Since Columbus Academy’s founding in 1911, athletics have played an intricate role in the social fabric of the school and in the development of its students. In the earliest years, Academy offered football, basketball and baseball with the older students competing against other schools and the younger boys playing intramurals.
Fencing, golf, tennis and wrestling teams were soon established, as well as a swimming program that won several city championships in the early 1920s. The school’s first standout football team was the 1925 squad that won all six of its games while outscoring its opponents by a 141-16 margin that season. The Maroon and Gray (Vikings did not become Columbus Academy’s nickname until 1932) also went undefeated in basketball during the 1928-29 season by outscoring opponents 468-274 over 13 games. That same school year, the 1929 golf team won all five of its matches to claim the Franklin County League championship.
In the mid-1930s, Academy’s football, basketball, baseball and golf teams were among the best in the city thanks to four-sport star Dan Carmichael ’36, who in 1993 became the first inductee into Columbus Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame. The school was treated to undefeated football seasons in both 1933 and 1937.
The 1940s were highlighted by an Academy tennis program that claimed four league championships, and the Vikes once again emerged as a football powerhouse in the early 1950s with two mid-state titles. The real breakthrough, however, came in 1957 when a group of Columbus Academy swimmers won the school’s first state championship. Tim Bigelow ’57, Larry Lacksen ’58, Steve Brown ’58 and Phil Carlin ’58 teamed up to claim the 200-yard freestyle relay title, with Carlin also becoming CA’s first state runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle.
The track and field program took center stage over the next several decades with 12 individual state titles between 1960 and 1983, highlighted by the school’s first team state championships in 1977 and 1981. Since then, Columbus Academy has produced a steady stream of both team and individual state titles and runners-up. In all, Academy has 32 team state championships in nine different sports in addition to 36 state runner-up squads. The Vikings have also claimed 46 individual state titles in nine different sports. Much of Columbus Academy’s recent athletic success can be credited to the school going coed in the early 1990s. The highlights include 10 field hockey state championships, three in girls lacrosse and one in girls tennis. Girls teams also account for 13 of the school’s state runner-up squads and seven of its individual state champions.
In addition to the aforementioned track titles, Academy’s boys reclaimed the state track and field championships in both 2012 and 2013. They have also achieved team state crowns in baseball, soccer, golf (seven times), football (twice) and tennis (three straight from 2008-2010) as well as 23 state runners-up, including basketball in 1981.