The Dublin Scioto High School boys cross country team features one of the top returnees in the state in sophomore Luis Carbajal, who finished 33rd (16 minutes, 9.09 seconds) in the Division I state meet a year ago.

The Dublin Scioto High School boys cross country team features one of the top returnees in the state in sophomore Luis Carbajal, who finished 33rd (16 minutes, 9.09 seconds) in the Division I state meet a year ago.

But despite Carbajal's presence, coach Kevin Foley said the Irish aren't likely to be very competitive as a team.

"We've got three experienced runners, but there's a humongous gap between our third and fourth runners so we're going to take our lumps as a team," said Foley, whose team opened in the Pickerington North Classic last Saturday and will run in the Westerville Class on Saturday at Westerville North. "That doesn't mean that we won't have some good things happen because we've got three guys who can run, and Luis will help us beat some teams in the bigger meets. But we're not going to be a factor as a team when it comes to challenging for championships."

Carbajal won at Pickerington in 16:23.58. The other two returning letterwinners are juniors Randy Languis and Patrick Moore.

"We have only nine kids in our entire program and we're young," Foley said. "Luis is progressing and he should have a very good year. Patrick and Randy were solid last year and they will be again this year."

The Irish were first (36 points) in the OCC-Capital Division meet last year ahead of Olentangy Liberty (66), Big Walnut (67), Watkins Memorial (77) and New Albany (85). Carbajal won individually in 16:11.3 as Scioto earned its first league title since 1998.

The Irish will compete in the OCC-Cardinal this season with Jerome, Marysville, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South.

Scioto was finished eighth (206) in the 21-team district 1 meet behind champion Reynoldsburg (67) as Carbajal (fifth, 16:05.73), graduate Jeremy Languis (21st, 16:51.95), Moore (41st, 17:20.13), graduate Gary Benton (46th, 17:25.18) and junior Tim Pirkl (93rd, 18:46.34) scored. Pirkl didn't return to the team.

The top six teams and top 24 individuals from each district qualified to the regional.

Carbajal went on to place eighth (16:17) at the regional as the top 16 individuals qualified to state.

Despite being hampered by a strained left calf muscle, Carbajal became the first Scioto runner to compete at state since Parker Daniel placed 21st (16:01) in 2000.

Medina's Donny Roys won the state meet in 15:21.83, and Carbajal ran the third-fastest time of any freshman there behind Mason's Zach Wills (fourth, 15:32.96) and Cincinnati LaSalle's' Travis Hawes (12th, 15:51.4).

"I'd have to be delusional to think we can contend for league or district titles," Foley said. "Our returning letterwinners have individual goals for those meets and the rest of our kids will attempt to close the gap behind those three. As a team we're building toward next year."

The girls team opened last Saturday at the Mount Vernon Invitational and will run Saturday in the Westerville Classic.

Returning to lead the Irish are seniors Katie Monda and Laura Griggs and juniors Angela Deng, Shelly Diewald and Katie Papesh. Three freshmen are expected to make an impact are Lindsay Keeran and twins Minori and Sakiko Minagawa.

"We have only 15 girls on our team, but our freshmen have helped up the intensity of our practices and the competition should be pretty stiff between our team members," coach Matt Suttle said. "This is the best team chemistry we've ever had."

Scioto struggled last season as its front-runners -- graduate Lexi Dooley (stress fracture in foot) and Papesh (mononucleosis) -- were slowed by health issues.

The Irish were fourth (94) in the OCC-Capital meet behind Liberty (37), New Albany (44) and Big Walnut (79) and ahead of Watkins Memorial (102). Scioto had won league titles the previous three seasons.

Scioto then finished ninth (231) in the 16-team Division I district 2 meet behind champion Thomas Worthington (62). Papesh (25th, 20:22.22), Diewald (27th, 20:29.0), Dooley (44th, 21:02.49), Griggs (64th, 21:42.82) and Monda (71st, 22:10.28) scored.

"Our new division of the OCC is going to be a little more of a challenge from top to bottom, but it will help us become better prepared for district," Suttle said. "If we remain healthy, we should be more competitive than we were last year because we've got a nice mix of leadership and young talent."

At a glance

Coach: Boys -- Kevin Foley, 14th season; Girls -- Matt Suttle, sixth season

Next meet: Saturday at Westerville Classic at Westerville North

Key athletes: Boys -- Luis Carbajal, Randy Languis and Patrick Moore; Girls -- Shelly Diewald and Katie Papesh