The Whetstone High School boys and girls cross country teams were rife with inexperience last season and it appears to be more of the same this fall.

The Whetstone High School boys and girls cross country teams were rife with inexperience last season and it appears to be more of the same this fall.

"Both teams are still pretty young," coach Joe Monda said. "We've got a lot of new runners out this year. The kids have put in a lot of hard work over the summer and, hopefully, it pays off."

The boys team lost its top five runners from a year ago to graduation in Alexander Singer, Harley Tripp, Abdi Liban, Keinen Ali and Mac Conkling.

Senior Kellen Kincaid and junior Kevin McCoy are the Braves' only two runners who competed during the postseason last year.

"We have a really deep hole (in the roster)," Monda said. "We'll be rebuilding the whole team. It's a young squad, but they're working hard."

Last season, the Braves finished second (66 points) in the 11-team City League meet, behind Centennial (24) and ahead of Columbus South (95), Northland (118), Africentric (139), Eastmoor Academy (154), Independence (187), Walnut Ridge (216), Mifflin (237), Brookhaven (246) and Beechcroft (262).

Whetstone then finished 13th (389) of 14 teams in the Division I, district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial behind champion New Albany (64) as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional at Pickerington North.

Singer led the Braves, finishing 40th of 100 runners in 17 minutes, 59.58 seconds. Tripp was next (83rd, 19:45), followed by Liban (86th, 19:54), Ali (89th, 20:02), Conkling (91st, 20:30), Kincaid (93rd, 20:41) and McCoy (95th, 20:53).

Also on the team this year seniors Ben Alexander and Demetri Thomas, juniors Evan Myers and Hayden Palmer, sophomores Isiah Frazier, Jordan Frazier, Dre'Shaun Mills, Owen Oesterling, Alec Waitkus and Ray Zeliadt and freshmen Sam Green-Suber, Nick Hall and Kelton Vaeth.

"They've got to keep going and see what happens," Monda said. "There's a lot of upswing to the guys."

The girls team returns all five runners who competed in the postseason last fall in senior Melissa Faulkner, juniors Kellie Chin and Julianna Hausman and sophomores Liz Khoury and Karina Spulgis.

"The girls are a little stronger than the guys right now," Monda said.

Last season, Whetstone finished fourth (88) in the six-team City meet, behind Centennial (32), Northland (55) and Africentric (70) and ahead of Eastmoor (111) and Walnut Ridge (142).

The Braves then finished 13th (365) in the 13-team Division I, district 2 meet behind champion Dublin Scioto (29) as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional.

Khoury led the Braves, finishing 67th (23:39.65) of 86 runners. Hausman (72nd, 23:59.28), followed by Chin (83rd, 28:17), Faulkner (84th, 28:52) and Spulgis (85th, 28:57).

Also on the team this year are sophomores Nerea Aguirre, Ellie Davis, Bianca McLemore and Corrin Moss and freshmen Cassie Chenolveth, Anna Chin and Elli Schwartz.

"I'd really like to contend for that City title," Monda said. "We have to keep working hard and stay injury-free."

The boys team opened in the six-team Baron Blast on Aug. 25 at Buckeye Valley, finishing sixth (135) behind champion Buckeye Valley (35). Both teams compete in the Westerville Classic on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Westerville North.

"Everyone's ready to race," Monda said. "It's going to be awhile before our team is where it's supposed to be, but come October, I think we'll be ready."

Football team setto play Africentric

The football team will be looking to rebound from its opening loss when it travels to Africentric on Friday, Aug. 31, for a non-league game.

Whetstone lost to host Hilliard Darby 71-28 on Aug. 24 despite a solid performance by quarterback Ramroth Finnegan, who completed 37 passes for 514 yards and four touchdowns. Finnegan also ran for a two-point conversion.

Wide receiver Josh Sanders had 13 receptions for 197 yards, including touchdowns of 16 and 21 yards, and wide receiver Yusef Conteh caught 11 passes for 136 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown reception. Running back Melek White caught two passes, including an 85-yard touchdown reception, and wide receiver Trent Harper had eight receptions for 65 yards.

Africentric opened with a 36-14 loss to Linden-McKinley on Aug. 24.