For the first time since 2007, the Watkins Memorial High School boys and girls cross country teams did not advance to the Division I regional meet, but both had an individual regional qualifier.
Senior Mike McKean, competing in his first postseason in the sport, represented the boys team in the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North and sophomore Josie Woosley represented the girls team.
The top 16 individuals at regional advance to the state meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at National Trail Raceway.
The girls team, which had qualified for regional as a team the past four seasons, scored 183 points to finish seventh in the 18-team district 3 meet Oct. 20 at home, behind champion Upper Arlington (49). The top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced to regional, with Olentangy Orange (176) securing the final qualifying spot.
Woosley placed ninth in 19 minutes, 49.15 seconds. She nearly had a teammate join her at regional, as senior Veda Durbin finished 25th in 20:56.4, seven seconds behind the final qualifier, Dublin Scioto's Shayla Wigand (20:49.38).
"Josie didn't need to be super, just solid," coach John Jarvis said. "She put in a good day's work and just punched the clock to move forward. I really felt for Veda because she came up just short. We just missed the regional as a team by seven points and Veda just missed as an individual by seven seconds. She came out of the woods (on the course) 25th and about 10 seconds back but just couldn't catch up."
Also scoring for the Warriors were Josie Cotugno (41st, 21:49.77), Natalie Watson (51st, 22:05.57) and Clair Snode (63rd, 23:24.08).
The boys team, which also had qualified for regional as a team the past four seasons, finished ninth (204) in the 15-team district 2 meet, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (34). The top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional, with Dublin Coffman (141) securing the final qualifying spot.
McKean placed 12th in 17:05.7.
"Mikey ran a great race," Jarvis said. "He was smooth and comfortable and you wouldn't believe it was his first district race. To never have been in that position before, he just was terrific. We wanted him to settle in around 10th and just run with the pack. That's what he did. I couldn't have been happier."
Also scoring for the Warriors were Tyler Day (35th, 18:03.06), Austin Dowis (44th, 18:19.14), Owen Tennant (51st, 18:25.49) and Eddie Gero (62nd, 18:42.16).
Season ends for girls soccer team
The girls soccer team lost to top-seeded Dublin Coffman 4-0 in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 23 to finish 9-5-3.
"We played nervous in the first half," second-year coach Alex Stout said. "We were playing the top-seeded team, the No. 2 team in the state. It was our first time on turf and turf is a lot different than our grass at home."
The Warriors kept Coffman scoreless until Sam Edwards scored on an assist from Bailey Wilson with around 22 minutes left in the first half. The two teamed up for another goal nearly five minutes later and Griffin Tullis scored off an assist from Ashley Stratton, giving the Shamrocks a 3-0 lead at halftime.
Watkins Memorial yielded only one goal in the second half, when Kelly Phipps scored as the result of miscommunication by the Warriors in the box with 23:27 remaining.
"We played a great second half," Stout said. "I told the girls if they could've battled their nerves and just played their normal game in the first half, we'd be standing here right now feeling great about ourselves. We played a fantastic team pretty much even in the second half, except for one ball we should've swept out of our box.
"I'm very proud of these girls and I hope they learned from this game."
Boys soccer coach pleased with season
Even though the boys soccer team lost in overtime in the Division I district tournament for the second consecutive year, coach Scott Spangler is pleased with the season.
"It was a good season overall and we had a good group of boys who helped us build a lot of things that will set us up for success in the future," he said. "The first year is always the most difficult for a new coach as the team tries to come to grips with new schemes and shapes, and the carryover next season should be great."
The Warriors lost to visiting Mount Vernon 1-0 in double overtime in the first round Oct. 17 on a goal by Seth Badger.
"He ran it down on the right side, caught our defense shifting and hit an absolute laser from 23 to 30 yards away and put it just under the crossbar," Spangler said. "I told the boys to remember the feeling, getting beat at home in the postseason in the second overtime. We have to use that as the fuel we need to have a good offseason."
Last year, the Warriors lost to ninth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 2-1 in overtime in a district semifinal.
Watkins Memorial finished 6-8-3 overall and went 3-4 in the OCC-Capital Division to place sixth, behind Olentangy Orange (7-0) and ahead of 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 Warriors lose nine seniors in Caleb Clark (stopper), Dylan Clear (midfielder), Ethan George (sweeper), Chase Huston (forward), Mikey McKean (midfielder), Charlie Mollenkopf (forward), Max Nader (forward), Max Reichert (midfielder) and Zach Swartz (midfielder).
Clark, Clear, George, McKean, Nader and Reichert were starters.
Earning all-league honors were George (first team), Clark (second team), Reichert (special mention) and Nader (honorable mention).
Expected to return are juniors Ari Blumer (midfielder), Zak Blumer (defender), Austin Dowis (midfielder), Ricky Jaimes (defender), Jerrod Lyon (defender) and Patrick Murphy (forward) and sophomore Alec Mathew (goalkeeper).
"While we lose a lot of seniors and leadership, I'm excited to see what next year brings," Spangler said. "I couldn't have been happier with this first group. They gave it their all for the program. Now we'll have our starting keeper and backup keeper returning, the core of the defense, a forward who can be special in Patrick Murphy and a lot of young talent in the midfield. I expect to see these guys step it up a notch next year."
Season over for football team
The football team closed the season Oct. 26 against Orange in its final OCC-Capital game.
The Warriors, who will play in the new Licking County League next season, were 2-7 overall and 2-4 after losing to New Albany 34-7 on Oct. 19.
Watkins Memorial trailed New Albany 6-0 at halftime, but the Eagles took control in the second half by scoring 21 consecutive points en route to clinching a share of their fourth consecutive league title.
Running back Brendan Kemp scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 158 yards rushing on 40 carries and had 1,396 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns on 211 carries through nine games.