Big Walnut Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018


Special to The Sunbury News



Congrations to Austin Crow, Tabatha Piper, Janet Lehman and Mark Forman who have been elected to the 2018 Big Walnut High School Athletics Hall of Fame.

Austin Crow

It is with great honor that Austin Crow has been elected to the Big Walnut Athletic Hall of Fame. Austin played football in the Big Walnut youth football league then on to middle school eventually having a very successful high school career. Austin was nominated by the current head football coach, Joe Weaver. Coach Weaver stated that there is not a more deserving individual and immortalized athlete than Austin Crow. He took tremendous pride in the wings and great care for his teammates. Austin epitomizes Big Walnut Football and the Sunbury Community. Off the field, he is humble, honest and a hard-working family man. On the field, he is a “MANimal.”

Brian Shelton, Athletic Director, said, “If you could sum up Austin in just a couple of words it would be, Positive Role Model and relentless effort.” If you ever watch Austin play his motor never stops churning. He played every down whistle to whistle with the tenacity that he simply loves to play football. Austin is the ideal role model for all athletes as he does everything with class and represents himself, his community and his family as someone who does it the right way. After graduation, Austin attended Heidelberg College where he was a two-time collegiate All-American.

Austin has a long list of accomplishments:

  • First Team All OCC Football 3 years
  • First Team All OCC Track 1 year
  • Big Walnut HS Football Defensive Player of Year
  • 3-year starter for the HS football team
  • Big Walnut Weight Room Wall basher
  • 3-time first team ALL-Conference (OAC conference)
  • 2-time All-Region (Midwest)
  • 2-time AFCA All American Team Honors
  • D3Football 3rd Team NCAA All American Honors
  • D3 Football preseason NCAA 1st team All American
  • Herosports.com 1st team NCAA All American
  • 2 time Paul Hoernemann Award for Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman (OAC Conference award)
  • 2 time defensive MVP (Team award)
  • 2 time Heidelberg male athlete of the year
  • Nominated to Cliff Harris Award Finalist
  • D3football .com Honorable mention
  • 2017 Team captain
  • D3Football Preseason All American 1st Team

Tabatha Piper

It is with great honor tonight that Tabatha Piper has been elected to the Big Walnut Athletic Hall of Fame. Tabatha’s bio was written by Otterbein University Sports Information Director, Adam Prescott. Adam could not be in attendance tonight

Tabatha was a graduate of Big Walnut High School in 2011 and Otterbein University in 2015 where she earned a degree in Public Relations and Minor Sports Management.

Tabatha is a proven winner. The three-sport standout (volleyball, basketball, and softball) began gaining attention for Big Walnut High School as a four-year letter winner in every craft, eventually graduating in 2011 with 11 All-OCC awards in her pocket.

Piper began every school year in a volleyball uniform, guiding the program to three-straight conference titles, three postseason appearances in the Sweet 16, two in the Elite 8 and an OHSAA Division II runner-up finish as a senior. A 2x OCC Player of the Year, the awards continued piling in after her final season as the 5’11” setter earned first team all-district for a third time, Co-Player of the Year honors at the district level for a second time and a first-team All-Ohio nod.

With no off switch, Piper went from one thing to the next and helped the Big Walnut basketball team win a district championship during the winter months. She was a 3x all-conference selection, 3x all-district selection, special mention All-Ohio, the OCC Player of the Year as a senior, the District 11 Player of the Year as a senior and finished fifth all-time in program history with 975 points.

A jack of all trades, Piper put an exclamation point on each school year as a 4x All-OCC performer on the softball diamond while contributing at pitcher, first base and in the outfield. Her Eagles won a pair of league titles as a result and Piper ultimately snagged honors at the county and district levels as well. She earned Offensive Player of the Year as a senior, hitting .412 at the plate with 102 appearances and no strikeouts and racking up the last of multiple Big Walnut Scholar-Athlete awards for her efforts in the classroom.

Piper’s phenomenal high school career leads her to be the first Big Walnut female athlete to be named to the “12 Seasons of Greatness” for her 12 varsity letters as a varsity starter.

Piper then evolved into one of the more decorated student-athletes to attend nearby NCAA Division III Otterbein University, focusing on volleyball and basketball. She wasted no time making an impact on the volleyball court in helping the Cardinals play to a 79-22 record over her three seasons.

The squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament every year, claiming the program’s first-ever Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) championship in 2012 behind Piper’s 34 assists, 17 digs and five kills in the title showdown. The Cardinals then won their first-ever NCAA match in 2013, a season that saw 27 wins (program-best at the time) and the group reach as high as No. 8 in the national rankings.

Also a standout for the women’s basketball team, it was no problem for Piper to join her basketball teammate’s just hours after volleyball season ended. The Cards went a combined 41-14 in her first two years, marking the only time in program history that the team accomplished back-to-back 20-win seasons. Piper helped guide the team to the OAC Tournament Championship game as a sophomore prior to the program being selected for its first-ever NCAA appearance.

Piper made OAC history in 2011-12 as the first athlete to ever earn “Freshman of the Year” honors in two different sports. In 2012, she became the first Otterbein volleyball player voted to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American team, receiving third-team distinction. She received the honor yet again as a junior, a season that saw her break Otterbein’s all-time assists record with 3,391 for her three-year run. That total, added to high school, gives Piper 6,432 helpers across high school and college.

Piper surprised many by choosing not to play either sport her senior year but still finished as a five-time All-OAC selection, two-time All-American and memorable contributor to Otterbein athletics. Overall, her teams posted a record of 127-55 across both sports.

