The Watkins Memorial High School cross country teams are sure to feel at home in the Division I district meet Saturday, Oct. 20.
That's because the Warriors will play host to the meet, and they hope their familiarity with the course helps them advance to the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North as it has in recent years.
"We've had quite a good run on regional appearances," coach John Jarvis said. "Both teams have made it there for (four years) in a row. But it could be difficult to extend the streaks.
"On paper, I would say we're an underdog, especially the boys. This is such a tough district. I think five of the top nine teams in the Division I state poll are from this district."
The boys will compete in the 15-team district 2 race, in which the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional.
"Our objective there is to make sure Mikey McKean finishes high and runs well," Jarvis said. "From there, if we are to continue our streak, we'll need Tyler Day, Austin Dowis and Owen Tennant to step up. Owen was injured most of the season but is starting to get in shape. He's been running seventh, but I think he could get up to fourth if he's ready to go. I think Taylor is ready for a breakthrough race and I think Austin also is ready to take a step forward. If we can do that, this is a much better team than we've shown thus far."
The girls will compete in the 18-team district 3 race, in which the top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional.
"Josie Woosley is incredibly strong and ready for the postseason," Jarvis said. "We know we have the one low stick with her. She's a true frontrunner and hopefully she can pull everyone else forward. Veda Durbin should be a little behind Josie, but then the big test will be getting the next three to work together and move up.
"The best thing about both teams is that we're very young and have little postseason experience. This is a good building block for next season."
Soccer, volleyball tourneys starting
The boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams begin play in their respective Division I district tournaments this week.
The boys soccer team will play host to Mount Vernon in the first round Wednesday, Oct. 17, with the winner advancing to play at seventh-seeded Westerville North at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal on Oct. 24.
The Warriors beat Mount Vernon 2-1 in an OCC-Capital Division contest Sept. 4 but haven't played Westerville North this season.
Last season, Watkins Memorial had a first-round bye and defeated seventh-seeded Hilliard Darby 2-1 in the second round before losing to ninth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 2-1 in overtime in a district semifinal.
The Warriors lost league games to New Albany (4-0 on Oct. 7 at Crew Stadium) and Olentangy Orange (3-0 on Oct. 9) to finish sixth in the OCC-Capital at 3-4, behind Olentangy Orange (7-0), New Albany (5-2), Olentangy (5-2), Big Walnut (3-3-1) and Delaware (3-3-1) and ahead of Mount Vernon (1-6) and Franklin Heights (0-7).
The girls soccer team has a first-round bye in the district tournament and plays host to Zanesville in the second round Thursday, Oct. 18. The Warriors defeated the Blue Devils 3-1 on Aug. 30.
"We'll go back and look at the film because that was our fourth game of the season," coach Alex Stout said. "All I really remember is that they were very aggressive, but at the time we were firing on all cylinders."
The second-round winner advances to play at top-seeded Dublin Coffman or at home against Central Crossing in a district semifinal on Oct. 23.
"It wasn't the best draw, but at least we got a home game, which is something we wanted," Stout said. "We don't care about the next game; we just want to win our first one. The girls are hungry and really want a tournament win. They're mentally prepared for it."
Watkins Memorial concluded OCC-Capital play with a 1-all tie with Orange on Oct. 9 behind a goal by Stephanie Robb.
The Warriors finished 2-3-1 in the league to place fifth, behind New Albany (6-0), Olentangy (4-2), Orange (3-1-2) and Big Walnut (3-3) and ahead of Delaware (1-4-1) and Mount Vernon (0-6). Franklin Heights did not play a league schedule.
The girls volleyball team opens the district tournament against host Canal Winchester at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15. The winner plays at fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the second round 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, with the winner advancing to a district semifinal Oct. 23 at Big Walnut.
Watkins Memorial has not played Canal Winchester or Liberty this season. Entering play Oct. 11, Canal Winchester was 6-13 and Liberty was 15-4.
Last season, the Warriors lost in the first round to Liberty 25-15, 25-20, 25-12.
Watkins Memorial fell to 3-17 overall and 2-11 in the OCC-Capital with a 25-14, 17-25, 25-21, 25-9 loss to New Albany on Oct. 9. The Warriors concluded the regular-season Oct. 11 with a league match against Orange.
Against New Albany, Katie Park had 23 assists, Amanda Toth had 23 digs, Brianna Morris had nine kills, Shelby Sea had five kills and three blocks, Morgan Fitch had seven aces and Kendra Lancia had 12 digs.
Football team gets ready for Eagles
The football team will play its final home game of the season Friday, Oct. 19, against New Albany.
New Albany was 5-2 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Capital before playing Big Walnut on Oct. 12. The Eagles entered the contest against Big Walnut on a five-game winning streak.
Last season, New Albany defeated the Warriors 45-22 en route to sharing the OCC-Capital title with Big Walnut and Orange.
Watkins Memorial improved to 2-5 and 2-2 with a 51-12 win over Franklin Heights on Oct. 5.
Running back Brenden Kemp ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns (4 and 8 yards) and Connor Severino added two touchdown runs (4 and 26 yards) for the Warriors, who built a 24-0 lead during the first half and scored the final 27 points.
The Warriors played a league game Oct. 12 at Olentangy.