The New Albany High School girls cross country team came up short in its quest for a return trip to the Division II state meet.

The New Albany High School girls cross country team came up short in its quest for a return trip to the Division II state meet.

The Eagles were seventh (196) in the Division II regional last Saturday at Pickerington North behind champion Johnstown (120) as the top four teams and 16 individuals qualified to the state meet Saturday at Scioto Downs.

Junior Maria Troutman led the Eagles, placing 22nd (20 minutes, 34.9 seconds), with classmate Olivia Horvath in 39th (20:57.27).

New Albany will lose three seniors, but the top seven runners were underclassmen.

Coach Mary Grefka also expects contributions next season from juniors Molly Hamilton (42nd at district, 21:01.55), Annie Bowe (53rd, 21:17.02) and Madison Moon, sophomore Suzanne Sliwowski and freshman Kathleen Mooney.

New Albany finished fourth (99) behind champion Canal Winchester (54) at the district 2 race at Watkins Memorial on Oct. 18. Troutman was sixth (19:49) and Hamilton was 11th (20:17).

New Albany was third (64) behind Watkins Memorial (42) and Mount Vernon (63) in the OCC-Capital Division meet Oct. 11 at Grove-port. Troutman was fifth (20:12.72) followed by Hamilton (eighth, 21:05.59) and Bowe (11th, 21:13.12).

"We improved a lot from the beginning of the season to the end of the season," Grefka said. "The girls ran really well (last Saturday). We've improved so much as far as our capacity to work hard and the type of workouts the girls did this year. They really stepped up their commitment and their focus this year."

•The boys team's season ended at the Division I, district 1 meet at Watkins Memorial as it was ninth (214) behind champion Hilliard Davidson (31).

Freshman Sebastian Matt was 20th (16:48.26), posting the third-best district time among freshmen in central Ohio, and sophomore Blake Taneff was 24th (16:59). Senior Tim Bradbury was 47th (17:54).

"I don't want to say that I was happy with that because that is like saying you're happy with mediocrity, but I do think they ran their best race at the end of the year, which is always encouraging," coach Chad Olinger said. "They left it all out on the course. We felt like they got better and they showed that at the end of the season."

The Eagles were fifth (106) behind champion Mount Vernon (52) at the OCC-Capital meet. Matt was sixth (17:12.78) followed by Taneff (15th, 17:57.15). Matt was first-team all-OCC.

Olinger also expects key contributions next season from sophomores Parker Jones, Kyle Manion, Willie Matt, Nate Peck and Alex Stanislav and freshman Kraig Manion.

"We lose four seniors, and three of those seniors ran in the district meet, but they were only in their second year of running, so they're very much like sophomores," Olinger said.

"We have a very young nucleus coming back, a good freshmen class along with a great sophomore class. We feel like the future is bright."

At a glance

•Finishes: Boys -- Fifth in OCC-Capital, ninth in district; Girls -- Third in OCC-Capital, fourth in district, seventh in regional

•Seniors lost: Boys -- Tim Bradbury, Zach Smith, Corey Washington and Kevin Young; Girls -- Audrey Anthony, Jacqueline Dennis and Ally Gray

•Key returnees: Boys -- Kyle Manion, Sebastian Matt, Nate Peck and Blake Taneff; Girls -- Annie Bowe, Molly Hamilton, Olivia Horvath and Maria Troutman