The OCC's realignment for the 2016-17 school year did not slow down what Olentangy Liberty High School has been accomplishing against league opponents the last several years.
After competing in the OCC-Central from 2012-16, Liberty moved to the OCC-Buckeye as the conference went from four to five divisions.
Despite facing different league opponents, the Patriots won the Ralph Young All-Sports Award for the sixth consecutive year.
"That's an exciting honor for our school," football coach Steve Hale said. "It means we're competitive at everything we do. We have great athletes and coaches who work very hard to be successful. We all should be very proud."
The All-Sports award, in its eighth year, goes to the school in each of the OCC's five divisions that performs the best in the conference's common sports over the course of the school year. There were 20 common sports in the OCC-Buckeye. Six points were awarded for finishing first, five for placing second, four for finishing third, and so on.
Liberty totaled 96 points to finish ahead of Olentangy (85), Orange (83), Westerville Central (73), Westerville North (48) and Westerville South (46.5).
The Patriots' football team, which reached a Division I state semifinal, helped set the tone by going 5-0 in the OCC-Buckeye despite having two of its top players, Brendon White (QB/RB/WR/DB) and Edward Warinner (LB), miss time with injuries. Johnny Wiseman (WR/DB/RB) was named league Player of the Year.
Also capturing league titles during the fall were the girls cross country, boys golf and girls tennis teams.
In girls cross country, Gracie Sprankle was runner-up (18 minutes, 17.1 seconds) and Emma Bower placed third (18:33.9) in the league meet as the Patriots had five of the top 13 finishers.
The boys golf team went 19-1 in the league tournament as Kyle Mitchell earned league Player of the Year honors with a 72.8 average and Trey Rath (75.5) and Ronnie Foth (75.8) also were first-team all-league.
Led by Lexi Steer at first singles and Sidney Reineke at second singles, the girls tennis team went 5-0 in the OCC-Central. Steer was a co-Player of the Year in the league and Reineke went on to make the state tournament.
Also in the fall, the Patriots were runners-up in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division on their way to reaching a state semifinal.
"It's a great feeling to win the all-sports trophy," boys golf coach Ryan Snively said. "I can speak for golf specifically, and my guys have a great mindset and drive to be the best they can be.
"As a school, winning is contagious and our kids at Liberty have been going the extra mile to be good at their sport. We have a great culture at Liberty, and as coaches, we would like to continue the winning mindset. For our school to win this award is quite an honor. This is recognition of all the hard work the coaches put in throughout the year."
During the winter season, the girls basketball team won the OCC-Central title, going 8-2 in league play, despite losing one of its top players, guard Bre Yashko, to a season-ending injury with six regular-season games remaining. Teegan Pifher, a freshman forward, was a first-team all-league honoree along with Yashko.
"The Ralph Young award is special," girls basketball coach Sam Krafty said. "I think it's a direct reflection of the investment our entire athletic department makes in helping our student-athletes achieve their goals and make their high school years memorable."
The wrestling team went 5-0 in the league on its way to winning sectional and district titles and finishing third in the state. Brakan Mead (113 pounds), Jordan Rosselli (120), Trey Grenier (145), Connor Brady (152), Kyle Lawson (160) and Trevor Lawson (170) led the way. Mead went on to win a state title.
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams also finished first in the OCC-Buckeye, but their finishes didn't count toward the All-Sports award.
"We have lots of great people at Liberty that make things work," wrestling coach Mark Marinelli said. "It feels great that we can contribute to our community in a positive way. Our (athletic director, Darin Meeker) sets up things for success and improves our mindsets about being a team and family."
During the spring season, the boys lacrosse team led the way by going 7-0 in an eight-team OCC-Buckeye that also included Big Walnut and New Albany, both of which compete in the OCC-Capital in other sports.
Earning league runner-up finishes over the course of the school year were the girls volleyball, girls soccer, boys cross country and girls lacrosse teams as well as the boys soccer team, which tied Olentangy and Orange for second.
The boys basketball, boys bowling, boys tennis and girls track and field teams each took third and the softball team tied for third.
The other All-Sports award winners were Dublin Coffman in the OCC-Central, Hilliard Darby in the OCC-Cardinal, New Albany in the OCC-Capital and Pickerington Central in the OCC-Ohio.
The award is named in honor of Young, who was a longtime OCC secretary and 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 athletics director at Delaware and treasurer of the OHSAA's Central District.
"Liberty continues to raise our standards in everything we do," Marinelli said. "We want to excel in everything we do at our school."