During its run to a Division I state semifinal last winter, the Olentangy Liberty High School boys basketball team featured multisport athletes such as Mitchell Kershner, Llwyatt Hofer, A.J. Rausch and Jack Metzger among its key players.
Having coaches who are willing to share athletes and work together has been vital to the Patriots' continued success in numerous sports.
For the eighth consecutive year, Liberty earned a Ralph Young All-Sports Award based on its OCC-Buckeye Division finishes in 2018-19.
"The baseball team won the state championship in 2018 and boys soccer, (girls) volleyball and boys basketball all made (a) state (semifinal in 2018-19)," boys basketball coach Greg Nossaman said. "That's pretty tough to do. You've got coaches that are good at their craft and there's just a good culture there. If they play one, two or three sports, it makes them better in the long run."
The Ralph Young Award is in its 10th year, and Liberty has won the last three in the OCC-Buckeye.
Liberty finished with 109.5 points, ahead of Orange (97), Olentangy (94.5), Westerville Central (84.5), Westerville North (53.5) and Westerville South (48).
The Patriots won seven outright titles and tied for one other title among the 22 sports in which all six of the OCC-Buckeye schools participated.
During the winter season, Liberty captured league titles in boys swimming and diving and wrestling as well as boys basketball, and it also was runner-up in girls basketball.
Ben Roderick, a 2019 graduate, was league and district Player of the Year as he helped the boys basketball team go 24-5 overall and 9-1 in the OCC-Buckeye.
The wrestling team won its third consecutive league title as it was led by 2019 graduates Carson Kharchla (170 pounds) and Connor Brady (160), who finished first and second, respectively, in the Division I state tournament.
Those performances followed a fall season in which the Patriots won the OCC-Buckeye championship in girls volleyball at 10-0 and the boys soccer title at 5-0 and tied Olentangy and Orange for a title in football at 4-1. They added runner-up finishes in girls tennis, girls golf, boys cross country and girls cross country.
The girls volleyball and boys soccer teams each went on to reach a state semifinal, and the football team was a state semifinalist for the third consecutive season. Liberty went 18-3 in boys soccer, 27-1 in girls volleyball and 9-5 in football.
Mitchell Okuley, a 2019 graduate who started at quarterback for three seasons, also led the baseball team to a league title at 13-2 and a district runner-up finish in the spring.
The boys lacrosse team went 7-0 to win the OCC-Buckeye, and the girls lacrosse, softball, boys track and field and boys tennis teams placed second.
"We've got so many multisport athletes," athletics director Darin Meeker said. "They're buying in, and the coaches are supportive of student-athletes playing other sports. That's a big part of it."