According to DeSales High School cross country coach Katie Shelton, there was no talk of runners breaking 17 minutes in the Division II district meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial.
However, intermittent rain and cool temperatures did little to slow the runners, and sophomore Creighton Barrett took advantage., running a personal-best 16:59.1 to finish 14th and earn a trip to the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 26, at Troy.
The top four teams and 16 individuals advanced.
"He'd never broken 17 minutes before and I'd never heard him mention it, but needless to say, he was extremely excited," Shelton said. "After the first mile, he was 22nd or 23rd. He steadily worked his way up. Creighton's been one of our strongest runners all season."
The Stallions finished seventh at district (222 points) behind champion Sparta Highland (52) as 21 teams scored. Senior Ian Lawson was their second finisher (26th, 17:35.1), followed by junior Ben Hippler (52nd, 18:49.43), seniors Parker Beck (65th, 19:07.27) and Anthony Hayes (68th, 19:13.35), sophomore Eric Myers (93rd, 19:56.28) and junior Patrick Palumbo (100th, 20:07.86).
Granville (58), Liberty Union (87) and Bexley (97) earned the other regional berths.
Senior Kristin Faulkner (47th, 21:42.17) and sophomore Jenna Melvin (48th, 21:42.5) led the girls team, which finished ninth (288) behind champion Granville (48) as 20 teams scored.
Also competing were sophomores Andrea Coffey (59th, 22:11.64), Logan Agin (64th, 22:24.06), Claire Draminski (70th, 22:50.23) and Katie Cherichello (86th, 23:39.25) and junior Bailey Cadena (108th, 24:15.58).
According to Shelton, Cherichello set a personal-best time and Draminski was one second shy of hers.
The other regional qualifiers were Marion Pleasant (128), Bexley (130) and Liberty Union (137).
"We knew both teams were going to have a tough time advancing since the race wasn't broken into two sections," Shelton said. "But that didn't stop our kids from pushing hard and having a great attitude about the meet."
Barrett must finish in the top 16 at regional to advance to the state meet Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway. The Stallions' last state qualifier was 2012 graduate Pete Ryan, who placed 16th in 2011 after joining the team midway through the regular season.
Boys soccer team took preferred path
Even before he knew the seeding, boys soccer coach Domenic Romanelli knew exactly what spot he would choose on the Division II district tournament bracket during the tournament draw on Oct. 6.
The fact that DeSales was seeded second behind Watterson didn't dissuade Romanelli from lining up a potential matchup with the Eagles in a district final.
"It had nothing to do with us thinking any less of (Watterson) or going after them. It had everything to do with the fact that's the region I wanted," Romanelli said. "We probably still could have gone the other way (to face southwest Ohio teams at regional) and been fine, but I think there's a pretty good chance that the winner of our district could be in a state semifinal."
DeSales had a first-round bye and defeated 19th-seeded Caledonia River Valley 11-0 in the second round Oct. 17 at home. The Stallions were 9-6-2 before playing eighth-seeded Heath in a district semifinal Oct. 22.
The semifinal winner faces Watterson or ninth-seeded Hartley in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville North. DeSales lost to Watterson 1-0 on Sept. 24 and played Hartley to a scoreless tie Sept. 17.
"If we'd beaten Watterson, we'd probably be the No. 1 seed," Romanelli said. "That said, the fact that they beat us should be pretty good motivation if we get that far."
The district champion will play Chillicothe Unioto, Fairfield Union, Marietta or Vincent Warren Local in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 30, at a site to be determined.
Against River Valley, junior forward Jordan Brooks had three goals as nine players scored.
Girls soccer team routs Bulldogs
Ten players scored as the girls soccer team opened the Division II district tournament with a 10-0 win over 17th-seeded Heath on Oct. 19 at home.
Seeded third, DeSales outshot Heath 23-2 while improving to 9-5-2.
The Stallions played seventh-seeded Jonathan Alder in a district semifinal Oct. 23, with the winner facing fourth-seeded Bexley or 11th-seeded Hartley in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville Central.
DeSales defeated Bexley 2-0 on Sept. 7 and beat Hartley 4-0 on Sept. 14.
The district champion will play Big Walnut, Bloom-Carroll, Granville or Lakewood in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Zanesville.
The Stallions lost to Granville 2-1 on Sept. 26.
"We want that third straight district title," said first-year coach Matt d'Auteuil, who took over a team that advanced to the state final the past two seasons, winning the title in 2011. "Having two districts now, I like our chances of that happening."
Volleyball team rolls in tourney opener
The girls volleyball team played 28th-seeded Central Crossing in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 23, with the winner playing 11th-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 22nd-seeded Hilliard Darby in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Whitehall.
The top seed, DeSales had a first-round bye and cruised past 34th-seeded Pickerington Central 25-8, 25-11, 25-9 in the second round Oct. 16 at home to improve to 22-1.
The district champion will play Grove City, New Albany, Westerville Central or Worthington Kilbourne in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Hilliard Davidson, with the winner advancing to a regional final Nov. 2.
DeSales defeated Grove City 25-19, 25-17, 25-7 on Aug. 24.
Football team boosted by Watterson win
The football team's playoff hopes -- and confidence level -- got a boost from a 13-3 win over visiting Watterson on Oct. 18.
The Stallions had 321 total yards, including 153 on the ground, as they improved to 4-3 overall and finished 1-1 in the CCL-Silver Division.
They need Watterson to beat St. Charles on Friday, Oct. 25, to earn a share of the league title.
DeSales, which lost to St. Charles 36-0 on Oct. 4, travels to Cincinnati LaSalle on Friday, Oct. 25, before closing out the regular season Nov. 2 at Akron Buchtel. LaSalle is 3-5 and has lost five games in a row.
The Stallions were expected to be 11th in the Division III, Region 9 computer ratings released Oct. 22 by the OHSAA. The top eight teams in the region qualify for the playoffs.
"We've got two tough road trips coming up, but the bottom line is that we got better (against Watterson)," coach Ryan Wiggins said. "Offensively, we had more production."
Against Watterson, quarterback Josh DeLozier ran for a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter and hooked up with wide receiver Adam Acquista for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 5:06 left in the third quarter.
DeLozier completed six of 11 passes for 98 yards, running back Austin Andrews ran 19 times for 153 yards and wide receiver Andrew Sparks had three catches for 50 yards.
LaSalle, which lost to Watterson 23-20 in overtime Sept. 27, has proven to be prolific through the air. Quarterback Nick Watson is 109-for-200 passing for 1,556 yards with 20 touchdowns and wide receivers Kevin Ferguson and Derek Kief both have 33 receptions.
Also for the Lancers, running back Jeremy Larkin has 599 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on 111 carries.