ThisWeek Staff Writer

ThisWeek Staff Writer

If you find freshman Hannah Hartzell or sophomore Shauni Kerkhoff of the Olentangy Orange High School girls cross country team at a meet, chances are you will find the other.

The two typically stay close together on a course, as was the case at the Division I district 1 meet last Saturday at Watkins Memorial. Hartzell placed fifth in 20 minutes, 20.37 seconds and Kerkhoff finished 15 seconds behind her, placing sixth (20:35.56).

"Usually that's how we finish. We push each other," said Hartzell, who placed fifth (20:01.44) at the OCC-Capital Division meet Oct. 17 and Kerkhoff finished sixth (20:03.61). "I was really happy with my place."

The performances of Hartzell and Kerkhoff helped Orange score 101 points at district to finish fourth of nine teams, behind Upper Arlington (45), Hilliard Davidson (51) and Thomas Worthington (88). Dublin Jerome (114) finished fifth.

The top four teams and those individuals not on a qualifying team who finished in the top 16 advanced to the regional meet Saturday at Pickerington North.

"This is really big for our team to get to the regional meet," Hartzell said. "I think we were the underdog. (The regional meet is) going to be very good experience for us."

The top four teams and those individuals not on a qualifying team who finish in the top 16 at regional advance to the state meet Nov. 7 at Scioto Downs.

Also scoring for Orange at district were senior Heather Knight (18th, 21:3024) and freshmen Brooke Pulkrabek (29th, 21:58.68) and Grace Smith (46th, 23:18.76).

"We had our top two finishers finish fifth and sixth, and to have them finish in the top 10, that really gave us a great starter," coach Ingrid Simpson said. "I really thought we would have a chance to finish fourth and make it, but it would be close."

•The Liberty boys finished third (76) of 13 teams in the district 3 meet to qualify for regional.

The top six teams and those individuals not on a qualifying team who finished in the top 24 advanced.

New Albany (67) and Reynoldsburg (68) finished ahead of Liberty. Also advancing were Hilliard Davidson (114), Hilliard Bradley (118) and Thomas Worthington (141).

"I thought we ran a very intelligent race," said coach Jared Mills, whose team is seeking its first state berth. "These guys have worked unbelievably hard. I couldn't be more proud of this group of guys."

Seniors Tyler Ross (17:03.5) placed third and John Buffington (17:21.39) finished fifth. Also scoring for the Patriots were seniors Josh Frash (14th, 17:40.55) and Like Miller (22nd, 17:55.9) and sophomore Clay Gilkerson (33rd, 18:26.47).

Mills said his team is ready for regional.

"We've focused all our workouts and training to make it to the state," he said. "We have a lot of reasons to be optimistic."

•The Olentangy girls will be represented at regional by juniors Tara Walker and McKenzie Dove.

Walker placed 10th (20:42.83) and Dove finished 13th (21:00.03) in the district 3 meet, as Olentangy scored 145 points to finish sixth of 12 teams behind Canal Winchester (59), Watkins Memorial (65), Mount Vernon (72), Marietta (112) and New Albany (125).

The top four teams and those individuals not on a qualifying team who finished in the top 16 advanced to regional.

Also scoring for Olentangy were juniors Chrissy Steinhaus (33rd, 22:09.63) and Candace Dove (37th, 22:15.87) and sophomore Elizabeth Potter (52nd, 23:16.65).

•The Liberty girls finished sixth (155) of 13 teams in the district 2 meet behind Dublin Scioto (23), Dublin Coffman (63), Pickerington North (84), Hilliard Darby (127) and Westerville Central (137).

The top four teams and those individuals not on a qualifying team who finished in the top 16 advanced to regional.

The Patriots' highest finisher was senior Katie Stanfill, who finished 25th (21:52.31). Also scoring were Katie Beetner (26th, 21:55.04), sophomore Emily Yax (32nd, 22:04), junior Alicia Nelson (35th, 22:13.44) and senior Alyssa Heydorn (37th, 22:19.1).

•The Olentangy boys team finished ninth (187) of 12 teams in the district 2 meet behind Westerville North (68), Coffman (73), Upper Arlington (87), Westerville South (97), Teays Valley (113), Big Walnut (169), Athens (169) and Gahanna (171).

The top five teams and those individuals not on a qualifying team who finished in the top 20 advanced to regional.

The Braves were led by junior Jack Schlabig, who finished 27th (18:14.49). Also scoring were freshman Ryan Thede (33rd, 18:28.13), seniors Will Simpson (34th, 18:29.81) and Zach Hunn (42nd, 18:30.15) and junior Cody Ostrander (51st, 19:03.72).

•The Orange boys team finished 10th (256) of 13 teams in the district 1 meet behind Pickerington North (38), Darby (69), Dublin Jerome (89), Westerville Central (92), Watkins Memorial (162), Canal Winchester (185), Scioto (196), Mount Vernon (209) and Lancaster (246).

The top five teams and those individuals not on a qualifying team who finished in the top 20 advanced to regional.

Sophomore Danny Meyung just missed advancing to regional, as he finished 21st (17:45.19). He finished a little more than two seconds behind Watkins Memorial's Mike Taylor, who secured the final regional spot in 17:43.08.

Also scoring for the Pioneers were sophomores Chris Gearinger (41st, 18:22.06), Connor Brown (48th, 18:33.2), Blake Hoskins (71st, 19:16.79) and Garrett Swisher (75th, 19:30.36).