For the first time ever, the Ralph Young All-Sports Award is going home to Delaware Hayes.
Determined by their finishes across the Ohio Capital Conference’s growing list of common sports, the Pacers collected 83 points to take top honors in the Capital Division. Worthington Kilbourne finished second while Big Walnut smoothed out the top three.
Gahanna, Pickerington Central, Dublin Jerome and Olentangy Liberty won in the Ohio, Buckeye, Cardinal and Central divisions, respectively.
“Winning the prestigious Ralph Young Award is a testament to our coaches and athletes in their pursuit of excellence,” Hayes Athletic Director Steve Glesenkamp said. “Academic accountability, raising expectations — on and off the playing surfaces — strength and conditioning, engagement with our community partners, growth of our youth camps, involvement with our middle school programs and a blue collar work ethic are all ingredients for our success.
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“I’m super proud of our teams.”
The all-sports award, named after the former Delaware athletic director and Ohio High School Athletic Association Central District treasurer, is handed out to the school in each of the five Ohio Capital Conference divisions that performs the best in the conference’s common sports over the course of the year.
Most recently, during the spring season, the Pacers nabbed first-place points for winning Capital Division crowns in softball and girls track & field.
The softball team finished 13-1 in league play to take the title back from Westerville North after the Warriors nabbed it last year, snapping Hayes’ streak of three straight. Lauren Tompkins anchored the lineup, hitting an eye-popping .661 at the dish with 11 home runs.
In track, the Pacer girls won the conference championship meet with 148 points. Kara Glesenkamp led the charge, winning conference and district titles in the high jump before securing runner-up honors at the regional meet and finishing seventh by clearing 5-04 at the state showcase earlier this month at OSU.
“Receiving the Ralph Young Award is an incredible honor,” Hayes girls track & field coach Greg White said. “The tireless effort by all of our coaches, all of our student-athletes, our athletic director, administration and support staff led to an amazing year athletically for the Pacers.
“It was a special experience to be part of programs that achieved historical success this past year, and we are looking forward to attempting to replicate that success again next year.”
In the winter, Hayes finished a perfect 7-0 to win a league title in wrestling. Both Pacer swim teams also secured conference crowns while the boys basketball team finished second in league play before falling to Olentangy Orange in its second district final appearance in the last four seasons.
Jesse Burris led the Pacers on the hardwood, nabbing first-team all-district honors while averaging a team-best 17.5 points per game.
Kaitlyn Sallows made the most noise in the pool, finishing second in the state — Hayes’ best individual finish of the year — in the girls 500-yard freestyle. She earned a top-five showing in the 200 IM, closing fourth in Ohio a new school-record time of 2:02.85.
On the boys’ side, Kaden Gannon, who finished second in OHSAA Scholar Athlete of the Year voting, had a strong winter in the pool sandwiched between a solid fall on the football field and steady spring on the diamond.
It’s guys like Gannon, according to Hayes swimming & diving coach Garrett Eiben, that help make winning an all-sports award possible.
“I truly believe one of the main reasons for this success is the number of multi-sport athletes Hayes has,” he said. “Gannon was a star tight end in the fall, state-qualifying swimmer in the winter and core baseball player in the spring.
“Having these athletes commit to excellence at each program is special.”
Even the teams that didn’t win titles got considerably better. The football team, under first-year head coach Ryan Montgomery, flipped from a 4-8 squad to a 7-4 team. The baseball team, meanwhile, more than doubled its win total from the previous season, finishing 15-11 after a seven-win campaign.
“Winning the Ralph Young Award for the first time in school history shows the dedication of not only our student-athletes here at Hayes, but also the coaching staffs, strength staff and school administration in pursuing excellence,” Montgomery said. “I’m so excited for the community to be able to see the hard work and dedication that every athlete here at Hayes puts into their programs. This award is something everyone should be proud of and shows what a special place Delaware is and will continue to be.”