Outside of core academics, Big Walnut cares about offering strong athletic and extracurricular programs. After all, students need to have opportunities for success both in the classroom and on the athletic surface.
Now, in my third year as athletic director at the high school, I am proud of where we are headed. Without a doubt we have work to do. Each year the Ohio Capital Conference awards the Ralph Young Award to the most successful school in each division and for the first time in years we are ranked 2nd only behind rival New Albany.
Nearly all of Big Walnut’s teams have had strong years. Six out of nine fall sports finished 1st or 2nd in the conference, and we have had numerous students commit to play at the collegiate level. In fact, our fall student-athletes had an average GPA of 3.79 with cross country having the highest average of 3.9. Girls soccer, volleyball and girls tennis were not far behind with an average of 3.85 and football with a 3.6.
Winning is important, but not the sole judgment of a program’s success. Sometimes, and for various reasons, programs struggle and need to refocus on development which will ultimately lead to success. That’s where we are with our boys’ football and basketball programs.
Without a doubt our boys’ football and basketball programs are working hard to develop successful programs. At Big Walnut, we are helping them and all programs by providing supports that will develop a culture that is deliberately focused on communication, development and winning.
Our football program is working this off-season to develop player talents and cultivate new and upcoming talent. In addition, there is a focus to improve in-the-moment game strategy and communication so that we are agile during the game. They are also hyper-focusing on skill, speed, and strength, while keeping players free from injury.
Recent studies indicate employers are looking for students who participated in athletics, because they have the experience balancing a busy schedule, learning to work as a team, and dealing with adversity. This spring we have 317 student athletes participating in a spring sport which is nearly 1 out of 3 students enrolled at Big Walnut High School.
We will continue to create a positive environment for our student-athletes. As always, thank you for your support of our programs and students. We will continue to improve and I am excited about the coming months and years ahead.
Shelton is athletic director at Big Walnut High School.