With three wins to close the regular season, the Dublin Jerome football team earned the outright OCC-Cardinal Division championship last fall, a season after finishing fourth.
That strong finish helped set the tone, according to girls golf coach C.D. Butcher, for another memorable season of league competition for the school.
For the third consecutive year and the fourth time in five years, Jerome earned the Ralph Young All-Sports Award for the OCC-Cardinal.
"The time and sacrifices that have been put in don't guarantee anything, but football coming out last fall and doing what they did fed the beast for all the sports," Butcher said. "A mentality that we don't take a back seat to anybody has become the norm."
Jerome totaled 96 points to finish first, ahead of Hilliard Bradley (76), Olentangy Berlin (74), Scioto (63), Hilliard Darby (62.5), Worthington Kilbourne (60), Delaware (55.5) and Thomas Worthington (53).
The All-Sports Award, in its 11th 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.
Six points were awarded for finishing first outright, five for tying for first or placing second, four for finishing third and so on.
There were 15 common sports in the OCC-Cardinal.
For the first time, only fall and winter sports point totals were tabulated because the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the spring season.
The award is named in honor of Young, a longtime OCC secretary and track official who also managed basketball tournaments at the sectional, district and regional levels for the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Young, who died in 2019, also served as athletics director at Delaware and treasurer of the OHSAA's Central District.
The other All-Sports Award winners were Big Walnut in the OCC-Capital, Gahanna in the OCC-Ohio, Olentangy Liberty in the OCC-Buckeye and Upper Arlington in the OCC-Central.
The football team finished 9-3 overall and 6-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to win the league title, as rising senior quarterback Ryan Miller threw for 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns and was named league Offensive Player of the Year.
Also in the fall, Jerome finished first in the OCC-Cardinal in girls tennis, boys golf and girls golf, tied for first in girls soccer and was runner-up in boys cross country.
The boys golf team won its 16th consecutive league title, going 27-1 in the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament, with rising senior Tyler Groomes going on to earn Division I state medalist honors to help the Celtics capture their third consecutive state championship.
The girls tennis team went 18-1 overall and 7-0 in the OCC-Cardinal to win its 16th consecutive league title. Rising seniors Arya Dudipala and Lalasa Nagireddy went on to beat 2020 graduates and teammates Reagan Resor and Katherine Wang for the Division I state doubles title.
The girls soccer team tied Bradley for first in the OCC-Cardinal at 6-1 as 2020 graduates Sophie Magilligan and Riley Mullady led the way.
The girls golf team won its 15th league title in 16 seasons, going 26-0 in the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament as 2020 graduates Ash Abhang and Caitlin Yant, rising junior Emma Sparling and rising sophomore Audrey Ryu were first-team all-league.
"Jerome is lucky to have a tight-knit group of boys and girls coaches that share support and resources with each other," Butcher said. "There is a genuine happiness to see each other succeed. We don't outwardly talk about winning the Ralph Young All-Sports Award, but it is a nice feather in the cap to show we did it together.
"... High school sports is not just an activity. It's a job for these kids, hard work."
During the winter season, Jerome captured league titles in boys and girls swimming and diving and gymnastics.
In the OCC-Cardinal meet in swimming and diving, 2020 graduates Reno James and Ian Smith both won an individual event and were on two winning relays to lead the boys team and 2020 graduate Maya Geringer won two individual events and swam on a first-place relay to lead the girls squad.
In gymnastics, rising junior Raegan Ernst won the all-around title at the league meet as Jerome finished first with a program-record 139.575 points.
"It says a lot for our student-athletes and our tremendous coaching staff," athletics director Joe Bline said. "Jerome can be a difficult place to coach, but if you have the right people leading your programs, you can have tremendous success. Our athletes work hard in the classroom and on the court and field and our coaches maximize their talent. We're very blessed."