Hilliard Northwest News

Girls Cross Country

Strong state meet is focus for Davidson

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Based on its performance in the Division I state meet last year, the Hilliard Davidson High School girls cross country team has elevated its expectations.

The Wildcats totaled 240 points in the 16-team state meet at National Trail Raceway to place 10th, behind champion Mason (76). Beavercreek (107) was runner-up.

"(The girls have) put in (their) most robust and well-rounded summer of training under my time as coach," third-year coach Nathan King said. "They are also setting their sights on a top-five finish at the state meet. Their work ethic and willingness to commit to the training is second to none, and many have made jumps into the next level of competition.

"We must continue to work on racing to our fullest potential by callousing ourselves to the experience of competing and breaking through barriers. If this becomes a collective pursuit of the team, they can be one of the best Davidson teams ever."

Four of the Wildcats' top-seven runners from last year have returned, led by senior Lilly Saniel-Banrey. She won the district 1 meet in 18 minutes, 25.52 seconds last year at Watkins Memorial and went on to place fifth (19:02.89) at regional at Pickerington North and 32nd (19:13.46) at state.

Saniel-Banrey earned all-state honors in track and field last spring by finishing sixth in the 1,600 meters.

Also back is junior Jane Onders, who owns the program record in the 3,200 and is a two-time state qualifier in track. Last fall, she finished 57th (19:29.69) at state, ninth (19:11.49) at regional and third (18:56.41) at district.

"Lilly and Jane have done an outstanding amount of training together and could be the top 1-2 punch in the state and will be in contention for individual titles during the postseason," King said. "They have been joined in training by sophomore India Johnson. She has made a huge leap in her training and competitive expectations this summer. She is already showing that she is in the territory where Jane and Lilly were at her age."

Last season, Johnson finished 111th (20:15.81) at state, 60th (20:44.93) at regional and 22nd (20:18.98) at district.

The other top-seven runner who returned is senior Lindsey Ruff, who finished 145th (21:03.84) at state, 80th (21:10.21) at regional and 18th (19:53.08) at district.

Rounding out the team are seniors Cassie Joseph, Margo Lince and Kyla Stroh and sophomores Kylie Buckley and Rachel McManamon.

Davidson lost three of its postseason runners from a year ago in 2014 graduates Catherine Hildebrand and Jane Haines and Lauren Erdman, who did not return for her junior year.

Last year, the Wildcats placed third (118) at regional behind Gahanna (90) and Upper Arlington (104), finished first (48) in district 1 ahead of runner-up Thomas Worthington (61) and placed third (59) in the OCC-Central Division meet behind UA (39) and Thomas (51).

"We would like to have each of our seven varsity runners earn all-district," King said. "Lilly and Jane are looking to compete for individual postseason titles and break the school record of 18:02."

Davidson opened Aug. 16, placing seventh (145) in the OHSAA Early Season Invitational at National Trail Raceway, behind champion Mason (88). Saniel-Banrey was runner-up (18:42.59), Onders placed third (18:49.35) and Johnson was 11th (19:40.37).

The Wildcats placed fifth (127) in the 12-team Panther Division of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 23 at Pickerington North, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (52). Ruff finished 22nd (21:09.5), followed by Saniel-Banrey (23rd, 21:09.7) and McManamon (25th, 21:15.1).

Panthers dedicate season to runner's dad

Darby has returned three runners who competed in the Division I, district 1 meet last year in seniors Alyssa Cannon and Hannah Kunze and junior Dani Deshuk.

Deshuk was the Panthers' second-highest finisher at district, placing 33rd (21:04.56) behind 2014 graduate Emily Melnik (31st, 20:54.85). Kunze finished 51st (21:59.15) and Cannon was 52nd (22:01.37).

The Panthers finished eighth (199) at district.

Another key returnee is sophomore Claire Schamp, who was the team's top runner last season before sustaining a season-ending injury early in the season. Sophomore Katie Geers and freshman Abby Cannon also are expected to be in the team's top seven.

Sophomores Kayla Mayer and Tia McLaughlin also are vying for spots in the top seven. Rounding out the roster are seniors Denise Dye, Megan Ferguson, Emily Greely and Lydia Schuler.

