The Watkins Memorial High School boys and girls cross country teams will be looking to start another streak of regional appearances when they play host to the Division I district meet on Saturday, Oct. 19.
Neither team qualified for regional last season, snapping a four-year streak for both squads.
The girls team will compete in the 17-team district 3 race, from which the top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
"The girls have talked about starting a new streak," coach John Jarvis said. "It's their main goal at district. They want to go to regional as a team and the top seven are running pretty well right now."
A state qualifier a year ago, junior Josie Woosley continues to pace the Warriors. Last season, she finished ninth (19 minutes, 49.15 seconds) at district, 12th (19:19.26) at regional and 97th (19:46.23) of 150 runners at state at National Trail Raceway.
"Josie is running very well and she is ready for the big meets, for sure," Jarvis said. "She's anxious to line up and compete with the best runners again."
For most of the season, Samantha Hyme and Raechal Schoenberger have been the Warriors' No. 2 and 3 runners.
"They're both very talented freshmen who have progressed from running middle school races and have gotten better and better with every meet," Jarvis said. "Natalie Watson and Claire Snode usually start our pack and Josie Cotugno and Lauren Miller are solid support.
"I think the girls have gained confidence throughout the season and we're coming off some hilly courses of late that hopefully helped them with their strength."
The boys team will compete in the 15-team district 2 race, from which the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance.
Sophomore Andrew Jordan and senior Jordan Rice have paced the Warriors this season.
"Andrew Jordan has been running extremely well, especially for a sophomore competing at this level for the first time," Jarvis said. "Jordan Rice is a first-year senior, too. He's had a strong season at No. 2. So our top two are still learning the sport and it's been fun watching them."
Jarvis said the advancing to regional as a team is a strong possibility given the Warriors' depth.
"We definitely have more depth and it's been one of those things where we've been able to rotate eight guys from No. 3 back. Someone is always stepping up. I just never know which ones it'll be at any certain time. But they've done a great job.
"I'd say the boys will be on the bubble in terms of qualifying as a team. ... We're on the cusp and we've been running very well lately, so we if we continue that, we'll be right there."
Football team gets set to face Heath
The football team will be facing a young and struggling opponent when it plays host to Heath on Friday, Oct. 18, but coach Jeff Severino doesn't want the Warriors looking ahead to their annual "Battle for Broad Street" contest Oct. 25 at Licking Heights.
"It will be an important game if we want to finish the season strong, because we'll need to be sharp and confident against Licking Heights," he said. "We need to maintain our focus and continue to work hard and improve.
"Heath doesn't have a great record and only has three seniors on the field, but they are getting better each week and they do have some talent. Their tailback (Jaivon Gresham) is very good. He's shifty and fast and he can make you look stupid on the field."
Watkins Memorial opened LCL-Big School play with a 52-24 loss to Granville on Oct. 4 and was 3-3 overall before facing Licking Valley in a league game Oct. 11. Heath was 1-5 before playing Utica in an LCL-Small School contest Oct. 11.
A first-year senior, Gresham began the season as a wide receiver before switching to tailback. Freshman quarterback Aaron Lathiolais, 6-foot-5 junior wide receiver Bobby Kazar and junior fullback Camron Romine are other key players on offense for Heath, which was averaging 21.3 points through six games.
However, the Bulldogs were allowing 48 points per game through six contests.
Against Granville, Watkins Memorial allowed two blocked punts and had a personal foul penalty wipe out a touchdown. In addition, the Blue Aces stunned the Warriors when wide receiver Hunter Orth scored on a 69-yard pass from quarterback Isaac Maurer on the first play from scrimmage.
"The disappointment was that (Granville) never stopped our offense, but we stopped ourselves several times," Severino said. "We lost a fumble when we're marching and trying to make it 14-14. On defense, there were moments where we played well and forced some third-and-long (plays) and then we gave up big plays. That's been our M.O., and we've got to change that."
Against Granville, quarterback Ben Shroyer completed 15 of 26 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 24 yards and two scores on 12 carries, and wide receiver Hunter Holton had seven receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Severino also lauded the play of center Zach Jenkins.
Girls soccer team set to play Darby
The girls soccer team is seeded 20th of 40 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play host to 25th-seeded Hilliard Darby in the first round Tuesday, Oct. 15.
The winner will play host to 28th-seeded Lancaster in the second round Thursday, Oct. 17, with the second-round advancing to a district semifinal Oct. 22 against second-seeded Pickerington North or 36th-seeded Groveport at the site of the higher seed.
The Warriors, who have not played any of those possible opponents this season, improved to 10-3-3 overall with a 3-2 win over Big Walnut in their regular-season finale Oct. 9. Amberly Knox, Amber White and Makenzie Lauterbach scored goals. They went 5-0-1 in the LCL to share the league title with Granville.
Watkins Memorial tied the Blue Aces at 1 on Sept. 19.
Boys soccer team gets set for tourney
The boys soccer team is seeded 25th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye.
The Warriors will face 16th-seeded Pickerington North or 31st-seeded Westland in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19, at the site of the higher seed. The second-round winner will play top-seeded Olentangy Liberty, 39th-seeded Newark or 44th-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Oct. 23 at the site of the higher seed.
Watkins Memorial was 8-6 overall after losing to Watterson 2-0 on Oct. 8 and Reynoldsburg 4-0 on Oct. 10. Watkins Memorial won the LCL title at 6-0-1.
The Warriors, who lost to Watterson 2-0 on Oct. 8, went 6-0-1 in the LCL to win the league championship.
Volleyball team has first-round bye
The girls volleyball team is seeded 44th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye.
The Warriors will play fifth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 41st-seeded Teays Valley in the second round Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the site of the higher seed. The second-round winner will play sixth-seeded Westerville Central, 39th-seeded Licking Heights or 42nd-seeded Delaware in a district semifinal Oct. 24 at Bloom-Carroll.
Of those possible opponents, the only one Watkins Memorial has played this season is Licking Heights. The Warriors split their two LCL matches with the Hornets, losing 25-16, 25-13, 22-25, 25-21 on Sept. 5 and winning 28-26, 25-18, 26-24 on Oct. 1.
Watkins Memorial was 3-16 overall and 3-15 in the LCL after losing to Utica 25-14, 19-25, 25-20, 25-18 on Oct. 8 and to Granville25-13, 25-16, 25-12 on Oct. 10.
Girls tennis coach happy with season
Even though his team didn't have any district qualifiers, girls tennis coach Shawn Walter was pleased with its effort in the Division I sectional Oct. 3, 5 and 8 at Reynoldsburg.
The doubles team of senior Megan Jamison and junior Brandi Reed came the closest to advancing to district Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson. The duo won their first two matches before losing to top-seeded Jane Haffer and Alex Cash of New Albany 6-0, 6-0 loss in a district-qualifying match.
"We won four of our five first-round matches and they all played their best matches that day," Walter said. "I was very proud of them and happy for them."
Also in doubles at sectional, juniors Kiersten Dean and Sam Marosis went 0-1.
In singles, senior Bre Lampron, sophomore Kendall Whisman and freshman Kelli Wright each went 1-1.
Watkins Memorial, which finished 8-8, loses five seniors in Jamison, Lampron, Jenny Dillon, Sarah Fannin and Sara Torres.
"They provided great leadership and helped this program move forward," Walter said. "I think we'll take a huge step next year. Kendall Whisman and Kelli Wright are going to work all winter and we have big plans with Reed, Dean, Marosis and Nicole Whisman coming back. I think the others will get stronger and we've got a middle school girl who should step in and challenge for a spot. The level of our play should jump a few notches."