The Athletes of the Year were named at the ThisWeek Sports Awards banquet May 22 at Villa Milano. Here are the honorees for the spring season:Robert Cash
The senior and Ohio State recruit led New Albany to its 13th consecutive OCC-Capital Division championship and fourth Ohio Tennis Coaches Asssociation Division I state tournament appearance in a row.
Cash, who also was ThisWeek's Boys Tennis Athlete of the Year as a junior and sophomore, usually played first singles and was a three-time OHSAA Division I state tournament qualifier but opted to sit out the individual postseason this year for personal reasons. He was state singles champion as a junior, placed fourth in singles as a sophomore and finished third in doubles with classmate Nathan Jose as a freshman.
This spring, New Albany went 16-2 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Capital and defeated Findlay 4-0 in the third-place match of the OTCA state tournament May 26 at Elysium Tennis Center.
"Robert is the best player in the state as far as I'm concerned," coach Marc Thomas said. "He always came out, showed up and gave his best for this team. He always went after it. He's one of the best doubles players in the country, too, and he's going to do great things at Ohio State.
"For him, it was always about our team and you don't always see that with a player of his talent. New Albany tennis was always a priority."
Devin Boyer, New Albany, So.; Alex Heiden, Olentangy Orange, Sr.; Nathan Jose, New Albany, Sr.; and Reece Yakubov, St. Charles, So.
Cash (2018 and 2017); Jacob Wareti, Columbus Academy (2016 and 2015); Chuck Shewalter, Upper Arlington (2014); Stu Little, Upper Arlington (2013)
This senior attacker piled up numbers that place him at the top of Dublin Coffman's all-time scoring list.
A Loyola of Maryland recruit, James helped lead the Shamrocks to their first Division I state championship this season. He had 85 goals and 35 assists and was named state Player of the Year and the Attackman of the Year.
James is the program's leader in points (301) and goals (199). He also has 102 career assists.
James had eight goals in a 15-8 victory over Cleveland St. Ignatius in a state semifinal May 28 at Wooster, one of which he scored while rolling on the ground and another that he scored from near midfield.
He scored five goals in a 13-8 win over Cincinnati St. Xavier in the state final June 1 at Ohio Wesleyan as the Shamrocks finished 21-1, with their only loss coming against Bloomfield Hills (Michigan) Brother Rice (8-6).
"That kid's unbelievable," coach Shane Comisford said of James. "He had 17 caused turnovers (against St. Xavier) as an attackman. Those equal points."
As a junior, James had 59 goals and 34 assists as Coffman went 21-2 and lost in a state semifinal for the second time before reaching the title game for the first time this spring.
Peter Ackley, New Albany, Sr.; Tommy Clayton, DeSales, Sr.; Dominic Dean, Watterson, Jr.; and Nick Harris, Dublin Coffman, Sr.
Jack DeSantis, DeSales (2018); Jack Dolan, Upper Arlington (2017); Danny Logan, Upper Arlington (2016); Justin Wick, Upper Arlington (2015); Brandon Jones, Upper Arlington (2014); Jack Warmolts, Upper Arlington (2013)
GIRLS TRACK & FIELD
This senior for Gahanna finished her high school career with seven gold medals, including four Division I state titles in the 1,600-meter relay.
Martinez also helped the Lions earn state titles in the 3,200 relay in 2016 and 2018 and won the 800 title in 2018.
Overall, Martinez reached the state podium in each of the 12 events in which she competed. A Villanova recruit, she also won 10 OCC-Ohio Division, 10 district and eight regional titles between open events and relays.
"It's just crazy the type of talent and effort and attitude she brings to the team," sophomore teammate Meghan Massmann said. "I've never seen anyone with an attitude like hers sitting there, saying, 'Let's stay positive.' It's (great) running behind her, training with her every day."
In the state meet May 31 at Ohio State, Martinez teamed with Massmann, Shynae Deas and Alexis Thigpen on the runner-up 3,200 relay (8 minutes, 55.9 seconds). Martinez got the baton with the Lions a few strides out of first and nearly caught Thomas Worthington anchor Gia Napoleon, as the Cardinals won by just .05 of a second.
