Ralph Young Award: Gahanna Lincoln runs All-Sports trophy streak to three years
In three seasons with the girls basketball program at Gahanna Lincoln, including the past two as head coach, Ron Bailey has gained a great appreciation for what the school tries to live up to athletically.
For the third consecutive year and sixth time in seven years, the Lions earned the Ralph Young All-Sports Award for the OCC-Ohio Division.
Gahanna totaled 62.5 points to finish first, ahead of Pickerington North (59), Pickerington Central (49), Grove City (35), Reynoldsburg (34) and Lancaster (33.5).
"For me, it's a great feeling to be affiliated with Gahanna Lincoln," Bailey said. "The athletic department is awesome. The teachers and administrators are very supportive to our student-athletes. They give them a lot of great guidance and help them out a whole lot. I'm just happy and blessed to be a part of the Gahanna Lincoln family."
Bailey guided the girls basketball team to a share of the OCC-Ohio championship this past winter, as Gahanna and Central both went 9-1. Edyn Battle, a 2020 graduate and Miami University commit who closed her prep career as the Lions' all-time leading scorer, was named league Player of the Year.
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 13 common sports in the OCC-Ohio.
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, Dublin Jerome in the OCC-Cardinal, Olentangy Liberty in the OCC-Buckeye and Upper Arlington in the OCC-Central.
The tabulation did not include girls bowling, a sport in which Gahanna won the OCC-Central title, or boys bowling, in which the Lions shared the OCC-Central championship.
Also during the winter season, the boys basketball team went 9-1 in the OCC-Ohio to win its first outright league title since 2010, and the boys and girls swimming and diving teams both won league championships.
Rising junior Sean Jones was named OCC-Ohio Player of the Year in boys basketball.
Leading the swimming program at the league meet were Johnny Belli, a 2020 graduate who won two individual events and swam on a first-place relay, and his sister, rising sophomore Marie Belli, who won two individual events and was on two winning relays.
"It means a lot to have been a key part in our school winning this award," swimming coach Jeff Riegler said. "Being OCC champs for both boys and girls is a huge accomplishment that we're all very proud of.
"(It shows Gahanna's) consistency and holding to a high standard of excellence, not only in athletics, but academically."
During the fall season, the girls volleyball team went 10-0 in the OCC-Ohio to win the league title and the girls cross country team finished first in the league meet.
Anna Nie, a 2020 graduate, was named OCC-Ohio Player of the Year in girls volleyball, while rising junior Alyssa Shope led the girls cross country team at the league meet with a third-place finish (19 minutes, 55.8 seconds).
The Lions were league runners-up in both boys cross country and girls soccer and finished third in football, girls tennis and boys golf. The girls golf team, which was not included in the All-Sports Award tabulation, also finished third in the OCC-Ohio.