MILFORD, Ohio — Olivia Craycraft has a great deal of pride in being a Milford High School student-athlete.
The senior shortstop has grown up around the school's athletics program. She is one of eight children in the Craycraft family to have participated in Milford varsity high school sports. The youngest sibling is in junior high school.
Craycraft will likely be the third family member to be valedictorian or salutatorian at the school, too.
"There is a lot of love in my heart for Milford," Craycraft said. "All of my siblings graduated from here. I've grown up here. It really is one of the best communities you can grow up in. It's a very welcoming, supportive community, both inside of school and outside definitely."
Craycraft learned plenty from her elder siblings when they participated in Milford athletics.
Abigail, a 2007 graduate, participated in swimming. She was followed by Carroll (Class of 2010, cross country), Margaret (2011, swimming and diving), Beatrice (2013, volleyball), Graham (2016, cross country) and Harris (2018, cross country and track).
Olivia's younger siblings are Molly (2023, swimming) and Henry, a seventh grader who participates in cross country and track.
"It's a fun dynamic and it's guaranteed friends from birth," Craycraft said. "My siblings are really my best friends."
Their support has been instrumental for Craycraft in school and athletics.
Craycraft, 18, is ranked No. 1 academically in her class with a 5.034 grade-point average.
She was very involved as a student leader in the Milford Flock student section in helping to support basketball, football and soccer teams around the school year.
Craycraft's father Ken likes to joke his daughter is like an assistant athletic director due to her enthusiasm for everything related to the Eagles' teams throughout the school year.
"She has really taken the school to heart," Ken said. "And she has been a leader, not just of her team but within the athletics program."
Milford athletic director Aaron Zupka said Craycraft is self-driven and motivated to be her best all the time in school and in athletics.
"Just everything you'd look for in a student and student-athlete," Zupka said.
"Smart kid, very high IQ - her GPA is off the charts. Being first in her class with 500 students speaks for itself. Just everything you'd want. She's the kindest, just friendly. She is kind of a quiet leader. She leads by example."
That leadership and work ethic was evident early in her softball career.
Craycraft moved from center field to shortstop to fill a void for the team her sophomore season.
She led the Eastern Cincinnati Conference in several offensive categories in 2019. She had a .557 batting average with 49 hits, four triples, 39 runs and 25 steals as the leadoff batter. She also had a .606 on-base percentage.
Milford coach Christy Gregory appreciates Craycraft's contributions to the program over the years.
"She understands that you don't have to be the boss," Gregory said. "You don't have to be quite nagging. That there's other leadership qualities and that she has those. And those are followed naturally because she is so good at that."
Craycraft, who signed to play softball at Washington University in St. Louis, said Milford softball has been more than a high school sport.
She has enjoyed the rapport with her teammates and Gregory in season and during the offseason. She also understands the expectations in the program each year.
There was a strong anticipation for this season after the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 goals had to be pushed back until this spring.
"I was promised four seasons, and now I only get three so we are definitely hungry to make the most out of this season and I think that we have a ton of potential," Craycraft said.
"Right now it's just being able to mesh together and really use that potential that we have."
Craycraft reminded her senior teammates during the season opener to savor this entire spring given it's their final campaign together.
"She would trade all of her individual accomplishments for a team accomplishment," Ken said.
"You know a lot of athletes say that but you really see that in Olivia. She can go 0-for-4 and her team wins and she's as happy as can be. She goes 4-for-4 and her team loses she's in a sour mood. She wants to win and she wants to win with this team."
Besides playing softball, athletics won't be far from Craycraft at Washington University. She is considering career options that include sports media and sports business one day.
"She's got a lot of different talents," Zupka said.
"And I think from a college perspective she had a lot of opportunities. It shows that she really chose Wash U (Washington University) because of the education part and obviously she'll get to play softball but it just shows what her priorities are and she wants to take care of that and that's her future and that speaks for itself."