After watching his team finish second to Dublin Coffman in the OCC-Central Division meet Oct. 20, Hilliard Davidson High School girls cross country coach Nathan King told his runners to stay focused on their training and not sweat their results up to that point in the season.

After watching his team finish second to Dublin Coffman in the OCC-Central Division meet Oct. 20, Hilliard Davidson High School girls cross country coach Nathan King told his runners to stay focused on their training and not sweat their results up to that point in the season.

That approach helped the Wildcats win their second consecutive regional championship, as three of their runners finished in the top seven in the Division I regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.

Davidson dominated the 16-team field, scoring 50 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Upper Arlington (113). The top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced to the state meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at National Trail Raceway.

"As a first-year coach, the thing I wanted them to understand most is that they had to have faith in their training," King said. "I kept telling them the training was geared to prepare us for the two big meets, the regional and state. I knew they weren't going to be running their best in the middle of the season. That's not what we wanted."

Coffman (115) and Dublin Scioto (129) rounded out the top four teams at regional, with Bradley (311) and Darby (324) finishing 15th and 16th, respectively. No runners from Bradley or Darby qualified individually for state.

Last season, Davidson finished eighth (203) of 16 teams at state behind champion Brunswick (113).

"Our goal since day one was to repeat as regional champions and finish in the top four at state," King said. "We're keeping our normal routine this week, trying to remain consistent. With the exception of our freshman, they've all competed at state before, so we're not putting this on a pedestal. If we run well, we should reach our goal. If we run better, that's awesome. And if the stars align, maybe there's a state championship there."

Davidson was led at regional by senior Lauren Hoover, who placed third of 118 runners in 19 minutes, 3.38 seconds, behind Reynoldsburg's Leah Wallace (18:44.9) and Westerville North's Heather Sandvik (18:51.73).

Also scoring for the Wildcats were sophomore Lilly Saniel-Banrey (sixth, 19:11.77), freshman Jane Onders (seventh, 19:13.01), senior Elsa Saelens (22nd, 19:45.6) and junior Catherine Hildebrand (23rd, 19:51.59).

"I thought if we had three of the top 15 runners, we'd be in good shape in terms of challenging for a regional championship," King said.

"I underestimated what these girls can do. Ever since Jane stepped her game up, we've had three girls navigating through the field and trying to catch the blue uniform in front of them. That's fantastic.

"I'm real happy for Lauren. She considers herself a track athlete. She finished fourth at state (in the 1,600 meters last spring), but that hadn't translated into great success in cross country. But we think we have it figured out now. She went from 10th to third in the last 800 yards (at regional). She tends to run conservatively early and let it go in the last mile. Our top three were 10th, 13th and 14th heading into the woods and they all picked it up. Catherine Hildebrand, our fifth runner, ran the last two miles with one shoe. One fell off before the one-mile mark."

Scoring for Bradley were senior Alex Winter (32nd, 20:09.94), sophomore Sarah Hevener (41st, 20:21.61), sophomore Tes Corea (86th, 21:23.29), junior Elaina Alpeter (88th, 21:24.68) and sophomore Hope Sawchuk (91st, 21:30.12).

Scoring for Darby were senior Julissa Poullet (52nd, 20:38.61), junior Sarah Vermillion (64th, 20:53.48), junior Emily Melnik (66th, 20:57.27), senior Cassady Shultz (71st, 21:04.56) and sophomore Morgan Brennan (103rd, 21:47.38).

Davidson boys advance to state

The Davidson boys team qualified for the Division I state meet for the second year in a row by finishing second (88) of 16 teams at regional.

Westerville North (79) won the regional title, with Olentangy Liberty (108) and New Albany (114) rounding out the top four teams. Bradley (282) and Darby (298) finished 11th and 13th, respectively. No runners for Bradley or Darby qualified for state individually.

The Wildcats were led by sophomore Colin Burdette, who placed fourth (16:00.58) of 125 runners behind Westerville North's Jacob Dumford (15:51.81) and Kent Ford (15:51.95) and Dublin Jerome's Jake Mandel (15:59.66).

Watkins Memorial's Mikey McKean (16:16.27) secured the 16th and final individual state-qualifying berth.

Also scoring for Davidson were junior Garrett Knapik (13th, 16:11.6), senior Anthony Caviolo (23rd, 16:36.78), junior Spencer Schlecht (28th, 16:45.54) and senior Lou Takahashi (34th, 16:54.68).

Last season at state, the Wildcats placed fourth (149) of 16 teams, behind Coffman (101), Cleveland St. Ignatius (120) and Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit (128).

Bradley was led at regional by junior Erin McCabe, who finished 18th (16:23.34) to fall two places shy of advancing to state.

Also scoring for the Jaguars were senior Nick Christensen (24th, 16:36.87), freshman John Tejada (84th, 17:38.91), junior Ryan Gross (91st, 17:44.97) and senior Jon Wagner (103rd, 17:56.07).

Scoring for Darby were sophomore Chase Hampton (22nd, 16:35.74), senior Lane Hagar (61st, 17:17.07), junior Ryan Baldridge (76th, 17:33.96), freshman Gage Akers (82nd, 17:38.31) and sophomore Kyle Fogarty (100th, 17:53.68).