With no chance to add to her already impressive legacy with the Olentangy softball team, Payton Cox admitted she has had her down moments this spring.
The senior outfielder and Boston College recruit was quick to add, however, that those have been fleeting since the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the spring sports season.
"I've been reading a lot of (inspirational) quotes and remembering that a lot of people have it worse than me," Cox said. "I've been focusing on what I have and what I've gone through and been grateful for. All of this happening is going to benefit me in some way in the future.
"One of the quotes essentially said stuff is going to happen, we just have to focus on how to deal with it instead of dwelling on how it will affect you in a negative way. That's one that stands out to me."
Cox played a huge part in the Braves' fortunes the past three years, including in 2018 when they won their first Division I district championship in 19 years and finished as regional runner-up. She batted .486 over the past two seasons with a combined 86 hits, 10 home runs and 82 RBI.
That came after an impressive freshman season in which Cox had seven doubles, scored 20 runs and owned the best ERA (3.42) on the pitching staff as a reliever.
"We are so sad that Payton doesn't get the opportunity to display her talents again this season," coach Alan Tharp said, adding that either Payton or her older sister Morgan -- a 2018 graduate who now plays at Hillsdale -- has led the team in every offensive category since the start of the 2017 season. "We were about to enter into the fun part of the journey, the part where we see the results of all the hard work we put in."
Payton Cox batted .476 as a sophomore with 49 hits, seven home runs and 47 RBI. Last year as a junior, she batted .500 with 37 hits, three home runs and 35 RBI to earn first-team all-OCC-Buckeye Division and first-team all-district honors.
The Braves went 11-15 overall and 4-6 in the league a year ago, having lost a handful of key contributors either to graduation or redistricting when Berlin opened.
Cox, who committed to Boston College as a sophomore, was one of two seniors this season along with Lexi Bretzinger.
"Being a part of this team was probably the best three years of my life so far," Cox said. "I didn't know I wanted to play in college until my freshman year. Playing for the team on the front of your jersey means so much. It's unlike anything else."
Tharp said Bretzinger and Cox were key to the team's offseason conditioning and setting the tone for the season.
"They have completed the most difficult part of keeping a program together -- skills development, lifting, conditioning, fundraising and team bonding events," Tharp said. "(Cox's) leadership has been excellent. She cares about her teammates. She helps set the mental and emotional tone for the team. She helped prepare the team in skills development and physical fitness. She has been one of the best leaders by example at Olentangy (that we've had)."
Cox plans to leave for Boston in August and follow the Braves next season as much as possible when academics and sports allow.
"Our team motto this year was 'unity is strength' and I think we were prepared well for this season," she said. "We had a great group of freshmen. We wanted to develop a bond I know I'll develop next year in college. It's not all about fundamentals. It's knowing how to bring someone up."