"Abby Cannon, Katie Geers, Kayla Mayer and Tia McLaughlin are all first-year (varsity) runners, but very driven and talented," second-year coach Cori Schulte said. "They are learning the sport and listening to the veteran runners.

"In order for us to have success, the fourth-year seniors -- Kunze, Ferguson, Greely, Schuler and Dye -- are going to have to continue doing an excellent job of maintaining team camaraderie. They play an incredibly important role despite not being in the top seven at the moment."

Unfortunately, the Panthers needed that support the day before their opening meet, as Deshuk's 54-year-old father died Aug. 22 of an apparent heart attack.

"Her father, Doug, predicted this would be Darby's best team in history," Schulte said. "He knew every girl and their (personal records). He attended every race and was our 'Mother Hen' type. He would tell the girls what size spikes to wear in their shoes. He was completely passionate about track and cross country. He was very involved. All of the girls were heartbroken and devastated.

"He is our new purpose this season. We're dedicating the season to him. Dani, although I think she was still in shock, competed (the next day) because she said it is what he would have told her to do."

Deshuk finished 61st (22:15.07) in the 17-team Saturday Night Lights on Aug. 23 in Centerville, helping the Panthers finish ninth (232) behind champion Centerville (40). Also competing were McLaughlin (44th, 21:49.22), Geers (45th, 21:50.89), Mayer (46th, 21:51.22) and Schamp (51st, 21:57.72).

Corea expected to lead pack for Jaguars

Six of the seven runners who competed in the postseason a year ago for Bradley have returned, including senior Tes Corea.

Corea finished 140th (20:44.87) in the Division I state meet last year after placing 12th (19:27.34) at regional.

The other returnees who competed at regional are seniors Sarah Havener (47th, 20:28.02), Colleen Grainger (58th, 20:43.26) and Alex Anton (71st, 20:57), sophomore Clarimar Segarra-Ibanez (92nd, 21:32.65) and junior Eliza Alpeter (101st, 21:56.42).

Also competing at regional was 2014 graduate Elaina Alpeter (75th, 21:02.08).

Last season, Bradley finished 10th (230) at regional, fifth (127) in district 3 behind champion Upper Arlington (64) and second (72) in the OCC-Cardinal meet behind champion Dublin Scioto (54).

"Tes Corea, Sarah Havener and Colleen Grainger have been a huge part of our program's success," fifth-year coach Ben Gadfield said. "They do what is necessary to prepare for the season and provide leadership to the younger girls. It should be a real exciting season for those three.

"The goal is to keep progressing in terms of accomplishments. This season we are working to win our first OCC championship and looking to finish in the top eight at the regional. We also would like to be represented again at state, whether it is by the team or an individual."

Expected to replace Elaina Alpeter in the top seven is freshman Regan Corea.

"The girls had a great summer," Gadfield said. "Now we'll need to stay healthy and focus on racing as a team. We also have to develop more depth throughout the season."

Bradley opened Aug. 23, finishing sixth (164) in the Panther Division of the Pickerington Classic. Tes Corea placed 14th (20:50.6), followed by Grainger (18th, 20:59), Regan Corea (35th, 21:50.8), Segarra-Ibanez (47th, 22:29.2) and Anton (55th, 22:49.6).

SCHEDULES

BRADLEY

Aug. 23 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North

Aug. 30 -- Westerville North Invitational

Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 13 -- Galion Cross Country Festival

Sept. 27 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at home

Oct. 4 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby

DARBY

Aug. 23 -- Saturday Night Lights at Centerville

Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 13 -- Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park

Sept. 20 -- Otterbein Invitational

Sept. 27 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at Bradley

Oct. 4 -- Darby Dash

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at home

DAVIDSON

Aug. 16 -- OHSAA Early Season Invitational at National Trail Raceway

Aug. 23 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North

Aug. 30 -- Hot Summer Bash at home

Sept. 13 -- Boardman Invitational

Sept. 20 -- Valkyrie Invitational in Louisville, Ky.

Sept. 27 -- Pickerington North Panther Invitational

Oct. 4 -- Darby Dash

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Central meet at Darby

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