamber group of our school orchestra as the co-principal cellist. We have four orchestras in our school, and the chamber is the best one you can be in. I definitely (want to play cello) in college and I've talked to the cello professor at Ohio University."
looks to hit stride
On Saturday, April 29, the softball team plays host to Thomas Worthington in a doubleheader in which proceeds and donations will go to pediatric cancer research.
The Patriots lost to Orange 4-2 on April 24 and were 6-8 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before facing Westerville South on April 26.
Although it scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, Liberty couldn't complete a rally against Olentangy on April 20 and lost 5-4.
The game sums up the inconsistency the Patriots are hoping to solve during the final weeks of the regular season.
"We were not moving the ball much and not being real smart at the plate," coach Bob Lee said. "We didn't make our adjustments quite soon enough. We seem to win one, lose one, win two and then lose two, so we've been rather inconsistent. We just have got to be mentally focused the entire game."
Through 11 games, Kennedy Kashmiry (SS) was batting .488 with one home run and 14 RBI, Arica Flaugher (C) was hitting .400 with three homers, 10 RBI and 10 walks, Marissa McPhail (OF/P) was batting .371, Lillee LaRosa (RF) was hitting .368 and Sydney Lane (1B) had nine RBI.
The only senior in the program is Randi Saito (OF/P).
Pitcher Katelyn Wilhelm homered against Olentangy.
"Kashmiry has been having a real good season," Lee said. "Arica Flaugher has (three) home runs. Marissa McPhail moved up to the two spot because she's been moving the ball.
"All (six) of our sophomores played varsity last year and I think we're going to surprise some people at the end of the year. If we put it all together, we can hit and catch it."
Track teams compete
at Freedom Relays
The track and field program played host to the eight-team Freedom Relays on April 21.
The boys finished fifth (52) behind champion Orange (101), and the girls scored 51 points to finish behind co-champions Westerville Central and Orange (60).
Jared Whitfield led the boys by tying for first in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches), while the 440 meters shuttle hurdles relay of Jonathan Mace, Ryan Miller, Mitchell Reitz and Jake Sincek (1 minute, 4.11 seconds) and the 4,000 relay of Logan Boone, Adam Clark, Joseph Johnson and Ryan Milligan (11:16.44) each finished second. The 1,600 relay of Andrew Bendick, Mace, Milligan and Whitfield was third (3:37.36).
"It's been going pretty well," coach Nate Cikach said. "I think we've been doing what we need to do to get better. We're sort of doing it as a team. We've got a bunch of guys contributing in the field and our (1,600 relay) has been a highlight so far this year. We've got a lot of interchangeable parts."
For the girls, the 400 shuttle hurdles relay of Sydney Englehart, Kelsey Mockler, Reagan Smoller and Emily Williams captured a title in 1:05.09.
Earning runner-up finishes were the 3,000 relay of Emma Bower, Sophia Englehart, Lauren Spicer and Gracie Sprankle (9:13.94) and the 6,400 relay of Bower, Sarah Colvin, Emily Matta and Sprankle (21:35.13). The 800 relay of Carrie Lawal, Spicer, Chloe Stoff and Abby Summers was third (1:49.85).