The next day, Martinez placed second in the 800 (2:09.11) before anchoring the 1,600 relay to its fifth consecutive state title. The relay, which also included Thigpen, Joi Bradley and Deas, won in 3:46.2.
Grace Frye, Olentangy Orange, Sr.; Makiya Montgomery, Beechcroft, Jr.; Lindsay Stull, Hilliard Davidson, So.; and Jaydan Wood, Pickerington Central, Sr.
Abby Steiner, Dublin Coffman (2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015); Sade Olatoye, Dublin Coffman (2014); Aaliyah Barnes, Eastmoor Academy (2013)
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
This Pickerington Central senior and Ohio State recruit finished his high school career by winning his second consecutive Division I state championship in the 300-meter hurdles -- recording the nation's top time in that event in the process -- and participating on the winning 800 relay to help the Tigers repeat as team champions.
Matthews won the 300 hurdles in 36.88 seconds June 1 at Ohio State. He ran a 36.12 a week earlier in the regional meet at Pickerington North, which was the fastest time in the nation this season, according to MileSplit.com. He also won that event in the OCC-Ohio Division and district 1 meets.
Also at state, Matthews finished 17th in the 110 hurdles.
"He's one of a handful of people I think I could put in multiple events and have him win all of them," coach Jason Roach said. "Evan's really special. He's run the 100 and obviously the hurdles and I could plug him into the 400 and long jump and he'd do well. If he'd have been on the (400 relay) at state, we could have set a state record there. The only reason we didn't use him in the field is because we didn't want to take the chance of getting him injured. He could have been our record holder in the long jump, too. He's one of the best we've ever had."
Jaeschel Acheampong, Olentangy Orange, Jr.; Denzell Feagin, Pickerington Central, Sr.; Korbin Martino, Canal Winchester, So.; and LaCarr Trent, Gahanna, Sr.
Daevon Anderson, Hilliard Bradley (2018); Lonzell Feagin, Canal Winchester (2017); Andrew Jordan, Watkins Memorial (2016); Nick Gray, Pickerington North (2015 and 2014); Desmond Palmer, Pickerington North (2013)
This junior setter led Hilliard Darby to its 14th consecutive state tournament appearance and its 20th consecutive league championship.
Platfoot was named the Division I state Player of the Year as well as East Region and OCC-Cardinal Division Player of the Year, as the top-ranked Panthers finished 26-3 after losing to second-ranked Cincinnati St. Xavier 25-14, 25-22, 25-12 in a state semifinal June 1 at Capital.
In 24 regular-season matches, Platfoot averaged 8.3 assists and 2.1 digs per set.
"We pretty much live and die with him and his great decision-making," coach Evan Bell said. "He does a good job reading defenses and giving us one-on-one hitting threats. I think one of his biggest assets is his ability to make something happen when we do get out of system. He gets us right back in system very quick because he's really, really fast and he gets his feet and body square."
As a sophomore, Platfoot was first-team all-state and all-region and league Player of the Year.
"He's a three-year starter and a three-year captain. That shows how much his teammates respect him," Bell said. "When you gain that much respect as a freshman, you know he's very special. He is a tremendous player and leader and he's getting better every season."
Jake Franz, St. Charles, Sr.; Jonah Gilbert, Hilliard Bradley, So.; Mason Milan, Gahanna, Sr.; and Justin Sharfenaker, Briggs, Sr.
Aaric Gossett, Olentangy (2018); Brad Brinkerhoff, Hilliard Darby (2017); Dejon Clark, Pickerington North (2016); Evan Feltz, DeSales (2015 and 2014); Jared Kelso, Hilliard Darby (2013)
The senior midfielder for New Albany scored a program-record 90 goals as the Eagles reached their second consecutive Division I state final.
The Ohio State recruit finished her high school career with 245 goals and was named an All-American as well as first-team all-state and all-region and OCC-Buckeye Division Player of the Year.
New Albany went 19-4 overall and 7-0 in the league, finishing the season as the state's top-ranked team regardless of division, according to LaxNumbers.com, despite losing to Upper Arlington 12-10 in the state final June 1 at Ohio Wesleyan.