As it’s now all said and done, Piper’s teams through high school and college combined to deliver an impressive 341-152 record (.692). The success spanning multiple sports, and the people she impacted along the way, warrant her deserving spot in the Hall of Fame.

Currently, Piper is the assistant varsity volleyball coach at Olentangy Berlin High School and the assistant varsity basketball coach at Big Walnut High School. She also coordinates the 2nd & 7 reading program with the Big Walnut high school athletes and the second graders at the elementary schools.

Piper is the first person to be on the Big Walnut Wall of Fame during high school and the Big Walnut Hall of Fame after high school.

Janet Lehman

It is with great honor tonight that Janet Lehman has been elected to the Big Walnut Athletic Wall of Fame.

Janet Lehman was an assistant volleyball coach at Big Walnut High School for 21 years (1990-2010). Janet was nominated by Nicole Casner (Current Big Walnut Assistant Volleyball Coach) and Ron Lehman (Current Big Walnut Head Volleyball Coach).

Janet graduated from Mount Vernon High School and Otterbein College where she was a key member of their respective volleyball teams. Janet was an inspirational leader with lofty goals for the Big Walnut Volleyball Program. In 1990, Janet convinced current Head Coach (Ron Lehman), to start the girls on a weight training program. Coach Lehman stated Janet’s leadership was an integral piece to their success and the weight room training was the start of a great run. In fact, the Big Walnut Volleyball program was the first girl’s sport at Big Walnut High School to utilize weight training for girls.

While being a member of the Big Walnut Volleyball staff, Janet’s record was 402 wins to 134 loses while earning 16 League Championships, 15 District Titles, 6 Regional Championships and 2 state runner-ups. Coach Ron Lehman would like to thank Janet for everything and he is forever grateful.

Janet’s athletic accomplishments:

High School

  • Volleyball – 3 yr. varsity letter, co-captain senior year, ALL OCC Honorable Mention
  • Basketball – 3 yr. varsity letter, OCC Champs Senior Year
  • Track: 3 yr. varsity letter, co-captain senior year, OCC Champs Sophomore and Senior years.

College:

  • Volleyball – 4 yr. varsity letter, captain senior year, OIVCA All Ohio Collegiate Volleyball Team, NCAA Div II 2nd Team, Senior year scholar athlete

Post-College

  • Played adult USA Volleyball for 25 years
  • Officiated High School volleyball for 9 years
  • Coached Junior Olympics Volleyball for 10 years

In 2000, Janet helped to create and run the Corey Lehman Memorial Volleyball Tournament in memory of her stepson Corey Lehman, Steve Morgenstern and the honor of Erin Smith. The volleyball tournament is held annually at Big Walnut High School. Proceeds from the tournament are awarded as scholarships to Big Walnut student-athletes. Since 2000, the Lehman’s have donated nearly $60,000 dollars to the Big Walnut Education Foundation for scholarships. Over 40 students have benefited from these scholarships.

Janet would like to give a special “Thank You”, to Ron Lehman for getting her involved in coaching volleyball. Thank you to her family for the encouragement over the years. Coaching girls volleyball has had a great influence on her life. She has met so many players over the years and their families and she stays in touch with most of them. She loved teaching the girls how to play the game of volleyball and how to be a team player. She inspired to challenge the girls mentally and physically.

Janet would like to say thank you for this Special Honor and being part of so many accomplished people on the Big Walnut Athletic Hall of Fame.

Mark Forman

It is with great honor tonight that Mark Forman has been elected to the Big Walnut Hall of Fame.

Mark was nominated by Assistant Track and Cross Country Coach Don “Red” Edwards who has been coaching at Big Walnut for over 60 years.

Mark was a graduate of Big Walnut High School in 1981. Mark was a key member to the Big Walnut High School Cross Country and Track teams. Mark graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1984 and lettered in both cross country and track while at Ohio Wesleyan.

Mark was more than an athlete and participated in several leadership roles such as Class President, National Honor Society and National Merit Semi-Finalist.

In 1981, Mark set the school record in the 3200m with a time of 9:43.8. As of today, over 30 years later, the record still stands today and Mark’s name can be found on the Big Walnut Track and Field record board. Mark has a long list of athletic accomplishments:

  • 3-year letter cross country
  • 3-year letter track and field
  • 1 year letter basketball
  • 1978 – CC Sectional Placer
  • 1978 – CC District Qualifier
  • 1979 – CC Central Buckeye League Runner-Up
  • 1979 – CC Sectional Placer
  • 1979 – CC District Placer
  • 1979 – CC State Meet, 35th place
  • 1980 – CC Sectional Placer
  • 1980 – CC District Placer
  • 1980 – CC State Qualifier
  • 1980 – CC State Meet, 26th place
  • 1980 – CC Central Buckeye League 5th place
  • 1980 – 81- Golden Eagle Award, Basketball
  • 1981 – TF CBL Champion 3200m, Runner-Up 1600m
  • 1981 – TF Sectional Champion 3200m, 1600m
  • 1981 – TF District Qualifier 3200m, 1600m
  • 1981 – TF State Qualifier, 1600m
  • 1981 – TF State Meet, 1600m, 11th place
  • Current School Record 3200m, 9:43.8, set in 1981
  • 1981 – High Point Trophy Winner

Austin, Tabatha, Janet and Mark were each awarded an Eagle Trophy and Picture that will be placed in the Atrium at Big Walnut High School.

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Special to The Sunbury News

Information for this story was provided by Athletic Director Brian Shelton.

Information for this story was provided by Athletic Director Brian Shelton.