The Whetstone High School boys cross country team took a noticeable step forward this season.

The Whetstone High School boys cross country team took a noticeable step forward this season.

In addition to capturing the City League championship Oct. 7 on their home course when they scored 18 points and had six of the top nine finishers, the Braves had their first regional qualifier since Ben Torvik finished 80th in the regional in 2003.

In the Division I regional last Saturday at Pickerington North, sophomore Evan Schwartz was 42nd (17:04.95) and junior Wade Westbrook was 56th (17:17.64). The duo lead a team that is eligible to return five of its top seven next season.

"We were hoping for better results, but they competed," coach Joe Monda said. "(Having them at the regional) helps a lot."

Schwartz and Westbrook often finished close to each other. Last Saturday, Westbrook got off to the better start in the race before Schwartz passed him at about the two-mile mark.

"We do well in practice and it shows up in the races," Westbrook said. "I wanted to run a 16:22, but the conditions weren't as good as they've been. With the competition, it was nice to have people to run against."

In the district 1 meet Oct. 18 at Watkins Memorial, Schwartz was 10th (16:30.6) and Westbrook was 12th (16:32.6). Also competing were senior Matt Hamill (57th, 17:53.88), juniors Alan Dill (61st, 17:59.76) and Brian Adams (62nd, 18:00.35), freshman Alexander Singer (70th 18:27.59) and senior Mark Cole (84th, 19:18.08).

Whetstone finished seventh (202) at district behind champion Hilliard Darby (31) as the top four teams and 16 individuals advanced to regional.

"I don't know how long it's been since we've gotten here, but we have a lot of returning guys who were part of this team," Schwartz said. "It's a pretty good experience builder."

Hamill and Cole were joined in the senior class by Ryan Touhy.

The girls team had a string of 14 consecutive unofficial City titles snapped as it tied Brookhaven for third (72) in the league meet Oct. 7 behind Centennial (20) and Northland (56).

The Braves were 12th (353) in the 12-team district 1 meet Oct. 18 behind champion Upper Arlington (22). Sophomores Erin Beard (63rd, 23:09.63) and Shayla Martin (66th, 23:15.58), freshman Rebecca Beech (72nd, 23:57.03), senior Jane Turner (73rd, 24:27.87), junior Alice Turner (80th, 25:36.84) and sophomore Shelby Schaefer (81st, 26:38.78) competed at district.

"We've got almost everybody coming back on both teams next year," Monda said. "They're pumped for next year."

•The football team closed the regular season last Friday by blowing out Centennial 53-0.

That win gave the Braves a final record of 7-3 overall, their best finish since they posted the same record in 2004.

Whetstone tied East and Northland for third place at 4-3 in the City League-North Division behind Brookhaven (7-0) and Beechcroft (6-1) and ahead of Linden (2-5), Mifflin (1-6) and Centennial (0-7).

Junior Marcus Penn, who likely will become the team's No. 1 running back next year, had 300 yards rushing and six touchdowns as the Braves totaled 434 yards last Friday. Penn also had an interception.

Junior Joe Tuttle rushed 11 times for 83 yards and sophomore Quinton Wright threw one touchdown pass.

•With eight seniors, the girls volleyball team believed it could be a factor in the City-North heading into the season, but that never materialized.

The Braves finished 6-15 overall and earned just a fourth-place finish in the league at 3-4 behind champion Centennial (7-0).

Seniors on the team included Shannon Stuver (setter), Sarah O'Brien (middle hitter), Lauren Lipovsky (middle hitter), Chelsy Damron (back row), Katie Di Pietro (outside hitter), Veronica Erion, Elizabeth Hyland (outside hitter) and Sarah Sycks (outside hitter/setter).

Expected to lead the returnees are Katharine Pezzatta (setter/outside hitter), Jazmine Buss (outside hitter), Natalie Coleman (back row), Chelsea Sicilian (back row) and Kristen Dennison.

Pezzatta made first-team all-City.

Whetstone lost to Watterson 25-5, 25-7, 25-5 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 14.

"I thought we could have done better in the league, but we let a couple matches slip away," coach Errole Rembert said. "Last year we had one or two kids that could put it away. The kids played as hard as they could. We were a team of seniors, but it was not a real quick team or a real athletic team."