New Albany, which also lost to UA 11-5 in last year's state final, was seeking its first state title since 2013 and fifth overall.
Rezabek had 48 goals and 18 assists as a freshman, 42 goals and 27 assists as a sophomore and a team-high 65 goals and 11 assists as a junior.
"She was such a leader for us. She had great games all year long and she's smart on top of that," coach Dave Ferguson said. "She has the (season-scoring) record for the (program) and that right there tells you how tremendous she is. She has been a tremendous player to coach and she did so much for us the last four years. She was a captain, a great leader. She will do great things at Ohio State."
Molly Bursinger, Olentangy Liberty, Sr.; Sophia Finotti, DeSales, Sr.; Izzy Francati, Dublin Jerome, Jr.; and Ellena Schildmeyer, Upper Arlington, Jr.
Lauren Farber, Upper Arlington (2018); Olivia Schildmeyer, Upper Arlington (2017); Liza Hernandez, New Albany (2016); Molly Plasket, Upper Arlington (2015); Miriam Bassani, Worthington Kilbourne (2014); Elaina Enich, New Albany (2013)
Led by this junior pitcher, Westerville Central went 28-3, won the OCC-Buckeye Division title and reached a Division I state semifinal before losing to Liberty Township Lakota East 4-3 on May 31 at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
Ruck finished 22-1 with a 0.96 ERA, 231 strikeouts and 73 walks in 123 2/3 innings and had a .400 batting average. She was named first-team all-state and all-district as well as league Player of the Year.
A transfer from Amanda-Clearcreek, Ruck set the program record for wins in a season, topping the previous mark of 19 set by Paige McMenemy in 2013.
"I knew she was good. I didn't know she was going to be this good," coach Brian Wamsley said. "She fed off the others. As she was pitching and doing well, we started getting hits and supporting her with some runs. She went that much harder after it."
Ruck committed to play for Ohio State as a freshman.
"Emily has been a team player," Wamsley said. "She's done a fantastic job. We wouldn't have gone as far as we got probably without her, but she loved the fact that she joined such a great team that had great hitting. She felt like she fell into a gold mine, but I told her we found a pot of gold with her. It definitely worked out for both."
Cami Compson, Westerville Central, Sr.; Tegan Cortelletti, Hilliard Darby, Sr.; Zoie Smith, Pickerington Central, Jr.; and Molly Troutman, Gahanna, Sr.
Emily Gant, Central Crossing (2018 and 2017); Madi Huck, Delaware (2016); Kallie Boren, Pickerington Central (2015); Mikayla Cooper, Delaware (2014); Emma Cornell, Grove City (2013)
This junior for New Albany was the top pitcher on an Eagles team that went 27-2 overall, won OCC-Capital Division and Division I district championships and was ranked fourth in the final state poll.
The Purdue commit went 8-1 with a 1.04 ERA, 75 strikeouts and 35 walks in 60 1/3 innings and was named first-team all-state and all-district and league Player of the Year. Sokol, who is 18-1 in his varsity career, set a program record for wins as a sophomore when he went 9-0 with a 1.05 ERA, 53 strikeouts and 29 walks in 53 1/3 innings.
This spring, the Eagles went 14-1 in the OCC-Capital, were the top seed in the district tournament and won their second consecutive district title before losing to Upper Arlington 5-2 in a regional semifinal May 30. New Albany lost to eventual state champion Olentangy Liberty in a regional final last year.
"(Sokol is) just such a competitor. You put him out on the mound and he is one of those guys who refuses to get beat," said coach Dave Starling, who was named Division I state Coach of the Year. "He doesn't have many off days. If we got a lead early and had Jack on the mound we always felt pretty solid. Teams had a tough time squaring him up."
Philip Cole, Hartley, Sr.; Noah Laurent, Gahanna, Sr.; Mitchell Okuley, Olentangy Liberty, Sr.; and Joey Velazquez, DeSales, Sr.
Mitch Milheim, Olentangy Liberty (2018); Cael Baker, Gahanna (2017 and 2016); Cameron Comer, Olentangy Liberty (2015); Jacob Niggemeyer, Olentangy Liberty (2014); Alec Tuohy, Gahanna (2013)